Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Family Bible Study

I've supported family Bible study for a number of years following exhortation to establish a "family altar" from a pastor friend of mine. While the principle of patriarchal spiritual leadership finds its foundation in Genesis 1 and is abdicated in Genesis 3, the Bible is clear in Deuteronomy 6 concerning the Father's responsibility to teach his children about the God of the Scriptures. (For those unfamiliar or confused, I refer to the Triune God of Orthodox Christianity)

Deuteronomy 6:4-7
4"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6"These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7"You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

This weekend I had the distinct pleasure to watch my terminally funny, cuter-n-uh-spotted-puppydog-under-uh-red-wagon 14 year old daughter celebrate her birthday with a few close friends. My 19 year old daughter had two friends (siblings of a friend of the birthday girl) and two other friends were tallied to give us an extended family for an overnight stay. It was a pleasure to demonstrate our family Bible study for the visitors, each from a functioning Christian home (there are people who say they are cHRISTIANS but do not live consistently with their profession, therefore I call them little "c" cHRISTIANS).

Well, the inductive Bible study methodology takes lots of effort, time and hard work, the challenges of "teaching" the inductive methodology adds to the delays that we are unaccustomed to when it is just the VanDerwerker family. Each of the girls participated and we had the normal distractions, phone calls, no pen, "what page are we on", "What color highlighter do you have" and lots of laughter. This was a great joy to me to see young women enjoying studying the Bible in a family setting. I know each of the girls laughed and learned.

The best part of the family Bible study came much later when my 19 year old sad "Dad, this was a great weekend. There was a spirit of hospitality, friendship, joy and discipleship at our home this weekend that was wonderful!" That comment was from a little girl now housed in an adult body. (She was giddy over the gift from a good friend, a "Belle" tiara from the movie "Beauty and the Beast" -- perhaps she still imagines she is Belle,...)

A few hours later I listened to a friend of mine in a conversation with some folks who proposed that Christians who teach their children the Bible are actually committing "Mental Child Abuse". While I kept quiet, I admit that I would like to have had my daughter answer that question for the participants and watch a few swallowed tongues.

It's hard work for a father to answer his responsiblities to his children and teach them about the person of God as revealed in the Scriptures. It's also hard to deal with the truth. I am glad that God has granted repentance to me, renewed my mind and provides the will and ability to do so. With the words of a familiar hymn, "To God be the glory for the things He has done,.." I agree with the author.

God bless each of those young women, your friendship means a great deal to my daughters, and you are a pleasure to me.

ps: The image is not our family, that man weighs 60lbs less than I do and is 20 years younger ;-)

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