Previous article in this series: January 1, 2015, p. 161.
The covenant home is God’s ideal institution for the nurture of our covenant children. There is no worldly institution that can properly nurture the children of the covenant. The ideal covenant home must provide a sheltered environment for our covenant children. Especially in the formative and impressionable years of their lives our covenant children must be sheltered from the evil influences of this ungodly world, from its evil philosophy of life and from its wicked behavior, dress, entertainment and amusements.
God’s covenant people are called out of the world to be a holy and peculiar people unto the Lord. The covenant home must train the children for this calling. The Christian family is not a monastery where our children are trained in complete isolation from all contact and interaction with the world. That is obviously impossible. Our children must be trained for life in the world.
The covenant home is the intimate sphere of the loving protection of godly covenant parents for nurturing their children in the fear of the Lord, in keeping His commandments, and in living in friendship with God through Jesus Christ.
God declares concerning His covenant people, “Israel then shall dwell in safety alone” (). God says to His people: “…Come out from among them, and be ye separate” ( ). God’s covenant people must be spiritually separate from the world, radically different in every part of their daily lives. The people of God are admonished not to make friends with the world. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” ( ).
It should be clear to us that no worldly institution can train our covenant children to be separate from the world. No worldly day-care center can train our covenant children for their calling. No public school will do this. These institutions will in fact do the very opposite. Foolish parents imagine that their children have the calling to be little missionaries in public schools, working to convert public school students into children of God. What in fact will happen is that these public institutions will seek to estrange covenant children from God and promote in their hearts worldliness and ungodliness. Public schools are by no means neutral in their child psychology and philosophy of instruction. When public institutions claim to be free from any so-called religious bias, they are declaring themselves in fact to be ungodly and atheistic. They are saying that knowing and serving and loving the true God is not important, and makes no difference in life. Even worse, it will deprive children of worldly pleasures, success, and human glory that is the supposed right of all.
Public institutions operate from the perspective of basic Pelagian philosophy. According to this philosophy children must be left as much as possible to themselves, to develop with only a minimal guidance from adults. Children are to be given the freedom to make their own choices in all the important matters of their lives and future.
So outrageous is this worldly philosophy, that it promotes the idea that children should be allowed the freedom to choose their own sexual identity, whether it be heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. All of these orientations are to be considered equally acceptable. Every child that is born into the world has a genetic inclination to one of these. Whichever sexual identity a child chooses—even as young as four years old—must be accepted by parents. To teach children that only one of these is acceptable to God is bigoted and will do great psychological harm to children, according to the world. Such a perspective will teach them to be intolerant hatemongers toward anyone who happens to be different than they are!
In our age it is maintained that young people need not to be strongly warned against the evil of immorality in their lives and the judgment of God on such a lifestyle. It is said that most young people will be sexually active in their lives and must not be condemned for this. Perhaps they need to be mildly counseled regarding some of the consequences of a promiscuous lifestyle, such as venereal disease, AIDS, and unwanted pregnancies. But children should not be influenced with ideas that condemn their own parents in adulterous, extramarital affairs and the ways they are destroying their own homes and families. Let none of us as covenant parents imagine that the outrageous immoral philosophies of life I refer to are not taught in public institutions of the world we live in; they are!
Children, by their very nature as children, are not old enough or mature enough to make the great and important decisions that must guide them in their lives already as children and in later life as adults. The fundamental reason for this is the fact that our children are themselves conceived and born in sin. Not only are they born into a sinful and ungodly world; they are also born with a totally depraved nature that left to itself will cause them to follow all the temptations of this ungodly world. The devil’s powerful influence in the hearts and lives of our children, along with the whole world under his influence, will seek only to increase the ungodliness.
Every serious, godly parent who loves God will realize how urgent it is to maintain the home as a sheltered environment for the protection and nurture of the covenant children God has given. In this home father and mother must give serious and specific warnings about the evil philosophy and lifestyle of this world in which we live. In this home parents must teach their children every day about spiritual discernment between right and wrong and about the fear of God that must be the great perspective of the Christian in this ungodly world. In the covenant home parents must be the role models for their children with regard to godly living. We must not cultivate in our children’s minds the idea that they should imitate the popular heroes of the world, the immoral movie and sports personalities so influential in our modern culture.
In the covenant home children must be taught to honor and love their godly mothers and fathers by following their example as witnessed by the children from day to day. In the sphere of this home, time is given for instruction together as families in the Word of God and prayer. Parents must be able to say to their covenant children, “Follow me, as I follow Christ.”
Maintaining the covenant home in the midst of this ungodly world has many urgent, practical implications. Everything that comes into and influences the life of the covenant home must be guarded, supervised, and carefully monitored. The books that are read must be selected carefully. An appreciation for art and literature is a proper part of the nurture of children in the home. But much of the world’s art and literature must be condemned and rejected. Covenant children are not being deprived when they do not read the books constantly coming from the presses, even if they are considered best-sellers and award-winning novels. The reason is that many of these books describe in enticing ways crassly immoral lifestyles and blasphemies of God and His commandments.
Television watching must be carefully monitored in the covenant home. Our covenant children, to be considered intelligent and cultured, do not need to know the Academy award movies of the world and their popular actors. Our children need to know that this world belongs to God and that its things are to be used and enjoyed only in a way that brings glory to God. There are, in fact, many good reasons why it is a great advantage for the covenant home to have no TV watching at all. A constant stream of moral filth and wickedness of every sort flows from the TV programs of our times. Evil influences from these programs corrupt the minds and hearts of covenant children. If there is any TV watching in the covenant home, it is urgent that this be supervised by godly covenant parents.
The world increases in power and inventions in our day, with which they invade our covenant homes and the lives of our children. Without a doubt, the greatest influence in the lives of young people comes through media such as the Internet, by means of computers, smart phones, and other technology. Facebook and a host of so-called social media designed for interaction and knowledge of people’s lives have a powerful influence in our times. Some are specifically designed to influence the lives and thinking of our youth. Some of them are even kept secret from adults, especially from parents. Some of these tools can be put to proper and beneficial use, as instruments for instruction and learning in the pursuit of an occupation or in preparing for the necessary tasks of our modern life. However, their use by our children must be carefully monitored in the Christian home in order to guard our children from being enticed by worldly philosophy.
Entertainment in the home must be guarded from the evil influences of the world. It is very common in the world that in this area all morality and decency can be forgotten. The world considers that drinking parties and the abuse of drugs are legitimate forms of entertainment, and that no one has the right to judge and condemn them, especially if these things are used in the privacy of one’s own home. The sheltered Christian home must promote wholesome entertainment that is godly in perspective and that promotes godly conversation and fellowship among covenant youth.
Modesty in dress (an important aspect of Christian living) is not taught by the ungodly world. It must be taught by godly fathers and mothers in the covenant home as their children are growing up so that they learn the excellent principles of the Word of God concerning these things. True beauty is not displayed by immoral dress, or the excessive use of make-up, or following the latest worldly fashions, but in the earnest concern for the modesty and holiness that is pleasing to the Lord.
In the sheltered environment of our covenant, Christian homes our children must be taught the important principles of choosing good Christian friends and companions. Especially when children grow up to be young adults, they are greatly in need of good, Christian friends that can have positive influence and encouragement in their lives. The sheltered covenant home can be the place where good friends meet, come to know each other, and develop strong bonds of Christian friendship guided by strong Christian principles of behavior.
Many marriages arise out of friendships between young men and young women at the appropriate stage of their lives. These can be nurtured in a wholesome way by good, covenant homes. The sheltered Christian home can serve as the environment where such friendships can be guarded from sinful and destructive conduct, and supervised so that they blossom into and lead to good, Christian marriages. Also our young people ought to reject the notion that they have total freedom in choosing their life’s partners and that parents have no right to supervise, make good judgments, and give wise counsel to them. Such parental involvement is not intrusive or an invasion of their privacy in this crucial time of life for young people when very important choices must be made.
Worldly child-psychologists will laugh at the ideals I have set forth in this article. They will judge it as bigoted and far too controlling for the lives of our children. They will mockingly say that the sheltered environment of the covenant home is hopelessly inadequate for training children to live in the so called real world. Others will laugh and say that such a sheltered environment where children are carefully supervised is far too controlling and will only lead to rebellious youth in later life.
Our covenant children must be deeply rooted and grounded in the truth of God for a life of principled holiness in the fear of God. This more than anything will prepare them for the covenant life to which God in His great love has called us and our children.
In the sheltered environment of the covenant home children must learn deeply the reality of covenant life. Here there is great peace and joy and stability in such a life. Here there is protection by the almighty Lord of heaven and earth. Here there is great joy and blessing and peace. Here there is ordered covenant life with God and His Son Jesus Christ, with the great reward of the hope of His salvation in eternal glory