Monday, October 22, 2007

Speaking Truth In Love: A Hard Task With Family

Over dinner this weekend I posed the question to a family member who is expecting his first child, “Are you going to allow your child to take communion?”

You see, the church he attends does not bar children from participating in communion. They come from a Wesleyan lineage and are of the Nazarene fold. I am unsure as to what their doctrinal stance is on the issue but when I have been there and communion was given, parents would provide a cup and bread for their children (at least the ones that I could see). Some of these children were young and it would cause me to think they do not understand what they are doing (in taking of the sacraments).

So, his answer: “Well, when the child comes to the age of understanding then we might let him/her take communion.” I responded with, “You know, if you didn’t not allow your child to participate and they asked why they couldn’t, that would lead to a great opportunity to share the gospel with your child and explain why only Christians are biblically allowed to partake.” His response was, “Yeah, but they would have to be at the age of understanding.” He totally missed my point.

At a later point in our dinner we were discussing a mutual friend and his thoughts on different issues pertaining to Christian beliefs. When I asked him about how he interacts with him concerning theological issues, he said: “I tend to stay out of the theological discussions as that is what the Pharisees did and I don’t want to be like that.” I corrected him and said that the Pharisees were scorned by Christ due to their willingness to impose stringent regulations on those under them but they themselves were unwilling to submit to the same regulations. They were hypocrites. He agreed but stated that this is why he stays out of theological discussions.

At that point we stopped and moved on to lighter subjects. For some reason, it is easier to engage my family who did not grow up in church in conversation that could be potentially damaging to our relationship than those who grew up in church and cling to their traditional beliefs.

A question:
-So how do you go about encouraging a brother to move from milk to meat when that brother happens to be a member of your family?


Glenna Marshall said...

I have had some similar issues in my family and I have found that recommending books is helpful, IF the person will read them. Then, the door is open to have a discussion about what they've read, even if they disagree with you. Sometimes reading what others have written can cause someone to question what they have traditionally believed. Suggesting books and keeping the door open for conversation has really helped my own brother to open his eyes to some misconceptions and malpractices within the American church. And, he is really enjoying conversing about these things. I can see some spiritual growth as the books William has suggested have encouraged my brother to dig in the Word to see what God has to say on the matter.

I know that's a simple answer and not one that's guaranteed to help at all. But, that's what came to mind immediately.

j razz said...

Thanks for your response Glenna. I have gone the book route with some of them but found they usually do not want to think outside of their churches practical, pragmatic teachings. You don’t want to become divisive about such things, but you sure don’t want them to stay on milk when all the while they could be growing in their sanctification and conformity to the image of our Lord.

Thanks again… I was hoping you would comment on the beating of your wife and divorce. I spoke to Nathan about it and his response was very similar to mine but included the authorities in the situation which I think is a good use of the authorities. He did say that separation should only be an option if restoration is the end goal. Divorce is not an option.

j razz

Glenna Marshall said...

I think I missed that post...I'll read it and comment later on.