The Puritans on Children in Church

We should bring our children with us to the publick teaching, so may our private teaching prove profitable. Oftentimes divine truths are as nails, one teaching sets them in, and the other teaching fastens them; one plants and the other waters, and so of both God gives increase.

We should bring the word publickly taught home to our children, by repeating it to them, and requiring it of them. It is not enough that we with others teach them, but we must see what they learn, enlivening things upon their hearts at home, by holy counsel. At our houses we should harrow in that good seed which hath been publickly sown, that so it may be covered the closer and root the better in the hearts of the children and servants.

from “Family Religion Revived, or a Treatise as to discover the good old way of serving God in private Houses; so to Recover the Pious Practice of those Precious, Duties unto their Primitive platform.” By Phillip Goodwin, p. 401-402 (1655)

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The Battlefield of My Father’s Youth

Perhaps no other individual battle is as well-known by the general populace as the battle for Iwo Jima. Some claim that the most famous picture in the history of photography was taken there of the men raising the flag on Mount Suribachi. This was the first foreign flag raised on Japanese soil in many generations, and it meant the death-knell to Japanese expansionism and ultimately the end of the Pacific war.

Thousands of Marines were ushered into eternity while doing their duty. Many of my father’s fellow pilots were lost until, one day, he found himself to be alone in his tent, the last one alive.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson said it well:

Storm’d at with shot and shell,

Bravely they rode and well,

Into the Jaws of Death,

Into the Mouth of Hell…[i]

Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith, the commanding general of the Fleet Marine Force in the Pacific said, “It was the most heavily fortified island in the world.” [ii] The tactical challenges were unmatched by any other battle.

There was no hope of surprise. The enemy had all the high ground, exposing our troops to every form of firepower. Every square yard of dirt was under Japanese crosshairs. Iwo Jima was a fight entirely on the enemy’s terms. (more…)

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How to Build Your Family Economy One Block at a Time

Please consider joining me at the Economics Conference May 8th-11th in St. Louis, Missouri. Many of us have been involved in the home education movement for years, or maybe even decades. We have learned the importance of family-integrated education where a father leads, and where parents nurture the hearts of their children in daily discipleship. Others of us have been involved in family-integrated churches, where we have rediscovered unity in family relationships, the responsibility of the father to lead and disciple, and many of the long-forgotten, biblical principles related to family-church relationships.

Now families are looking at the entire family economy as a critical element in this family reformation. Without re-integrating family economies, it becomes difficult to re-integrate the family in the other areas. Since the industrial revolution, the capitalist corporations and socialist systems have slowly displaced the family economy. Many fathers are not able to disciple their sons and daughters effectively because the economic sphere, which makes up about 80% of life fractures the family. Many families desire to work together, but they simply don’t know how.

Consider this question: Does your family have a biblical, family-integrated vision for work, financial management, inheritance, tithing, mentorship/higher education, hospitality, care for aging parents, roles for older daughters in the home, health care, and the countless other decisions you will face? Please consider joining me, Kevin Swanson, Doug Phillips, Geoff Botkin, Joel Salatin, R.C. Sproul Jr., Erik Weir, Dave Tucker, and over a dozen other speakers this May 8th-11th in St. Louis, Missouri. Maybe you haven’t thought much about your family economy. This will be your opportunity to gain a vision and develop your family economy for generations to come!

This 4-day Mega-Conference will include family-friendly activities and events each evening, and over 40 keynotes, panels, and workshop sessions that will give your family a practical, exciting vision for what God can do in your family’s economy in the decades ahead!

Visit for more information or to register. (Please note, the conference is already almost 2/3 full and nearly always fills to capacity prior to the event, so register soon!)

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Lessons of Manhood from Iwo Jima

Today is the anniversary of the World War II Pacific battle of Iwo Jima. It is important that we remember this historic battle and draw lessons from it for our sons to teach them about manhood. Here are twelve lessons of manhood that I wrote about in a book called Preparing Boys for Battle:

1. Quiet fathers impoverish their children. (Psalm 78:1-9).

The experiences on Iwo Jima should warn us about the effect of clamming up. The common story of the Iwo Jima veterans is that they kept silent about their experiences and denied their children an understanding of their heritage. This pattern, which was almost comprehensively followed by Iwo veterans, is a warning to fathers about the consequences of clamming up and keeping stories of God’s faithfulness inside by not telling their children the praises of the Lord. (more…)

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Who Is My Mother and My Brother?

In Matthew 12:38-50, it is recorded of Jesus: “And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.'”

Are you of relation to Christ? If so, what evidence do you have that it is true?

Our church went through this passage of Matthew and discussed this profound statement of our Lord.

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Absolute Dependence

Jonathan Edwards points out one of the wonderful effects of true awakening on people in the church – a sense of absolute dependence.

The drift of the Spirit of God in his legal strivings with persons, has seemed most evidently to be, to make way for, and to bring to, a conviction of their absolute dependence on his sovereign power and grace, and universal necessity of a Mediator, by leading them more and more to a sense of their exceeding wickedness and guiltiness in his sight; the pollution and insufficiency of their own righteousness, that they can in no wise help themselves, and that God would be wholly just and righteous in rejecting them, and all that they do, and in casting them off forever: though there be a vast variety as to the manner and distinctness of persons convictions of these things.

(Pg. 70, 71, The Jonathan Edwards Reader, Yale Nota Bene)

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What Is the Heart of the Gospel?

There can be no personal transformation, no holy family life, no sanctified church life or any kind of life without the foundation of the Gospel. In July 1886, Charles Spurgeon began his message with this statement:

The heart of the gospel is redemption, and the essence of redemption is the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. They who preach this truth preach the gospel in whatever else they may be mistaken; but they who preach not the atonement, whatever else they declare, have missed the soul and substance of the divine message.” He goes on to say, “I will speak upon THE GREAT DOCTRINE. The great doctrine, the greatest of all, is this, that God, seeing men to be lost by reason of their sin, hath taken that sin of theirs and laid it upon his only begotten Son, making him to be sin for us, even him who knew no sin; and that in consequence of this transference of sin he that believeth in Christ Jesus is made just and righteous, yea, is made to be the righteousness of God in Christ. Christ was made sin that sinners might be made righteousness. That is the doctrine of the substitution of our Lord Jesus Christ on the behalf of guilty men.

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When Desires Are Too Passionate and Hopes Too Optimistic in Marriage

It always makes for trouble in relationships when there is an expectation of perfection. Here is a clip from a sermon stating the details of how this happens and how to address it:

Half the miseries and disquietudes, half the interruptions of conjugal peace and domestic felicity, arise from desires too ardent, and hopes too sanguine; both parties, at their first entrance into the nuptial state, especially in youth, are apt to form to themselves ideas, very inadequate and disproportioned to the condition of human life; to entertain delusive notions of a romantic and visionary paradise, where the earth is cloathed with perpetual verdure, the flowers never fade, and the fruits are immortal; but when instead of this, they begin, perhaps in a short time, to feel the thorns springing up under their feet, (more…)

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What God Can Do with the Prayers of the Jawbone of an Ass

Consider how useful you can be in His hands when you have been waiting on Him in prayer. Here is Charles Spurgeon on what God can do, even with the jawbone of an ass:

Wait upon God much in prayer, and you have the promise that He will do greater things for you than you know of.…That ass’s jawbone lying there upon the earth—what can it do? Nobody knows what it can do. It gets into Samson’s hands—what can it not do? No one knows what it cannot do, now that a Samson wields it! And you, Friend, have often thought yourself to be as contemptible as that bone, and you have said, “What can I do?” Yes, but when Christ, by His Spirit grips you—what can you not do? Truly you may adopt Paul’s language and say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – C.H. Spurgeon

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The Danger of Coming to the Bible with a Theory

One of the central themes of our ministry is to appeal to church leaders to engage in the practice of expository preaching so that they bring the voice of God to the church and not their own. This exalts the glory of God in the church and protects it from subjection to a particular man’s hobby horse. It guards and limits men so that they do not emphasize their own favorite subjects and verses and themes and theologies and practices. Our prayer is for the whole counsel of God to fill the Church of Jesus Christ so that it is His words and ways that are exalted. Our desire is to train our men to handle accurately the Word of Truth so that God is glorified. Even though we cling to this safeguard of expository preaching, we are still subject to a danger as we interpret Scripture. As fallen human beings, we often cannot see everything because of our interests, callings, prejudices and spiritual blindnesses. D. Martyn Lloyd Jones offers a very sobering and cautionary note on this problem. He cautions us about approaching the Bible with a theory instead of our theory coming from the Bible. I include his words here, because it is our desire to avoid this error. As we work through Scripture, we must consider the problem that Lloyd Jones reveals: (more…)

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Fifteen Indispensable Pursuits That Prepare the Next Generation for Marriage

Here are “Fifteen indispensable pursuits that prepare the next generation for marriage.”

  1. The Clearest understanding of the Gospel, Col. 1:14
  2. The Gladdest embrace of God, Ps. 100
  3. The Thirstiest passion for the Word of God, Ps. 119
  4.  The Keenest inclination for repentance, Ps. 51
  5. The Hottest desire for holiness,1 Pet. 1:16
  6. The Sweetest harmony in marriage, Eph. 5:22-33
  7. The Quickest pursuit of reconciliation, Eph. 4:26
  8. The Highest investment in the church, Eph. 1:23; 5:32
  9. The Biggest vision for life, 1 Cor. 10:31
  10. The Liveliest, zippiest daily life, Deut. 6:1-9
  11. The Sharpest conception of marriage, Eph. 5:22-33
  12. The Tightest embrace of biblical manhood and womanhood, Tit. 2
  13. The Strongest sense of the sovereignty of God, Dan. 4
  14. The Hungriest desire to worship the one true God, John 4:23
  15. The Humblest acts of service toward the needy, Prov. 19:7

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The Poison Pill That Was the Sexual Revolution

Hollywood does not like to talk about her dead. She wants to look so sunny on the outside, but really, the dead are there. The evidence of this is everywhere. Here are 25 signs American Women are Being Destroyed by the Sexual Revolution that appeared at The American Dream:

Has the sexual revolution been good for American women?  Not at all.  In fact, when you look at the facts it becomes clear that the sexual revolution has been an absolute disaster for American women.  In the United States today, men have been trained to primarily view women as sex objects, and our culture has become exceedingly promiscuous.  As a result, the United States leads the world in teen pregnancy, there are 19 million new STD infections every single year, more than half of all children born to women under the age of 30 are being born out of wedlock and we are witnessing the systematic breakdown of the family unit in America.  And yet anyone that tries to teach our young women that they should dress modestly and keep themselves pure for marriage is severely criticized.  Well, if all Americans actually did keep themselves pure until marriage, we wouldn’t have nearly the problems with STDs, teen pregnancy and abortion that we do today.  The consequences of teaching our young women that they should be “free” to run around and sleep with a whole bunch of different men have been dramatic.  The following are 25 signs that American women are being destroyed by the sexual revolution and our promiscuous culture… (more…)

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Family Worship – Streams of Holy Influences

Then there is nothing else that so sweetens the home-life. True family worship is a fountain that brings streams of holy influences into every part of the household. It is a vase of perfume that sheds fragrance over all. It softens asperities. It quells anger. It quiets impatience. It settles differences. It subdues evil passions. Hearts that are drawn together at God’s feet every day—cannot get very far apart. The frictions of the day are forgotten, when all voices mingle in the same heavenly song. As the tender words of inspiration fall with their gracious counsels—all feeling of unkindness melts away.

The altar in the midst, wondrously hallows and sweetens the home relationships. Besides, it puts new strength into every heart. It comforts sorrow. It is a shield against temptation. It smooths out the wrinkles of care. It inspires strength for burden-bearing. It quickens every pious sentiment, and keeps the fires burning on every heart’s altar.

– from Weekday Religion by J. R. Miller, posted by Grace Gems

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Tension Created by Building a Different Culture

Celebrating my father’s birthday several days ago reminded me again of how important it is for Christians to build Christian counter culture in the world we live in. I was struck by the beauty of the moment. My father had built a culture of honor and happiness; a culture where the old and the young live life together and are not segregated; a culture where the generations gather to celebrate the gospel. It is so critical that we do not bring people into the church so that they can experience more of their preferences, their personal cultures, or to be a reflection of their lives, but rather so that they will experience something massively different – the kingdom of God – which is so discordant to the kingdoms created by the surrounding cultures of the world.

Vance Havner spoke clearly of this necessity in a sermon he called, “A New Kind of Segregation”: (more…)

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A Book for the Rescue of a Generation

This month, the Eagle Forum’s Education Report named IndoctriNation their Book of the Month. The book, edited by Charles LaVerdiere, is a companion reader to the award-winning documentary film by the same name, directed by Joaquin Fernandez and Colin Gunn. Joaquin and Charles are members at Hope Baptist Church, where I am an elder. Both the book and the film are designed to persuade Christian parents to remove their children from the public schools and bring them home to diligently teach them and care for their souls day by day.

The IndoctriNation book includes 23 essays written by many of my friends, including Doug Phillips, R.C. Sproul, Jr., Kevin Swanson, Voddie Baucham, Ken Ham, and others. Here is an excerpt from my own contribution to this important book:

In order to rescue this lost generation of children in Christian homes from hell, we must first help fathers understand what God has commanded and exhort them to embrace their responsibilities before the Lord. We must speak clearly of what God has mandated so that fathers do not miss the opportunity to touch the hearts of their sons and daughters with the message of the gospel.

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