Earlier this summer I was at a lectureship. I was struck by so much of the teaching being shared! One of those lessons that won't let me go is the idea of the tent. You've heard the phrase "Big tent, room for all". Perhaps it was in relation to politics. Basically it means that in order to have room for many people, you have to make the bar low for entry and high for removal.
Many outside the church would characterize us by what (or who) we are against rather than what (or who) we believe. Others may even go far enough to call us judgmental (and at times they'd be correct). There are so many organizations, pundits, teachers, politicians, etc. who tell us that we should shop at certain restaurants and stores or that we should vote a certain way or that we should send our kids to specific schools. They would also tell us that if we question this or choose not to, that somehow that's un-Christian of us. Or what about the attire we choose to wear to communal worship services? Or the way we worship Jesus? Or what about the attire of the preacher before us? Can Christians get tattoos or piercings? Can Christians walk around with green and purple hair or a mohawk? Can any of these be backed by scripture? There are many teachers in the church who teach that there is only one way to do many of these things, even when they aren't backed by scripture. Let's take a look at what scripture does have to say.
Flip over to 1 Corinthians 15. Here Paul challenges the church at Corinth of the most important point. This is a really good read and I encourage you to read in its entirety. However for right now let's focus on verses, 12-19.
"12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is without foundation, and so is your faith. 15 In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ — whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. 19 If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.",
1 Corinthians 15:12-19, HCSB
Our faith loses foundation (and we are made to be pitiable liars) without belief in Christ's resurrection! It's not that our beliefs on what we wear to worship service, or what time we meet together, or how often we have group Bible study (or where). It's our belief in the resurrection of Christ Jesus.
Now let's look at another verse, Jude 1:22.
"22Have mercy on those who doubt", Jude 1:22, HCSB
Now we get to the crux of the lesson I attended. As a parent can you make room for your children to move away from some of your traditions, norms and strongly held beliefs as long as they can hold fast to the truth of the resurrection of Christ? As a point of transparency, this scares me a little. However I'm willing to let God mold me into the type of disciple who simply lifts Jesus high and let's Him handle the rest.
I'm not saying that we ignore the wrong decisions or sinful behaviors of our children and call it "having mercy on his doubt". I'm simply saying let's give our children room to grow, learn and have some doubts. Especially if they continue to hold fast to the truth of the resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ!