Let the Children Come to Jesus: Teaching Justification By Faith to Your Children (Fred Zaspel)
In the latest issue of Credo Magazine, “Justification: The Doctrine On Which the Church Stands or Falls,” Fred G. Zaspel has contributed an article called, “Let the Children Come to Jesus: Teaching Justification By Faith to Your Children.” Fred Zaspel (Ph.D., Free University of Amsterdam) is pastor at the Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA. He is also Professor of Systematic Theology at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA. He is the author of The Theology of B.B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary and Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel.
Here is the introduction to Zaspel’s article:
That is my thesis. And surely, it does not overstate the matter.
Or does it?
On one level, of course, every Christian parent agrees — there just is no greater parental concern than making the gospel plain to our children. Surely to bring up our children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” means at least this. But the way I’ve stated the matter may not fit the reality of every Christian parent’s thinking, and this for at least two reasons. First, like all Christians, consciously or not and foolish though it is, Christian parents can allow lesser concerns to distract. And second, perhaps more dangerous, some Christian parents seem convinced that doctrine is not important for children. Doctrine is for grown-ups; indeed, some may even suspect that doctrine is only for professional theologians and preachers. And a doctrine like justification by faith alone, with all its fine distinctions and intricacies, is surely beyond the grasp of children. It’s an important doctrine for the church, but its place in the home and in parenting?
But I will say it again, that above every other concern I have as a parent I want my children to understand the biblical teaching and implications of justification by faith alone. There is simply nothing I want for my children more than this. If it is clear to them that they can be righteous before God only by faith in Jesus Christ alone, then they have the answer to life’s very most important question. And if they have this, then whatever else I may or may not have been able to give them — as vitally important as so much of it is — pales in significance.
Yet I suspect there is a third complicating factor, and that is a simple lack of understanding and focus. For many Christian parents it is not that they don’t want to teach doctrine — it’s just that they feel they don’t know how. So let’s think for a bit on that level: how can we teach our children this most important doctrine. What are the essentials that we need to get across?
Read the rest of Zaspel’s article today:
Justification: The Doctrine on which the Church Stands or Falls
While we could point to many different factors that led the sixteenth century Protestant Reformers to break from Rome, perhaps one that would be at the very top of the list is the doctrine of justification by faith alone. For Luther and Calvin, this doctrine is the very hinge on which the Christian religion turns. In part this is because sola fide is what sets Protestants apart. While every other religion puts something of man into the equation, Protestantism removes man’s works from the justification formula altogether. Therefore, the “sola” in sola fide makes all the difference in the world.
With over 2,000 years of church history in our rear view mirror, it appears that sola fide is a doctrine that comes under discussion in every generation. Our generation is no exception. Much dialogue continues over the New Perspective on Paul, Protestant and Catholic statements of agreement, and the relationship between justification and the Christian life. In this issue I am proud to welcome some of the finest thinkers on the subject in order to better understand what Scripture says about how sinners can be made right with a holy God.
Contributors include Thomas Schreiner, Michael Allen, Michael Horton, Philip Ryken, J.V. Fesko, Matthew Barrett, Korey Maas, Guy Waters, Brian Vickers, Fred Zaspel, and many others.