Dr. Josh Mulvihill
Do you ever feel like it’s challenging to raise a child or grandchild today? I do! Recently, when I was putting my eight-year-old to bed, he asked why people close to our home in Minnesota are breaking into stores, stealing items, and burning them down. My ninth-grade son came home from a gathering at our church and told me he was taught that same-sex attraction is okay. My twelve-year-old was bullied by another student and called a racist for his political convictions.
Raising children and grandchildren today is not for the faint of heart. It takes intentionality, discernment, and the saturation of God’s Word in our home to combat the world’s confused ideas about sexuality, gender, government, race, and justice that our children are exposed to daily. The missionary zeal of our secularized culture is operating in full force. Parents and grandparents must counter these cultural messages with the truth of God’s Word, or cultural confusion will seep into our children’s hearts just as it did the Corinthian church.
In 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, Paul addressed a cultural blind spot that had seeped into the church. Some people in the church believed that religious prostitution was a benefit to the spiritual life and aided a person’s relationship with God. People in the church also believed that sexual pleasure was meant to be enjoyed just as food was meant to be eaten. The church at Corinth had embraced the cultural belief that “everything is permissible for me” and used this to justify their actions (1 Cor. 6:12). The Corinthians dismissed the importance of sexual purity on the faulty belief that God would destroy the body. Therefore, it didn’t matter what they did with their body. Paul claims that just because something is biologically possible does not make it morally permissible. Paul’s guiding principle: Our bodies belong to God and are to be used in a way that honors Him.
The state of the church at Corinth sends a loud warning to parents and grandparents today. Here is a group of Scripture-loving, Christ-following people who had their sexual practices all wrong. They couldn’t differentiate what was right from wrong. They looked more like the city of Corinth than the people of Christ. What occurred at the church of Corinth can easily happen in the heart of our child. Richard Pratt’s comments on 1 Corinthians 6 are worth considering as they apply to our children: “Christians are easily influenced by the standards of the world. When we grow up in a culture that tells us certain practices are good, we tend to embrace those practices even as we follow Christ. Every Christian has such cultural blind spots.”
What a great reminder. Our children or grandchildren are easily influenced by the world. They are growing up in a culture that communicates distorted ideas about manhood and womanhood. They are living at a time when marriage, sexuality, and justice are being redefined. Many children are in danger of embracing these powerful messages even as they seek to follow Christ. Being influenced by the world’s values is slow and subtle. Recognizing a cultural blind spot is challenging. They are hard to detect because it takes time for seeds to grow.
Parents and grandparents have a critical job articulating and embodying a biblical vision of gender, marriage, race, and justice to children. Unless our children are well-grounded in Scripture, they will look more like culture than Christ. Ren