October 1980

No Grandchildren

Robert F. Turner

The influence of godly parents can do much to shape the lives of their children, and it is to be expected that the younger generation accept religious concepts of their parents. While it is true that this sometimes results in a blind following, parents have an obligation to bring up their children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord," and should feel no guilt for so doing. Following the guidance of parents need not be done blindly; nor is rebellion against the parent's teaching a sign of true independence and maturity. It sometimes indicates immaturity, blindly following poorly informed peers.

But when all this has been said we still must reckon with individual responsibility. I like the way bro. Ferrel Jenkins put it in a recent chapel talk: "God has no grandchildren!"

Certain Jews in Christ's day, and some brethren today, rest their hope in a sort of physical kinship with God. The Jews said, "We have Abraham to our father" (Matt. 3:9), and some brethren say, "My dad was an elder in the church," or, "My mother was truly a godly woman." I feel like asking, "Do you think they would approve of your present conduct or attitude?"

The family relation with God is spiritual, a "knowing" "indwelling" and "fellowship" that is established through individual self-denial and trust in Jesus Christ. Parents can no more do these things for their offspring than they can love, hate, or feel joy for them. Each one who comes to God becomes His "child" in the same sense that he becomes a lively stone built upon the true foundation, a laborer in God's vineyard, a soldier in His army, a citizen in His kingdom. These and other like figures depict the functioning serving relationship of adults, freely giving themselves to God in Christ.

"He that believeth and is baptized" limits the relationship to those who can believe. Infants are safe, and in no need of forgiveness. "All shall know me" (Heb. 8:11) further stresses the exercise of intellect and will that is essential to being a "child" of God. Genuine Christianity is not inherited. GOD HAS NO GRANDCHILDREN!