What is the value proposition for a Christian man considering marriage?

Basically, I think that my job as husband and father is:

  1. to make sure that I focus on being a good protector, provider and moral spiritual leader by making good decisions and setting aside time to learn how to defend my views on religion and morality
  2. to make sure that I am aware of areas where God has an interest, like the abortion debate, the marriage debate, the debate over the origin of the universe, the debate over biological origins, the debate over free markets vs secular socialism, the debate over religious liberty and family vs fascism, etc.
  3. to make sure that I am aware of the skills, arguments and evidence that are related to these trouble areas
  4. to make sure that I assess the skills and capabilities of my future children
  5. to choose a wife who is aware of these problem areas and the relevant skills
  6. assess the skills and capabilities of the children
  7. communicate to them the areas where Christianity is under fire
  8. demonstrate to the children how much these areas matter to their parents
  9. together with my future wife, to steer the future children into degrees and careers that will move the ball forward in these areas.
  10. act intentionally to ensure that they achieve influence in the problem areas as effectively as possible

I don’t think that it is Dad’s job to just roll over and pay for a wife and several children unless the wife agrees with me to try and achieve something together that we could not achieve as singles. I.e. – I think that if we have a child, then we should NOT be as happy if the child is a poet as we would be if the child is Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or William Lane Craig. I think that some things that a child can be are more influential than others, and that children should be jointly steered in the direction of being influential and effective as a way of making the marriage count for the Lord. And I think the Bible supports the idea of stewardship and making the most of gifts and blessings.

So I don’t feel that I am obligated to marry unless I can foresee that my wife is serious about making the marriage, family and children count for God. If I don’t foresee a return on the investment, which is quite risky for the man given the feminism and socialism in the laws and tax codes, then wouldn’t I be better off just working and giving the money away to Christian speakers for apologetics speaking and debating? Children typically cost $250,000 and stay-at-home moms are expensive too. Is it worth it to have a wife who doesn’t agree with me on the purpose of the marriage and the parenting? Am I supposed to hand her hundreds of thousands of dollars and get nothing at all back to show for it?

I think the fundamental question is this: What is the purpose of marriage for men, and how should a prospective wife present herself to a man who wants the marriage and the children to count for the Lord? How can she show that she is aware of what he is planning and show that she has taken steps to help him to achieve results for God, instead of just making herself happy? How can she show that there a difference between a child being a good student and a bad student? How can she show that there a difference between writing poetry and being an ADF lawyer?

Are some directions more likely to have an influence on the culture than others? Is the role of parents to produce a return for the blessings that God has given them, or are they just supposed to let children do whatever makes them happy, so that the parents will be happy and be their children’s friends? I think what it boils down to is this: should Christian parents steer their children to be William Lane Craig or Michele Bachmann on purpose, or should they just let them be poets if that’s what makes the children happy?

78 thoughts on “What is the value proposition for a Christian man considering marriage?”

  1. I disagree with you in one area.

    I think men are called to be well versed in God’s word and to be active in defending it. I also think a man should work to provide for his family. I also think men should seek godly a godly woman to marry who will raise the children up in the way they should go – meaning giving them a foundation of a godly role model and scripture and praying and trusting God. I think the husband should be the spiritual leader, teaching his wife and family what God’s word says and how to live a holy life. I think men and women should agree upon roles, leadership issues, finances, and children – indeed in all areas which are important to either person (it makes for less arguments and less disapointment).

    However, while YOU value certain traits and characteristics and careers more than others – for me its all about God. Who did God make my children to be? How has God wired my kids? I have a musician as a son. He’s basically a prodigy. Should I push him to abandon the gift God has obviously put in him for a career in law? I encouarge my son to use his gifts for God – how can he evangelize or disciple using what God has given him?

    We should work to instill in our children the belief in and love of (and for) God. We should work to instill in our children the need to live holy lives. We should instill in our children the need to serve others in love (even as leaders, we are to serve). We should instill in our children the need to obey God.

    Yes, I agree some people are more influential than others. But does that necessarily mean a Christian should try to cause their children to move into a career for which they are not wired? I think its more important to affect people’s hearts than their external lives. I would rather my daughter marry and have one child who is so on fire for Jesus that he become another Billy Graham or William Carey than become the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court.

    I want my kids to lead others to Christ. I want my kids to disciple others. I want my kids to be disciple makers. THAT is the impact I want my kids to have. THAT Is the impact I pray my children will have.

    If one of my children becomes a lawyer and sets legal precendence, I will be proud. If one of my children leads someone to the Lord, I will be more proud. One does not have to be a poet or a lawyer or a first responder or a pastor or any particular career for the things I consider most important. That being the case, I have my preferences – I would prefer all my children be involved in missionary or church planting work. But I will be satisified if I know they love Jesus.

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  2. As I am sure you expected, I want to raise a few points.

    First, your assertion that a supreme court justice has more than a minor poet is probably true. Your assumption is false. The child could become an ambulance chaser or the next C.S. Lewis. The comparison is ad hoc.

    You assume that all people will follow the laws when you say that they have more influence than a poet. When laws and reason can’t convince someone, you must force them to see outside of themselves, which is one role of literature. You can’t come away from “Crime and Punishment” or “Portrait of Dorian Gray” without a better idea of moral struggle and the corruption of the soul.

    If poets have no influence, then why are two suggested pre-law majors English Literature, philosophy, and Classical Languages? This seems to undermine your point. If poetry is essential for law, your child could influence all future lawyers with his writing.

    Most lawyers do not become supreme court justices. Few become partners in a law firm. Most spend their time being abused by the lawyers above them and spending hours upon hours doing busy work in the office. Is having a child that spends much of his time away from home beneficial to the next generation of Christians? Some of the very interesting studies you post would suggest it would be detrimental.

    Holly Ordoway’s testimony of how she came to Christ includes more English poets than philosophers or lawyers. C.S. Lewis was the same. Who had more influence there?

    Finally, you assume that you know what is best for the child. It is fine to hope they go for one profession or the other. My mother has been trying to get me to go into medicine for years, but I just don’t have the stomach for it. God’s plan may be for your child to be a poet.

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  3. Interesting post! As a God-fearing woman of God, a mother, and a wife of a God-fearing man… I agree the role of a marriage is to honor God. Marriage doesn’t have to mean anything about the children, because not all marriages will produce children. So the role of a husband is (per the Bible) to love his wife like Christ loves the church. To be the head of the household in all matters and to listen to God and guide the family in the direction that God has chosen. So then, your question should be, what is my role as a father. The role of a father is to train up a child in the ways of the Lord. I don’t think there is a difference between a poet and a lawyer. I think it is the parents’ responsibility to teach their children the faith and to encourage them in their personal relationship with Christ. As far as guiding their careers, certain people are made for certain things. I am an accountant. Nothing earth-shattering about it, but I’m very intelligent and a very honest accountant. In the workplace, I am God’s disciple and have been able to witness to many different people who otherwise are afraid to darken the doors of a church. Some writers have been oustanding influences of the faith. I don’t think it’s up to you to decide your kids’ career path. It’s ok to guide them and make suggestions… but not ok to be upset if they don’t choose what YOU want. They do, however, need to choose what God wants and we can see from stories in the Bible (Abraham) what happens when we don’t do EXACTLY what God has told us to do. Calamity. As parents, is easy to WANT things for our children, but only God will know what’s best. After all, He made them according to His purpose.

    As far as the woman showing herself to be in agreement with you on all these things… I don’t think you’ll find a woman with a sign around her neck that says, “I will be submissive to you!” I think that knowledge comes through conversations and an observance of her spiritual life.

    And lastly, as for the cost of a wife and a kid… eh, a little offensive. :) Not all women are cut out to be stay-at-home moms. And a lot of stay-at-home moms make money on the side doing creative things. But what makes it worth it is a partner to share your life with. To hold you when God’s testing you. To talk about theology and the amazing works of God. To create a child with and truly see the marvelous wonders of our Creator. I never saw a price tag on marriage, and I doubt my husband did either. (Definitely saw it on the baby, though!! And I watch it come out of my bank account every week!)

    I’ll pray that you find the answers you’re looking for and a wife that leaves you speechless at the wonders of God. :)

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    1. Wintery said: “to make sure that I focus on being a … moral spiritual leader
      racheljthomas said: “So the role of a husband is (per the Bible) …To be the head of the household in all matters”

      Wintery, I truly respect your commitment, and Rachel say some lovely things in hers, but do the two of you get the “husbands should lead their wifes” idea from the Bible, or from your church tradition?

      Think a bit: How much Bible evidence can you give for husbands’ authority over wifes, or ruler of homes? To recap, verses telling slaves to obey DO NOT teach that God’s design is for masters to have authority as slave owners, and verses telling women to submit should be read in a similar fashion.If you want to develop a Bible doctrine of male authority being God’s plan from the “women submit” verses, it would be as much a fallacy, as to develop a doctrine of slave owner authority being God’s plan from the teachings to slaves.

      So give any verses that teaches men should be spiritual leaders, or should be heads of households. If you answer, I will answer with both Bible verses about ruling households, and the only one that mentions authority in marriage.

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      1. Scripture concerning being a good master does not say there should be masters and slaves, but merely regulates that relationship. This can not be said for whether there should be husband and wife. Scripture is clear that woman was made for man, and further that the woman is to be ruled by her husband. Further, she should submit to her husband.

        Genesis 3:16

        16 To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children ; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”

        Is the church supposed to be subject to Christ? If so, then in the same way, the wife is subject to the husband.
        Ephesians 5:22-24

        22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the (E)head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

        Colossians 3:18

        18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

        1 Corinthians 11:3

        3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.

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        1. Here are all the Bible verses on authority in marriage:

          1Co 7:4 The wife hath not authority over her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not authority over his own body, but the wife.

          And all verses on ruling the houshold:

          Est 1:22 he (heathen king Ahasuerus) sent letters into all the king’s provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house.

          1Ti 5:14 I desire therefore that the younger (widows) marry, bear children, rule the household,

          In other words, marriage authority is mentioned in one sense: That both have authority over the body of one another. And rulership of the household is given to men of his region by a heathen king, but to females by real Bible teaching. And yes- rule the home is a good translation. The original Greek word is oikosdespoteo. Oikos means household and despoteo is the origin of the word despot. (And if a man want to take seriously how he should treat his despot, he can go to Titus 2:9, which translate despot as master. ;-) )

          The Bible calls women to rule households! Bet you were never taught that in church!

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        2. You gave some verses, but you are taking liberties with the texts and reading things into it which are not there.

          Scripture is clear that woman was made for man

          Yes, women were made for man as an ezer kenegdo, a rescuer on his own height. And beach lifesavers are appointed for the public, which does not mean that any member of the public have more authority on the beach than the lifesaver, or that they are the lifesaver’s ruler.

          Genesis 3:16 is part of what God say will happen because of sin, not part of what God desires. Here are 2 similar arguments to yours on Gen. 3:16:

          1 Scripture is clear that the earth will produce thorns. (Gen 3:18) Therefore, sowing weeds on someone’s field is the will of God
          2 Scripture is clear that a woman will be ruled by her husband (Gen. 3:16) Therefore, husbands ruling wifes are the will of God
          3 Scripture is clear that men will eat in sorrow. (Gen. 3:17) Therefore, creating an unpleasant atmosphere at the dinner table is the will of God, when a man is present.

          We agree that there should be husbands and wifes. You seemingly missed the reason for mentioning slaves, so I’ll explain again. Just like the words to slaves (obey your masters) did not imply that Paul endorsed a hierarchy whereby some people are ought to be under others; the words to women, for those same reasons, do not mean that some permanent hierarchy exist whereby men are leaders and women are followers. Therefore, your women submit verses does not imply males should lead.

          Did you take Ephes. 5:22 out of its immediate context because you have never been taught the context, or because the context don’t fit your view? The context is like this: Ephesians 5:22 is the last part of a sentence in the original Greek, and does not contain a verb in the older manuscripts. With the part it comes form, it reads like this: “subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ, wifes unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord

          So the first thing about the context is that everyone in the church should submit to one another(Nobody is given authority). And for the second part: Since the Bible does not contradict itself, either “wifes unto your own husbands as to the Lord”, or all the verses about having no other master except God, does not mean what it does on face value. Which do you think should be re-interpreted?

          Jesus turned hierarchy on it’s head. “You know that the ruler of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you” (Mark 10:42-43) ” But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your teacher, and all ye are brethren… Neither be ye called masters: for one is your master… whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and whosoever shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matt 23:8-12. In the next verses, he curse those who set themselves up as spiritual leaders.)

          As for your quoting of the head metaphor: Head has so many meanings, we should be careful to get the right meaning. For example, it is not standard Christian doctrine to call God the boss of Jesus, yet by your use of 1 Cor. 11:3 to imply rulership, you do.

          How do you motivate your understanding of head as “authority figure” and not any of the many other meanings? I explain my understanding this way: Paul never used the head metaphor in a way he explains as about leadership. (The heart is usually called the thinking, leading organ in Bible speech.) In the chapter after the one you quoted a “head verse from, he uses the body metaphor extensively, in the sense of the whole body needing one another. (“The head cannot tell the feet: I do not need you” :21)

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        3. In other words, wbmoore, you did not give one single verse to back up your claim that “the woman is to be ruled by her husband.”

          Genesis 3:16 say it will happen, not that it should. Your Ephesians and Collosians verses don’t say she is to be ruled, only that it is so and she should submit while it is so.

          And you take a view of the 1 Corinthians verse which distorts the relationship between God and Christ.

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          1. Retha,

            1 Corinthians 7:3-5 shows that Paul is speaking of not depriving your spouse of sex except to pray for a bit – not that the wife is in charge, but that neither can deprive each other sexually (as many wives and husbands do today, even in the church).

            3The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

            It took me a while to find the version you chose to use to try to show women should rule.
            I looked at 14 different versions and did not find the hand picked wording you chose to use.
            1 Timothy 5:14 ESV

            14So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.

            1 Timothy 5:14 NASB

            14Therefore, I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach;

            1 Timothy 5:14 NLT

            14 So I advise these younger widows to marry again, have children, and take care of their own homes. Then the enemy will not be able to say anything against them.

            1 Timothy 5:14 KJV

            14I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

            1 Timothy 5:14 NIV

            14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander.

            1 Timothy 5:14 NCV

            14 So I want the younger widows to marry, have children, and manage their homes. Then no enemy will have any reason to criticize them.

            1 Timothy 5:14 NKJV

            14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

            1 Timothy 5:14 CEV

            14I would prefer that young widows get married, have children, and look after their families. Then the enemy won’t have any reason to say insulting things about us.

            1 Timothy 5:14 AMP

            14So I would have younger [widows] marry, bear children, guide the household, [and] not give opponents of the faith occasion for slander or reproach.

            1 Timothy 5:14 MSG

            No, I’d rather the young widows go ahead and get married in the first place, have children, manage their homes, and not give critics any foothold for finding fault.

            1 Timothy 5:14 CEB

            14 So I want younger widows to marry, have children, and manage their homes so that they won’t give the enemy any reason to slander us.

            1 Timothy 5:14 GW

            14So I want younger widows to marry, have children, manage their homes, and not give the enemy any chance to ridicule them.

            1 Timothy 5:14 KJ21

            14It is my will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give no occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

            1 Timothy 5:14 YLT

            14I wish, therefore, younger ones to marry, to bear children, to be mistress of the house, to give no occasion to the opposer to reviling;
            And all verses on ruling the houshold:

            It was not until the 15th version, the American Standard Version, that I found the particular version you chose to use.

            1Ti 5:14 ASV

            I desire therefore that the younger (widows) marry, bear children, rule the household,

            You wrote,

            The Bible calls women to rule households! Bet you were never taught that in church!

            Its clear this verse is telling us that the wife is to manage her household. I think its clear from Proverbs 31 that the wife is to manage the home. But this does not remove the need for her to do what God told Eve, to be ruled by her husband. – in much the same way a CEO is in charge of a company, yet is still subject to the Chairman of the Board.

            You gave some verses, but you are taking liberties with the texts and reading things into it which are not there.

            I would say the same thing about you.

            Yes, women were made for man as an ezer kenegdo, a rescuer on his own height. And beach lifesavers are appointed for the public, which does not mean that any member of the public have more authority on the beach than the lifesaver, or that they are the lifesaver’s ruler.

            Ezer ( http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/hebrew/nas/ezer-2.html ) means helper, not rescuer.

            Eve was intended to help Adam.

            Genesis 3:16 is part of what God say will happen because of sin, not part of what God desires. Here are 2 similar arguments to yours on Gen. 3:16:

            God wanted Adam and Eve to obey Him. But GOD allowed Eve to be deceived and lead Adam into sin. Scripture is clear that because she was deceived, God put Adam in charge to rule his wife.

            1 Scripture is clear that the earth will produce thorns. (Gen 3:18) Therefore, sowing weeds on someone’s field is the will of God
            2 Scripture is clear that a woman will be ruled by her husband (Gen. 3:16) Therefore, husbands ruling wifes are the will of God
            3 Scripture is clear that men will eat in sorrow. (Gen. 3:17) Therefore, creating an unpleasant atmosphere at the dinner table is the will of God, when a man is present.

            God did not say to sow weeds, nor did God say to create an unpleasant atmosphere.

            Biut God DID say that man would rule his wife (Gen 3:16).

            If Eve was not deceived, then wives do not have to be led by thier husbands.

            You wrote,

            We agree that there should be husbands and wifes. You seemingly missed the reason for mentioning slaves, so I’ll explain again. Just like the words to slaves (obey your masters) did not imply that Paul endorsed a hierarchy whereby some people are ought to be under others; the words to women, for those same reasons, do not mean that some permanent hierarchy exist whereby men are leaders and women are followers. Therefore, your women submit verses does not imply males should lead.

            I didnt miss it. I addressed it. I said, “Scripture concerning being a good master does not say there should be masters and slaves, but merely regulates that relationship. This can not be said for whether there should be husband and wife. Scripture is clear that woman was made for man, and further that the woman is to be ruled by her husband. Further, she should submit to her husband.”

            If the leadership was not to remain permanent, the Paul would not have reiterated it in 1 Timothy 2:11-14, where he said women are not to teach or assume authority over men because Eve was deceived – reminding us of Genesis 3:16.

            11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

            You said,

            Did you take Ephes. 5:22 out of its immediate context because you have never been taught the context, or because the context don’t fit your view? The context is like this: Ephesians 5:22 is the last part of a sentence in the original Greek, and does not contain a verb in the older manuscripts. With the part it comes form, it reads like this: “subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ, wifes unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord

            I dont take it out of context. I recognize that the church is to submit one to another. While some would teach that the one another is only to be men to men and women to women, I dont. I teach husbands are to submit to their wives, as God has wired each gender differently and a family is little more than a tiny church. The wife has intuition and/or a walk with God that is different than the man’s. A church needs all the gifts of the members, and in the same way a family needs all the gifts of its members. A servant is to submit to his leader and a leader is little more than a servant (to use the model of Christ).

            However, this still does not change the fact that God has said Christ is the head of the Church and the husband is the head of the woman. The wife is to submit to her husband in everything, which we see in Ephesians 5:22-24. Ths husband is told how to submit to his wife in Ephesians 5:25-32 – through loving his wife. It is summarized in verse 33, where Paul ties both lthe husband’s love and the wife’s respect together.

            You wrote,

            So the first thing about the context is that everyone in the church should submit to one another(Nobody is given authority).

            The thing is, while everyone is to submit, there ARE some who are in leadership – in fact, Paul, Barnabas, and Titus appointed some. And church members should submit to their leadership.

            Acts 14:23

            Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.

            1 Timothy 5:17-18

            17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”

            Titus 1:5

            The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.

            1 Peter 5:5

            In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

            Hebrews 13:17

            Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.

            You continued

            And for the second part: Since the Bible does not contradict itself, either “wifes unto your own husbands as to the Lord”, or all the verses about having no other master except God, does not mean what it does on face value. Which do you think should be re-interpreted?

            You are re-interpreting Genesis 3:16, or outright ignoring it. Is this because you want to be like the world and a feminist, rather than obeying God and following your husband as scripture says to do?

            Jesus turned hierarchy on it’s head. “You know that the ruler of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you” (Mark 10:42-43) ” But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your teacher, and all ye are brethren… Neither be ye called masters: for one is your master… whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and whosoever shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matt 23:8-12. In the next verses, he curse those who set themselves up as spiritual leaders.)

            Let us look at Mark 10:42-43 in context.

            Mark 10:35-45

            35 James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” 36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.” 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 They said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. 40 “But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John.

            42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 “But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

            Jesus didn’t actually turn hierarchy on its head in Mark 10:35-45. He was saying to not seek glory for yourself, as James and John had done in trying to be placed in a place of honor. (v37). He was also saying to not use a place of leadership as a place of power, but to be a servant leader – as Christ had done repeatedly.

            The same thing is seen in looking at Matthew 23:8-12, when we look at the entire chapter 23. I am not going to quote the entire chapter here. But Mt 23:3 reads,

            3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.

            You skipped one particular verse in what you quoted from Mt 23:8-12, so lets look at that.

            8″But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11 But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

            Jesus was not simply saying to not be called leaders, or when he said dont call anyone on earth your father because God is your father would have meant we are not to call our parents what they are. Jesus was saying to not seek power and esteem. Leaders are to be humble, servant leaders, whose hearts have been purified.

            Jesus’ problem with the leaders was not that they were leaders, but with the fact that they were hypocrits who taught one thing and did do what they taught. He did not like that their hearts were not clean, but they were full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
            Mt 23:27-28

            27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

            Jesus could not have had problems with the disciples being leaders, because we have examples of the apostles and elders being leaders in the church, as well as appointing leaders in the church to whom the congregation should submit (as we saw above, Acts 14:23, 1 Timothy 5:17-18, Titus 1:5, 1 Peter 5:5, Hebrews 13:17).

            Acts 15:2-6

            2And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue. 3Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren. 4 When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. 5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.” 6 The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter.

            Acts 15:22-23

            Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas–Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren, and they sent this letter by them, ” The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings.

            Acts 16:4
            Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the decrees which had been decided upon by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe.

            So, once again, if you look at the things you quoted in scripture in context, you would see that Jesus’ problem is not with leadership, but with people seeking power and esteem. Leaders are to serve.

            You continued,

            As for your quoting of the head metaphor: Head has so many meanings, we should be careful to get the right meaning. For example, it is not standard Christian doctrine to call God the boss of Jesus, yet by your use of 1 Cor. 11:3 to imply rulership, you do.

            The head is that which makes decisions. One does not need more of a metaphor than that.

            You might not like the idea that God the Father is the boss of Christ. But Christ, who was sent by the Father in heaven, is the model of obedience to His Father. He did and said what God the Father wanted.

            Luke 22:42

            saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

            John 5:19

            19Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

            John 6:38

            38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

            John 12:49

            “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.

            Hebrews 5:8

            8Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.

            In the same way that Christ submitted to God the Father, men are to submit to Christ, and women are to submit to their husbands.

            How do you motivate your understanding of head as “authority figure” and not any of the many other meanings? I explain my understanding this way: Paul never used the head metaphor in a way he explains as about leadership. (The heart is usually called the thinking, leading organ in Bible speech.) In the chapter after the one you quoted a “head verse from, he uses the body metaphor extensively, in the sense of the whole body needing one another. (“The head cannot tell the feet: I do not need you” :21)

            I am not saying the wife is any less important than the husband. I am simply saying God said the husband is to lead sacrificially. As for ‘head’, its clear that head means the one in charge, the one making the decisions.

            You continued

            In other words, wbmoore, you did not give one single verse to back up your claim that “the woman is to be ruled by her husband.”

            Only if you ignore scripture and take it out of context, as is clear you have to have done to come up with your belief regarding leadership in marriage (and apparently in church, given what you have said regarding leadership).

            You continued

            Genesis 3:16 say it will happen, not that it should. Your Ephesians and Collosians verses don’t say she is to be ruled, only that it is so and she should submit while it is so.

            Genesis 3:16 said it MUST happen, because Eve was deceived. That is reiterated in 1 Timothy 2:11-15. Until the time comes when God recinds that order or Eve was never deceived, then a wife is to be led by her husband.

            And you take a view of the 1 Corinthians verse which distorts the relationship between God and Christ

            No, my view of 1 Corinthians reflects what CHRIST said regarding himself – that God the Father sent Him, that he only did and said what The Father did and said, that He came to do the FATHER’s will. There is a heirarchy between God the Father, and there is one between the church and Christ, and there is one between wife and husband. You are free to ignore or twist scripture to make it say what you want to, but you do so at your own risk.

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          2. wbmoore, you are actually correct on several points.(Not all) If I really said what you think I did, much of your reaction would have been correct. But you misunderstand the meaning of much of what I said.

            I’ll probably post a blog entry on my blog on the topic this weekend. Meanwhile, I am preparing by, for example, posting a piece on what Christ’s headship means.

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  4. racheljthomas wrote,

    what makes it worth it is a partner to share your life with. To hold you when God’s testing you. To talk about theology and the amazing works of God. To create a child with and truly see the marvelous wonders of our Creator. I never saw a price tag on marriage, and I doubt my husband did either. (Definitely saw it on the baby, though!! And I watch it come out of my bank account every week!)

    Amen on all that. Children are costly, and not just in terms of finances!

    I want a woman to share my life with. I want a woman who is tender and loving and who will hold me and support me when God is testing me. I want a woman who loves Jesus who will speak about things that matter to me – GOD, my kids, ministering.

    I dont care about how much I have to pay to support a stay-at-home mom. If that is what God is calling me to do, then God will provide. The cost is irrelavant. The payoff is immeasurable.

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  5. Your post starts off well and then degenerates into a blinkered view of which careers are most valued by God.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you’re advocating a world void of Christian influence in the arts. Plato, in a piece which you quoted, was wary of the power of art to sway people, so saying that art is of no influence is ridiculous. In discouraging artistically talented Christians from taking up the arts, you are abandoning the influence of art to the unregenerate. Take all the Christian influence out of art and see how much the poorer it would all be and how much harder it would be for humanity to quench it’s God-given thirst for beauty and creativity without being left with only the perversion of it. As I said before, you don’t realize that you are advocating a world where all the songs, poems, films, visual art, etc. are evil, full of ungodly rebellion, lust, and violence because you discourage Chritians from going into the arts. How are you going to answer to God on that one?

    You’re also denigrating the gifts that God has given people to write poetry or play music or dance or paint, etc. And you’re denying the many who use these gifts to His glory.

    Moreover, there’s a double standard when you can say this on this post and in other posts encourage reading Treasure Island or appreciating Pre-Raphaelite art or defend the right of a Christian child to sing a song with Christian lyrics.

    You didn’t give me a response last time I said this. I’m waiting…

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  6. Uh, wasn’t King David a poet?

    Personally, I have no use for poetry. But on the flip side, a sure way to make your kids miserable and get in the way of them advancing the Kingdom as much as possible — perhaps for life — is to push them into something they aren’t suited for and/or don’t like.

    My dad was a PhD in chemistry and I’m really, really glad he didn’t push me there. I’ve had a very successful finance / accounting career but am glad my daughters are using their gifts / talents in their own way.

    Of course, it should all be grounded in a Christian worldview.

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    1. I’ve been pushed into something I don’t like, but who cares about my feelings? It’s not about me. I can be happy later when I’m resurrected. I don’t see anything in the New Testament about being happy here and now.

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      1. Hi — I think that is a false dichotomy. We shouldn’t chase pleasure at the expense of furthering the Kingdom, but doing what you like means you are more likely to be good at it and using your gifts and talents to their maximum. I think that makes for a better witness. We’re blessed to even have a conversation about this, of course, as billions don’t have the career choices we do.

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  7. I disagree on professions, WK.

    I am currently touring the united states (just leaving nashville as I write this) playing in a band who’s stated goal is ministry. Our lyrics are positive and uplifting. We are signed to a secular record label, we play on secular as well as christian tours, and it’s not at all uncommon for kids to come up to us at shows and converse with us and ask questions about faith and share their lives with us.

    I could be a philosopher, or a lawyer or something else, but I believe this is where I should be, at this point in time of my life.

    We occasionally have conversations about our faith with the other bands we’re on tour with, but we don’t pressure or force any issues, there’s no judgment towards anyone, as we recognize our own imperfections as well.

    Each one of us has a different story of how we came to God and I think that allows each of us to relate to all different types of people.

    We’re reaching a generation of broken and strugglng kids, kids that don’t understand or care about politics or fiscal issues, kids that are broken because of bad home lives or struggling with bad decisions, and PhDs and diplomas and tax cuts just simply won’t fix that pain.

    God gives talents in every area for a reason, and I apologize but I think its narrow-minded of you to speculate on how every child should be raised. You’re looking a min-max for effectiveness and outreach, which is fine, but sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. I’ve always wanted to be the one that leads someone to Christ, but I’ve long since learned that the seeds I plant can take years to sprout and so I’m content just to keep planting little seeds in people I meet. I’ll find out how many of them took root when I get to heaven.

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  8. Your “job” as a husband and father is to love your wife even as Christ also loved the church and gave his life for it” (Ephesians Ch5 v25).
    What a glorious example Christ gives. He can point to Himself as the paragon of holiness, as well as the teacher of it.
    The Christian should take nothing short of Christ for his model. Under no circumstances ought we to be content unless we reflect the grace that was in Him.
    The Lord Jesus cherishes for the church a peculiar affection, which sets her above the rest of mankind: “I will pray for them, I pray not for the world”
    The elect church is the favourite of Heaven, the treasure of Christ, the crown of His head, the breastplate of His heart, the very centre and core of His love. A husband should love his wife with a constant love, for thus Jesus loves His church. He does not vary in his affection. A husband should love his wife with an enduring love, a hearty love. Jesus has a delighted love towards His spouse. He prizes her affection and delights in her sweet compliance.
    Christians wonder at the love of Christ, but are you trying to imitate it?
    Is the rule and measure of your love “even as Christ loved the church”?
    On the subject of submission: When a husband loves his wife as he ought to according to the Word, she can rest in submission to his headship, knowing she can be entrust her life to him.

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    1. I ask Christian women for a value proposition for men to marry them, and I get this statement of female demands. I am still waiting to hear how Christian women have prepared themselves for a marriage that produces influential and effective children. What is the plan? How have you prepared? Why should I believe that redirecting my resources to you will be better than redirecting my resources to Christian scholars?

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      1. Wow.

        Women who mother children sacrifice their bodies and their time.
        They can only give what has first been given to them, first by their family of origin and second by their husband* who is her first line of support in the pouring-out-her-life-spirit-soul-and-body into another human being that can’t do anything for itself.

        (*in chronological order, not order of importance.)

        Having children is not a one person job, from start to finish. You need both parents at conception and then every point along the way.

        You and so many around here go on and on and on about how women are supposed to submit and let the husband lead, thereby basically demanding that a woman lay aside her life, not just for her children who suck the life out of her, but also be ever ready for sex, to encourage, uplift, and support her husband.

        But when a godly woman, like Dina, comes along and reminds people of what the Bible tells men, you jump all over her. How dare she make any demands.

        Let me tell you what I have done to raise up wise, balanced, moral, generous, considerate, God-fearing, and intelligent children.
        I gave them my all.
        And I learned a lot along the way that I did not have a clue about when I got started.

        I was available to them, I held them, I fed them, I comforted them when they dealt with issues ranging from small boo boos to the death of a grandparent. I taught them math, science, reading, writing, the Bible and made the most of every possible learning moment available. I gave them everything I had. Time, love, money, service like cooking, cleaning etc.

        My daughter has gained the reputation with her friends that if they need any advice, they ask her. One of her friends stands to the side while my daughter gives advice and says, “Do it. She knows what she’s talking about.”

        One of my sons along with a Christian friend completely shut down his high school biology teacher on the topic of evolution.

        Now…

        If you had asked me, before I got married, what my value proposition was, I probably wouldn’t have had a clue what you were asking and would not have known how to answer.

        However, if you looked at my life and watched me teach preschool Sunday school you might have seen my heart for children and how important I thought they were and how I gave them my all during class with the intention of helping them to grow up to be Christian influences in this world. You also might have seen me train to work in the crisis pregnancy center our church was starting over 25 years ago.

        I guess what I’m saying is that, sure there are certain things that should be a given in a spouse. Character, Intelligence, Faithfullness, Willingness to take on the hard jobs and sacrifice, Flexibility, and in your particular case, at least a willingness to learn apologetics. But you act like women should be like God, knowing the end from the beginning.

        It’s a learning process, the entire way. It’s a growing process. And it’s a process a woman cannot do without a good support system in an understanding husband and extended family. She won’t have it all together when she starts nor will she have a clue what all it takes to be a parent. Anyone expecting this of a spouse is not being practical.

        Dina gave you a key.
        A good woman can do anything with the support of a Christlike husband. A good woman is inspired to accomplish those very things you talk about and think are important when she gets the support Dina was talking about. In the mind of a woman they really are completely interwoven, not regulated to separate boxes. She can only do what her support system will allow, and very little more than that.

        I’m telling you, Wintery…
        Actually I have told you this before. You have got to read “Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti”.

        http://www.amazon.com/Men-Are-Like-Waffles-Women-Spaghetti/dp/0736904867

        You expect women to think like men.
        And when they don’t, when they think and talk like women, you get mad at them.
        And you accuse egals of not getting gender differences.

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    2. Dina’s post was absolutely fantastic. She has a true gift of writing.

      And there are so many other doctrinal truths which she alludes to in her post, “the elect church”, “submission to his headship”, etc. She knows her bible well.

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      1. Wow, I can’t believe that you and I disagree. It’s not that what she wrote is wrong, it’s that she responded to the question of how she should prepare herself for marriage by listing demands on men. And also basically saying that a man’s job in marriage is to make women happy, which is different than from what I said marriage is for. So, no one so far has given me one reason why spending about a million dollars on marriage and children (who will become poets and ballet dancers) is better than spending a million dollars on apologetics events and scholarship. It’s amazing. I asked what value I would get for my client out of spending seven figures on marriage and kids, and the response was “shut up and make women feel good”. And then almost everyone agreed with that response. Am I the only one here who thinks that God is a real person with real desires? I don’t feel right about ignoring what he wants in enterprises like marriage and parenting.

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        1. WK,

          Thanks for your recent post.

          One of a husband’s concerns should be to keep his wife happy. Even the scriptures acknowledge this reality. For example, Paul says in I Corinthians 7:

          “32I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.”

          But I’m not entirely sure we disagree on the issue. People get married for all sorts of different reasons. Some people get married because they are lonely. Others get married because they have powerful sexual emotions and they want to legitimately and morally satisfy those emotions. There really is no right or wrong reason to marry, as long as you honor God and keep His commands.

          It seems that in your case you would be primarily interested in marrying a wife who would help you raise the next William Lane Craig. But if that is not possible, you would prefer to devote most of your time and resources to Christian scholars. Given those parameters it may not be a bad idea to remain single, as there is a good chance that any children you have might not be interested in being a Michelle Bachmann or a William Lane Craig. In fact, there is even a chance that they might not be Christian at all, in spite of your best efforts. (Having children is a risk, as your children would have free will. It would help you to identify with God more, however, since that is the risk that He took when He created us.)

          In my opinion, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to expectations of marriage, or whether or not to even get married. I will say, however, that if you are uncompromising in your goals for marriage, it is highly unlikely that you will ever meet a wife who has those same exact goals. If that is the case, I sincerely hope that God has endowed you with the gift of celibacy and contentment in being single.

          On the other hand, if you sincerely desire companionship and marriage (for it is not good for a man to be alone) and if you prayerfully put the matter into God’s hands, then He will bring you the best person for you, as He did for me. That person probably will not have every single thing on your wishlist, but they will be the best spouse that you could have. God knows you better than you know yourself.

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          1. Well, I don’t think anything you said is wrong. I understand that some people think that the husband-wife relationship and the goal of making each other holy is the main purpose of marriage, but I think it is the secondary purpose. The main purpose is having an influence for God. And I think that women need to accept a man’s leadership to execute a plan to achieve this goal once they decide to marry him. The time to consider and evaluate who will be a good leader is before the marriage occurs. And I am saying that women should choose a plan that honors and glorifies God.

            Here’s a comment I got on Facebook from a woman who knew EXACTLY what I was trying to say:

            Just popping in without having read through the comments properly – must attend to something else – but I reckon that many people do not have God’s kingdom view/ vision for their lives, for their marriage or their family. These involve choosing His will for one’s life (which includes taking up one’s cross/ dying to self), seeking His will for one’s marriage and family. I had a dream of my family being one in the Lord and serving Him, including my children being influential for God’s kingdom in their schools, amongst their friends, and in seeking God’s plan for their lives, but my dreams have been shattered (if it weren’t for my areas of ministry outside the home, I’d wonder why the Lord saved me). As I posted previously, it helps if the parents are reading off the same page.
            P.S. I love reading, but mostly non-fiction, would love to travel, and I’m the frugal saver! Beware of pigeon-holing! ;-)

            That’s exactly what I was aiming for – how will the marriage serve the kingdom, not the wife. And how will the wife prepare herself to buy into her husband’s plan and help him, as wives are supposed to. I would like a woman to accept my leadership and my view of the field and have prepared herself to solve problems and move the ball forward according to my plan, which I think is LIKELY to influence the culture in a positive way. I would like her to understand the problems that Christians are facing on issues like intelligent design, marriage, abortion, free market capitalism, deficits and debt, national security, public schools, gay activism, etc. and appreciate that I have put some effort into studying these things.

            What I am finding is that a lot of women who basically are thinking about their own needs are disagreeing with my rational, effective kingdom-centric plan because they resent the idea that the husband should be the leader and impose any duties on the wife to DO ANYTHING EFFECTIVE that she does not feel like doing. For example, I have people tell me that they don’t have to read apologetics because science and philosophy does convince anyone anyway, what really works to make people change their minds is appealing to their emotions. But this is NOWHERE in the Bible. Jesus regularly appeals to the evidence of miracles and the resurrection. Similarly, Christians should be working hard to understand what science says about where God has intervened in a detectable way and use that evidence. But that is hard to do, so people tell you that they can advance the kingdom just as well in easier ways.

            The woman’s job during courtship is to explain to the man WHY she should be allowed to appropriate his labor and resources for 50 years and spend about half a million dollars of his productivity. If her explanation is that she has prepared for and intends to produce a William Lane Craig and a Michele Bachmann and a Thomas Sowell and a Jennifer Roback Morse, then count me in. If her explanation is “love me, love me, love me, buy me stuff and make me feel happy!”, then count me out. I would be better off giving the money to the real William Lane Craig and Jennifer Roback Morse. Basically, she should be able to say that if she is accepted onto the team, then her help will cause the customer of the marriage project (God) to be even more pleased with the results produced. The man’s job is to decide whether she has the skills and has done the preparation to help him with his plan to serve God.

            And you know what? That’s my decision to make – I am holding the resources. I make the plan. I call the shots. I am not interested in shoveling my resources over to someone else to control, so they can execute their non-plan plan.

            What I am finding is that some Christian women are unwilling and unable to make any kind of value proposition to men about how they are ready to make a marriage and children that will serve God. And they are instead opting for state-subsidized single parenthood. I know one woman whose name starts with K who has been impractical her whole life. She just turned 30 and has zero assets or capital, and no marketable skills, no career history. She has actually lapsed into apostasy due to not getting the happiness she thinks that God owes her. She is blaming men for refusing to marry her and now wants to have a child out of wedlock and raise it with welfare money. She is sure she would be a great mother, and that children don’t really need fathers. She knows that because she feels it – it’s not something she has actually looked into, you know.

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          2. I think wgbutler has given you some very wise advice here. After all, the likelihood of your child having the capacity and drive to be another WLC is pretty small. WLC is exceptional.

            I would be very proud indeed if my son or daughter was like WLC or Michelle Bachmann. I would be equally proud if he or she:
            – made a movie like “Bella” or
            – became a missionary in a country where the Gospel has had limited exposure or
            – became a pro-life doctor or
            – became a godly supreme court justice or
            – did research in intelligent design or
            – became the next Randy Alcorn to inspire people with his novels as a friend of mine has been inspired to use her skills as an architect to design crisis pregnancy centres or
            – drafted economic policies that made people’s lives better or
            – became and ADF lawyer or
            – wrote a literary work (like the David’s psalms or Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress or Augustine’s Confessions or the works of C.S. Lewis) which inspired others to godliness or
            – was a computer engineeer who lived his life as a visible Christian in front of his co-workers
            – or any number of other godly ways to spend himself in Christ’s service.

            If you require your child to fit into a very narrow band of “acceptable” professions you are highly likely to be disappointed and would probably be more satisfied spending your efforts in supporting apologetics ministry than marrying and having children.

            Children are NOT like IT projects. IT projects are entirely your own making. You can mold them any way you want. Children can be molded up to a point, but they also have God-endowed minds, talents and personalities over which you have no control. These talents are to be used for His glory – and He is the one who gets to decide how that happens, not you. Moreover, you cannot force a child to have the drive to be another WLC. You can encourage them to consider it and help them to appreciate what he does, but you cannot force them. It has to be something that they really, really want to do or they’ll be worse than useless at it.

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          1. Thanks, Mara. :) The body of Christ is more than just a collection of feet – by His design. All are needed.

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          2. I think any way is as good as the other as long as the children are motivated by passion or confidence or a sense of fulfillment or whatever other thing that drives or directs them.

            Whatever you have to say about happiness not being important, all I can say is that miserable people sure do have a hard time finding motivation for anything. There has to be a sense of purpose, divine call, feeling of gifting,… something… anything beyond, ‘i’m doing this because daddy (or mommy) told me to.’
            Drawing on the inner person, the core of that person, the talents, giftings, or drive will go much further.

            Passion is a powerful motivator.
            Look at your passion for apologetics. I don’t know if it makes you happy. But I do know it motivates and inspires you. And you pursuing this passion also motivates and inspires others.
            I know this well.

            And I may be going on a limb here, but, chances are, a motivated and inspired person will most likely be happy than a person plodding course they feel nothing for.

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  9. I also have to take issue with your notion of how to raise kids. Their career paths are for them to choose as they are called. We are all called to different things in different ways and God can work through every one of them, even some seedy ones if He so chooses. Of course, to guide a child away from something unethical, blatantly wicked would be unnecessary if we are doing our jobs as Christian parents, teaching them the faith. But assuming that they are not rejecting those teachings, any job they feel called to enter is fine as God can work through them if they are janitors as well as the next Billy Graham. The fact is, we need more Christian janitors. We need more Christian sewer workers. We need more Christian waitresses. We need more people to come to Christ. In sales, one often sells more easily to those who are similar. If there is a rapport. I just met a trucker who sees his work as an opportunity to witness to other truckers. He carries his Bible and passes out little booklets with a phone number on it. The booklet has a little comic book style story of a guy who has died and is about to meet his Maker.

    It’s not the job. It’s the manner in which the kids live in whatever job they choose.

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  10. My comment had no demands, except the scriptural one which the apostle gave to the Ephesians. Hardly my words! Using Scripture proofs to back up my opinion was to convey that we should live our lives according to the Word of God and in doing so, we don’t just adopt the parts that sit well in our sinful self righteous minds.
    You should invest all your resources into Christian scholars if you lack the grace to see whatever woman you choose will be a sinner, a woman, a Christian and a wife and need guidance from her husband and the Lord to live the life she was intended for.

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  11. Wintery, think a bit wider on the “he should be a William Lane Craig, not a poet” idea.
    William Lane Craig is a philosopher. The major image of most philosophers is people who studied an impractical topic and now know how to discuss uselessly abstract things which few people are interested in. It is a direction which opens few doors for employment, except as, well philosphy professors.
    To be fair, he is also a theologian. But many who know theology does not have much impact either, preaching to a shrinking congregation without impacting them much.
    Poets usually use their talent nowadays to write songs. Poetry/ songwriting is also reasonably closely related to other forms of fiction writing, like movie/ TV scriptwriting and novel writing.
    And now for an easy question: Who has the biggest influence on how Joe average think? Is it a) church sermons and philosophy books, or b) pop songs and TV shows?
    WLC has more influence than poets, yes. But if your kid want to be a philosopher, it does not follow he will be anything like Craig. And if he wants to write, he may turn out to have a big influence on many. It’s not just the educated who influence the world. In fact, billions of people over 2000 years followed, or follow, a carpenter from Nazareth who was never highly educated. Mohammed is another example of how it is not always the most learned that has the greatest impact.

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  12. “The woman’s job during courtship is to explain to the man WHY she should be allowed to appropriate his labor and resources for 50 years and spend about half a million dollars of his productivity.”

    Try dividing the number of hours a wife/mother puts into household/wife/mothering duties, assign an hourly $$ value, and see who is appropriating whose labor and productivity. ;)

    My husband is a hard-working man, and I REALLY appreciate his supporting our family financially. I also REALLY appreciate his appreciation for my hard work in our family, and the recognition that I am not “appropriating his resources and spending his productivity,” but sharing in both. He works full-time outside the home. I work full-time as well, but my paycheck comes as the health, stability and satisfaction of my family. When I worked outside the home and made a paycheck, I worked very hard – but not as hard as now.

    Now KIDS, THEY appropriate your resources and spend your productivity. :)

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    1. Oh my gosh! You are right! I do think that the man should have VERY convincing case to make to the woman to persuade her that he will love her and appreciate how she raises the children when he is off doing his drudgery. I sort of forgot how important having a good mother is when I wrote that. My mistake!

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  13. When it comes to impacting culture – the only reason that culture matters at all is because it influences individuals. People are eternal and beloved by God – cultures are ephemeral constructs. Reaching people for God’s Kingdom can be done directly or indirectly, through culture. Both are important, but affecting the culture is not superior to reaching individuals directly. In fact, only some people are called to influence the culture in a measurable way, but I would argue that we are all called to reach individuals.

    Now, as parents, the natural human impulse is to want our kids to do something professionally that will bring them authority, prestige, widespread influence, and/or a big paycheck. However, God doesn’t need any of those things to use someone to reach others. That aside, there is really no predicting which profession might bring those things – except that, if someone completely ignores their talents, abilities and interests in choosing a profession, they are unlikely to succeed as well as they could in another field to which they are better suited.

    Wintery, you may be the only person that I’ve ever “met” who plans to pressure his kids into becoming professional philosophers. ;)

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    1. Well, we are just going to disagree about what counts as influential. I would be happy with a couple of high school teachers or something, but I want to aim them higher.

      I think people are thinking that I would be picking out their professions. That’s not what I am saying. I am saying that I would not let them drop math and would not let them take ballet. And I would steer them toward a GROUP of fields that are (I think) influential. They would get to pick from those good fields. I would explain to them how the world works in advance so they could make good decisions from that group of fields – e.g. – astrophysics, biochemistry, historical jesus, analytical philosophy, economics, human rights law, etc.

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      1. I think God has picked my kids’ path. I want to encourage them to be who God has called them to be. That included the jobs they enter. I WILL require they take in high school what they need to enter any university in the land: 4 years of math, English and science, American History, World history, 2 years of foreign language. etc. I want them to take debate and logic courses. But If they want to take home ec or music or art, then more power to them. Once they get into college, I will be more hands off, expecting them to get good grades or me not pay (if I pay anything to begin with, I keep changing my mind).

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      2. Keep in mind that God can use anyone and give them great influence no matter what career path they have chosen.

        For example, the NFL quarterback Kurt Warner was working at a grocery store when he got a break to play in the NFL. From that point on he became a superstar superbowl winning NFL quarterback who has used his influence in some great ways to promote Christianity and promote wholesome cultural values.

        There are also some really great Christian musicians out there, like Stephen Curtis Chapman, who use their influence to promote adoption and things like that.

        God gives each of us gifts and uses those gifts in various ways. King David was a great musician and poet, and God used his talents to write the Psalms. Imagine if King David’s father, Jesse, had insisted that David apply himself in debating apologetics and studying mathematics and astronomy and didn’t allow him to develop his musical or poetic talents!

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      3. I guess we will disagree on what influence is, and I understand what you mean. :) I will encourage my kids to find their talents, but it is important for them to be able to financially support themselves and a family, if they have one. (BTW, just because they are not talented at math or English doesn’t mean that they don’t have to do it. They can and should take their abilities into account when choosing a field.) They can pursue an impractical career if they like, but they need a practical backup plan in case they don’t get drafted for pro basketball. (Unlikely, because they’re girls. ;)) Most fields have both “practical” and “impractical” options.

        That said, I see that as a practical, financial consideration. Having an impact in the Kingdom can happen wherever they are, and I don’t think I can really predict how God might use them. I see what you mean about astrophysics, for example, but to be honest most astrophysicists that I’ve met spend most of their time in a lab and only influence other astrophysicists – and then only academically. Obviously, God has used a few astrophysicists in great ways. If you go by the numbers, though, astrophysics would not be a spiritually or culturally influential field for most practitioners. High school teachers, on the other hand, strongly influence people’s worldviews all the time. It’s hard to predict, and real influence “where the rubber meets the road” of human lives doesn’t necessarily correspond with our fame-or-corporation concept of influence. Does that make sense?

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        1. Ooh, nerd moment – I wonder what it would look like if we graphed the function of average personal influence in a profession against the influence of the top five percent of that profession? Would most professions cluster along a negative slope? If you wanted to select for both high average influence and maximum influence, you’d need to look for one that lay above the trendline and toward the right… Wonder if it’s been done? I don’t have easy access to sociology literature.

          Sorry, but this is what happens when you leave your comments open so just any riff raff can get in here… ;)

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  14. To me, a wife’s role is to support her husband emotionally, to manage the home (there are a multitude of ways this could happen – do it herself, hire people for various tasks, teach children to do things, share efforts with her husband, etc), to call her man on poor behavior, to offer her thoughts, feelings, and convictions on issues of import, to help her husband become the man God has called him to be (iron sharpens iron), to submit to her husband, to love her husband and children, to teach her children in the way they should go.

    Ultimately she should seek God and encourage those around her to do the same.

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  15. It is not about concern for a child’s happiness. We need only to read the Bible or newspaper to understand we will suffer for being Christians. It is about our willingness to fulfill God’s plan and giving our desires and wants over to His plan. Yes, there are “some directions more likely to have an influence on the culture than others” but who are you to override/decide God’s plan because you think yours is “more likely to have an influence” if the child’s calling and gifts are elsewhere? You risk supplanting your priorities and that for which you value for God’s will. Further, you write as if children are robots or pets to be programmed or trained according to your will disregarding their God given temperament, abilities, and interests. This will not be as easy as you imagine. What of Matthew 18:6? By denying or ignoring God’s will for your child you risk causing your child to stumble. Also, nowhere do you write in terms of love of your wife or child. What of Matthew 22:35-40? The desire to serve God is noble, but God didn’t create us because He “needed” us. He created us to Glorify Him. Does not the poetry of David meet that criterion? Has not the poetry of David inspired, comforted, and convicted generations? John 12:3-8 illustrates that while the “practical” is important, Christ also values that which serves no other purpose other than to glorify Him. My husband and I are in a partnership. I am good at some things and my husband is better at others. We work out all things together lovingly, but with consideration of God’s will. On the very rare occasions we can’t come to an agreement I submit to his decision, because I know he is doing what he believes is best and according to God’s Will. When I read this post it’s about your resources, your investments, and your time. I am trying to allow that you have not yet experienced the love of and love for a child or wife and your theoretical musings are not tempered by this love, but frankly this post sounds so rigid, legalistic and unyielding. You will only “be happy” with your child if they follow the career path you set for them truly breaks my heart. Please know WK I have affection and immense respect for you and appreciate all the hard work you do to educate & inform us, so please know I am writing this in love, not condemnation. This is the umpteenth version I have written after much thought and prayer. All I’m asking is when you are blessed with a child you seek to discern God’s Will, given the child’s temperament, abilities, and interests and respect and support where God calls them in the field that would best glorify or serve Him, even if you deem it’s likelihood of influence small.

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    1. Tina, I appreciate you writing this, and I understand your view. I just have a different view, but I don’t want to fight with you over it! I see your blog is starting up again soon!

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      1. I suppose this means you do not value me. As I am not a lawyer and do not aspire to be a lawyer. I lack the intellect (and youth) to become a William Lane Craig. I am a mere woman, mom, wife, church secretary. That’s ok; I love you anyway and will continue to be a thorn in your side when I think you are wrong (which are happily rare occasions). Yes, this is one of the rare occasions my husband and I are not in complete accord and I am submitting to my husband’s guidance. He is absolutely; firmly convicted it is what we should do. Let me add, I think it is absolutely important for a couple to discuss what they believe, what their priorities will be in a marriage, etc. before marriage, but do not expect a young women to be as far along in her spiritual journey as you-they are so very, very rare. I was not the person at marriage I am today (and hope to be better tomorrow). Look into her heart to discern her dedication and the strength of her faith and character. Also, the manner in which you present your concerns/beliefs is a wee-bit harsh. An old gal like me who has experienced the disappointments and cruelties of this world will understand you. However, a young woman full of dreams and hopes and a secret desire to be woo’d and frankly with a western expectation of being treated as a partner, not as an employee who will be required to follow your rules (as they come off as you presented) is unlikely to sense the love behind it or be if she is willing to submit she may be too weak of character to be the partner of strength you deserve.

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    2. I also agree with Tina on allowing our children to be who God created them to be rather than shoving them into the boxes of our own choosing.

      I Corinthians 12:
      12For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.

      13For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

      14For the body is not one member, but many.

      15If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.

      16And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body.

      17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?

      18But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.

      19If they were all one member, where would the body be?

      20But now there are many members, but one body.

      21And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

      22On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary;

      23and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable,

      24whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked,

      25so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

      26And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

      27Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.

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      1. It is our job as parents to know our children and help them find their talents and bring those talents to the forefront.

        It is not our job to pressure our children to bury the talents we deem less worthy for the sake our causes.

        As has been mentioned by many, poets and writers, including song writers, can have far more sway than you can imagine.

        We definitly need Christian lawyers and judges. But it is better to have fewer, more talented and well placed lawyers (called of God, lawyers, anyone?) than too many less talented lawyers bumping into each other creating more harm than good.

        God formed us in the womb and placed within us the gifts and talents He chose. Who are parents to veto God in this?

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        1. And you’re thinking that I should pay $250,000 per child for this plan? That there is no better way to spend the money that will be more influential – e.g. – underwriting public debates at universities, etc.?

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          1. If that’s the way you look at it, then perhaps you should underwrite public debates at universities rather than having children of your own.

            And I don’t say this to be snarky.

            Really, perhaps you are better off finding the young people who are inspired by the things that inspire you, and fund them, rather than take your chances on producing a lowly violin prodigy.
            (horror upon horrors… JK!)

            It is all a matter of what is important to you.

            There is a scripture that talks about the infertile woman being the mother of many children and a gal I know who is a missionary, she has a school and teaches younger people how to be missionarys. She holds the infertile mother verse close to her heart. She has ‘children’ in India and other parts of Asia.

            Anyway, I’m just throwing these things out as an experienced mother who has children she’s proud of, but not one of them turned out to be the way she expected.

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          2. Note, that missionary lady may not have been infertile. She never had a chance. She’s single and in her sixties now.
            But she has more ‘children’ and any woman could ever have biologically, including Michelle Dugger.

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          3. It may be with your drive and passions you may prefer to serve God as a bachelor, as Paul did, supporting important and noble causes like university debates. It is a noble calling, but not many people can go it alone. Life is harsh and cruel and people like me are better able to face it with the love and support of a partner through marriage and family.

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  16. Perhaps I am mistaken, Wintery, but it seems to me you have decided you know better than God. It seems to me that you thkn the money you have is yours. And it seems to me that you think it is better to have a nation with Christian ideals than to have a world of Christians.

    Now, the reason I say this is that it seems you have decided certain jobs are worth more than others, yet that contradicts scripture. It seems you have decided YOU would have to pay for your child’s education, yet is it GOD who provides. It seems you have decided it is more important to have people who work to defend Christian ideals than people who work to create disciples, thereby making said defense unnecessary.

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    1. Everyone has to decide for themselves what they are going to do with their resources. You have your way of discerning what God will approve of, and I have mine. And each of us have a tolerance for self-sacrifice regarding how far we are willing to deny ourselves in order to be effective. In the end, all will be known.

      I think the basic conflict is between the “I’ll do what I like and God will approve of that” and the “I’ll do what works, and who cares if I like it, and God will approve of that” camps. One of us is right.

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      1. I wonder if you aren’t so determined to prove to everyone you are “right” that you haven’t closed your mind and heart to the truth. And, I can say this as I have, on too many occasions, been in the very sexy and empowering position of being “right” until God saw fit to hit me over the head with the truth. And, let me tell you…you don’t want to have to have God hit you over the head. It’s a shameful memory to carry.

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      2. Wintery,

        The question is not how much are we willing to sacrifice, but what has God called us to do and be and will we allow God to work in us and through us to achieve that. It is not a personal sacrifice if God has changed us to desire His will. But if we want our own will, then yes, it will be a sacrifice to do God’s will.

        I’ve been in both places. Its much more likely we will be effective for God when we are allowing God to work through us.

        I think the focus on ROI is missing the perspective that there IS the camp of “What does God want me to do? I will do that.”

        Whatever we do doesnt have to “work.” It doesn’t have to be “successful” as the world terms success. So long as we are being obedient to God, then we are doing the right thing. The investment is not just monetary, but time and emotions and who knows what else. But is the return more valuable to God if we have a child who leads one person to the Lord who then leads millions to the Lord, or if we raise five children who become supreme court justices, senators, and presidents? God is not served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and everything – He created every nation, having determined when and where they will live so they might seek and find Him (Acts 17:25-27). Fathers are to bring their children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). No where does it state we are to bring up worldly leaders.

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  17. A couple of things about wisdom.

    First it is very important to make goals and set out on a road in a certain direction.
    ~It is better to aim for the moon and get halfway there than to aim for nothing and hit it square on.

    But, it is always good to remember what those who have gone before you have learned and glean a bit from their wisdom.

    ~The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

    ~Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

    ~It is better to be flexible and roll with the punches than to be inflexible and be broken without remedy.

    Human beings are organic and spirit. They are not robotic and computerize. When a child’s personality is preprogamed by the Lord, it is not our job to override it, it is out job to discover it and channel our efforts and our child’s efforts to get that child onto the most successful road possible.

    If you think that your $250,000 would be better spent on apologetics in college than on your child in college studying, say, music, then I really do think you should forgo having children.
    They will only be a disappointment to you and you will wonder why anyone anywhere ever has children because they NEVER turn out the way you want.
    And if you are rigid in what you want, you will NEVER be happy.

    If you are flexible, you will learn to be happy with the children that God gives you and not to expect of them what they cannot do.
    And if you are flexible, after you get over the disappointment of your children not being everything you ever dreamed of, then eventually you can move over into the, “Wow, these were really great kids after all. God really DID know what He was doing when He gave me these particular kids.”

    Honestly, in your present state, I really don’t think you will be happy with whatever God gives you unless God obeys your wishes and give you exactly the kind of children you want with no regard for what He thinks is best.

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  18. Hey wk, thanks for this post.
    You know, I really respect the fact that you have taken such time and thought over what duties a father and husband has, the moral qualities that he should develop etc. You’ve clearly also really deeply been considering how you want to see Christianity defended properly in the next generation and your vision for that.

    I completely agree with you too. As a student studying philosophy at a secular, academic university I see the need for debates and apologetics/evangelism talks EVERYWHERE. That’s why I’m involved with ‘Christian Persuaders’, it appeared on apologetics315 recently and this tells you what the initiative is about http://www.uccf.org.uk/christian-persuaders/what-is-christian-persuaders.htm

    Basically, it’s trying to raise up young men and women (mostly students) to be communicators of the Gospel, with the aim of raising up 100 lunch bar speakers (lunch bars happen at most universities in the uk, it’s where the christian union get a speaker to talk on a controversial apologetics issue and give a free lunch). So I am trying to learn and develop my skills so one day maybe I can get involved in formal debating, if not then I will definitely be using my training in philosophy to defend christianity in the public sphere.
    So I get what you are talking about and I whole-heartedly agree.

    But I also realize here at university that about 50% of the students are not interested in debates at all. They aren’t on the side that cares about logical truths and scientific facts. They just want to be happy, to live a fulfilling life.
    So they listen to their music which is superficial and so often boils love down to sexual intercourse. They go and see the movies and see everyone live happy ever after and without having to wrestle with whether there is something more to life. They go out on a friday night and get drunk with their friends, maybe even sleep with someone and just have a great time. But it just doesn’t seem to satisfy.
    If someone offered for that person to see a philosophical and scientific debate on whether God existed, they would probably say no and prefer to go watch a movie instead.

    So we have to understand where our culture IS first off in order to tell them properly about the Christian message. You see the thing is, if they see the Christian propositions as true but don’t think it’s beautiful or good, then they won’t want to follow. As it even says in the New Testament- even the demons believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but they HATE him. That’s the difference.
    We have to communicate the true, the good and the beautiful without compromising on any one of those three.

    On this blog I see a little bit of over-emphasis on the true. As I said, I absolutely long for more Christian philosophers and theologians to think critically about christianity, but we also need christians in music, christian film directors, christians in the secular media giving a beautiful solution to the world’s problems based in Christianity.

    Let the people see the beauty of God’s word in Psalm 23 as it is performed breathtakingly by a passionate Christian musician.
    Look at how C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien’s fiction took the world by storm with clear Christian worldviews behind them. We see the beauty of aslan and what he does to save Edmund. I think you get my point. We have to communicate the true, the good and the beautiful. Let’s not just talk science or apologetics, let’s talk music, beauty, goodness, sin, sacrifice, art, architecture.
    From this it sounds like you have not read Francis Schaeffer. Maybe you have, but I don’t think you’ve learnt from him like you should have. Wisdom is recognising the people that are wiser than yourself and learning from them. I am a young fool and so I try to soak up as much wisdom I can from people I respect, such as Jesus and Paul, but also WLC and Schaeffer.

    You know, have you ever thought about why evangelism is necessary? Why is world mission necessary?
    “Mission exists because worship doesn’t.” – John Piper
    And that is absolutely true. We do apologetics and evangelism in order that people might come to know God and WORSHIP Him!! How great would it be if the whole world was worshiping God?
    Just the idea makes me so excited that I want to pick up my guitar and sing God’s praises right now!
    Oh no, I should stop trying to worship God and read a science book right? Cos that’s ‘influential’ according to you?
    I don’t think so. I think it’s so important to learn apologetics and learn how to answer people’s honest objections, but I’m not bothered by whether this world is influenced by me. I’m bothered with worshiping God AND making sure that I try to preach the Gospel at every opportunity. I would LOVE to be a music worship leader, so I could one day help others praise God too. But it’s also important to defend the resurrection in my conversations with my atheist friend.
    Let’s not forget that all of this is for the ultimate end that God may be glorified and that mission exists because worship doesn’t.

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