22 October 2014

The Wrong Kind of Ice Cream

by The late Frank Turk

On principle, let me say this before I say the other thing, below: we're fans of Todd Friel. He's pretty much in our neighborhood, our orbit on a lot of things. When he's good, he's clever and clear and winsome.

And then there are videos like this one:



Which, let's face it ... I mean: I like Potato Soup, and I like Ice Cream, but I would be very hesitant to try Potato Soup Ice Cream because maybe not everything that is good is good when you mix it together like that.  And to be fair to Todd, my twitter feed has noted that this 2 minutes is actually out of context of a larger segment on the show, and maybe that causes it to lack nuance.

I don't have any adult children yet, so please take my advice about how to raise children theologically with a large warning label on it which says, "this man receives sinners and eats with them," yes?  But it seems to me that what happens in this video is that Todd has forgotten how a few categories overlap without the whole thing becoming the wrong kind of soup or the wrong kind of ice cream.

Imagine with me my son and I driving along someplace, and we're discussing our mutual inclination to sin.  That is: he lives with me.  He sees me every day and he knows that his Dad, while awesome, is still a sinner.  And because I live with him, I know that he is also a sinner.  He's just like his Dad after all.  So my son tells me, "Dad, I know it's a sin, but sometimes I'm just so angry I could pop, and sometimes I do.  What am I going to do?"

Now imagine that what I say to him about his anger is this:
You have to try to not be angry, but if you do get angry, you can go to the cross and seek forgiveness.  Think about this, son: of course I don’t want you to run out into the snow and get frostbite, but if you do, I want you to go ahead and dial 9-1-1 for help.  Because that’s the Gospel – angry people get forgiveness from Jesus.  Jesus makes angry people happy in God’s eyes.
That's simply not it -- that's simply not how Paul talks about the problem of sin, the solution in the Gospel, and the battle for sanctification.  Now, if I had less time this week, I would simply point you to this post from me from a while ago (2012) and be done with it.  But I want to approach this topic in the context Todd has laid out here (such as it is) as there are important differences from that previous situation which I think you personally will benefit from.

The one thing Todd gets right in this video, if there is anything, is that the Gospel is actually the solution to the problem he is pointing at.  The Gospel is actually the solution to lust and fornication.  For those who are in adultery and fornication right now, the Gospel is the solution to them because let's face it: Jesus did die for sinners.  But Jesus didn't just die for us because of the things we do: Jesus died for us because of who we really are.  Think about this: we aren't sinners because we have fornicated.  We fornicated because we have yet been sinners with no hope; we have sinned out the the overflow of our hearts. That act is simply what seems or seemed right in our own eyes in spite of God's law telling us the truth.

But those of us who have more than God's law -- that is, those of us who have the fulfillment of the Law in the Gospel, fulfilled for us because we were yet sinners -- have the means to do something other than what seems right in our own eyes.

First, we have the ability to see that Christ died to highlight the great value of the things which God has set forth as holy through the great price which Holiness demands.  This should give us a measuring stick which upsets the apple cart of what seems good in our own eyes at least long enough to reset our thinking caps.  Second, we have the ability to see that we are changed by the death of Christ from those who were no people at all to being God's holy people. born again with a new ability to want what God wants.  That's New Covenant language, I'll grant you, but what it means is that we are no longer dragged around by the cares of this world, but willing to do what God wants us to do.  It's funny that here when it matters most Todd misses this when in other places he has been so adamant that an unwillingness to do what God wants is a sign that one might actually not be saved at all.  Third, the reason handing a child a condom and saying, "well, best of luck; don't use that unless you have to," seems to look a lot like Todd's version of how to handle this is because it really is a lot the same.  That is, it is offering the wrong solution to the problem by looking only at the consequences and not at the causes.

You know: one cause of finding yourself working out the necessary consequences of unbridled lust is that you have already given away all the bridles on your lust -- for example, thinking primarily of the safety and honor of the other person; keeping a relationship under the accountability of others; staying on the right side of the right doors.  The condom is a solution to a problem which one ought not to create for one's self.  Thinking before it happens that Jesus will love you anyway is, in fact, the same thing: trying to find a solution for something you can absolutely picture yourself doing.

The right solution here (and there are more, which I suggest are best discussed between a child and a parent rather than on a blog) is not to find the way to resolve the worst possible moral failure before it happens.  It is to use the solution God gave us in order to see the problem for what it is and see his solution for what it is really doing for us in order to defeat the problem, not to merely hope that we don't have to trust Jesus to forgive us for that.








31 comments:

Robert said...

I'm with you on this, Frank. I can see where he is going, but we have to tell ourselves (and our children) that God has not only saved us from the punishment for sin, but also from the power of sin.

I think that the message he is talking about should be the message we give our children after they stumble in sin. And if we are in the habit of doing so and pointing them to repentance and faith in Christ's work in His perfect life, atonement through death on the cross and pouring out of God's wrath, resurrection from the dead to conquer sin, and triumphant return to abolish sin once and for all, then they will already know about forgiveness that comes with salvation.

We have to be about building relationships with our children where the gospel is taught and displayed in our words and actions. Then when the time comes for these decisions to be made, there is already a solid foundation laid. Now if our children stumble in this area, we can come to them afterwards and have this discussion with them to reassure them that forgiveness is there...but then still remind them that Christians have the power to fight and kill sin through the Holy Spirit. I think the approach he is taking can easily lead to having a defeatist attitude towards sin or even licentiousness.

Frank Turk said...

AHA!

Sammy L said...

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. (1 John 2:1a)

This is true because Romans 6:1-7 is true

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

The 1 John 2:1b goes on to say

But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

Because of Romans 6:1-6 I can say to my child(assuming he is a believer and yet a sinner) that he can resist sin becoz of the new birth God has brought about in him and that he who is in him is greater than who is in the world.

And then because he is justified by faith and is a son of God now even if he sins he can return to God, with the knowledge that all the power to resist sin was available to him.

What is missing(may be inadvertently) in the video is the regeneration which enables us to say no to sin. What comes clearly is emphasis on justification which enables me access to the father.

Frank Turk said...

Yes. Exactly.

swimthedeepend said...

Potentially off-topic and deletable, but since you brought up the C word:

In Old Testament times 'phylacteries,” and were designed to remind the wearer at all times of the importance of remembering God’s commands. In modern English we have come close to taking the idea of a “phylactery,” and making it into something lewd by combining it with the prefix “pro,” meaning “before.” The idea is that a “prophylactic” is something that prevents the consequences of an immoral act before it occurs.

In contrast, Proverbs 3:3 describes God’s plan for preventive measures against sin. “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:” A Christian who wants to please the Lord will keep his head down in the Bible on a regular basis to prevent his neck from swiveling around to gaze at every worldly temptation that passes by. He will also go to the trouble (and pleasure) of memorizing Scripture so that it will be written on his heart when he encounters temptation.

Frank Turk said...

um, Thanks? I think?

Unknown said...

Couple thoughts came to mind here.

1) I didn't take what Todd was saying as offering condoms to children. I thought he was using that example, not as what we should do but what is often considered wise. I may be misinterpreting though.

2) I understand your point that sin should point us to examine whether we are saved, but there is a negative side to that as well. There is hope and forgiveness in Christ and, while there are numerous verses pointed out in the comments here that show we are changed to not sin, I don't see any mention of Paul's frustration at the sin that still lives in him. That he "does that which he does not want to do." Are we then to assume that Paul was potentially not saved because he wasn't resisting all sin in his life?

I applaud your efforts to push back on the "easy believism" that seems to have overtaken the church, but it can be a detriment to people who still struggle against sin and the response they hear is, "Well, it may/could/probably means you're not saved."

We need to get back to a more biblical view of Christianity, but in your discussion and in the subsequent comments, I see very little room for grace to fit into the Christian life. Instead, I see discussion of the Spirit enabling us to resist and not sin, but if we do sin, it's pretty likely that we're not Christians to begin with.

Frank Turk said...

I'm never a fan of responding to people with no names, but because these comments are mostly useful, here's to "Unknown":

1. Todd was not saying that offering condoms to kids was a good idea: he was saying it was a bad idea, but a -different- idea than what he is exhorting others to do here. I disagree.

While we are on the subject, btw, something I couldn't get worked into this post in a coherent way was the idea that anyone is "reaching their children to be virgins." God forbid that this is what anyone is doing: we ought to be teaching our children the proper use of their sexuality, which is inside marriage. That's a LOT different than teaching kids to be virgins.

2. This is a good question because I really do think that it's wrong to tell people they are probably not saved if they have sinned. The way Paul says -that- is usually like Rom 8:15-17, or Gal 5:13-25, or 1 Cor 6:18-20 and so on. That is: Paul never said, "because you sin you're probably not saved;" instead he said something like, "because you are saved, you must strive not to sin because you are able to do it in Christ."

That said, my concern with what Todd is telling us here is that somehow prior to sinning the idea that Christ forgives sinners is a way to "teach your children to be virgins." That is: they shouldn't really be afraid of not being virgins because Christ forgives that.

I'm underwhelmed with how that will likely work out.

3. (you didn't mark it as 3, but I will) I think it would do some good to re-read what I wrote, especially the link to the older post I put in there. There's plenty of room for grace -- when it is put in the right places of the issue. But you don't want to make potato soup ice cream of it.

Michael Coughlin said...

Good post. You seem to bring out good points and defend your thoughts with Scripture properly.

I think that Todd is (at least) partially trying to combat the belief that he thinks some Xian families hold which hold virginity to a higher esteem than basically every other virtue.

He may have said it poorly, but it is the idea that IF your kid sins egregiously AND it is sexual sin that somehow that is WAY WORSE and will be WAY MORE DAMAGING than any other sin.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I can see that point.

And I wonder if the approach is different if you know your child is not a Christian from if you do?

Jim Pemberton said...

Frank,
Absolutely. We get stuck on behavioralism without nurturing our children's hearts to deal with the roots of sin preemptively. I know that sounds sappy, but I'm aiming at something far more than a surface-level romanticism. When you focus on the law as informing behavior, you end up with the fruits of the law. When you focus on God so as to inform our desires, you end up with the fruit of the Spirit. So it is with raising children in the Lord.

Lydia McGrew said...

It seems to me that the rhetorical problem arises because Todd chooses a _particular_ sin--unchastity--for his illustration.

Of course we should teach our children, and Christians generally, if we are in a position to teach, that God can forgive any sin.

The rhetorical problem arises from singling out _that_ sin, because to my ear that implies that the child is _particularly_ likely and even expected to commit _that_ sin. Indeed, it could be taken to imply (again, rhetorically rather than logically) that that sin is nearly inevitable. I don't think that is Todd's intention, but I think it arises contextually both because of our culture and because he is zeroing in on one sin.

This seems to me potentially to go along with the "not sheltering" approach to parenthood in which one braces oneself ahead of time with the expectation that one's children will be unchaste. The problem is that kids pick up on that really fast, even if not communicated explicitly. It is more healthy to communicate to the kids that one believes that _of course_ they will be chaste, because they love Jesus and have the Holy Spirit within them. One no more makes this special statement about hopping into bed with someone than one would make it about murdering someone, even though it is true that God will forgive either of those.

The other problem is with the "virgin again" language, which is inaccurate for a whole bunch of additional reasons. Being forgiven and being a "virgin again" simply aren't the same thing. If one catches a disease, for example, one cannot get rid of it by being forgiven. One's memories will not be erased by confessing one's sin and being forgiven. One's ability to learn about sex for the first time with the person one marries can't be given back. The loss of virginity is an _earthly_ consequence of sin which forgiveness cannot change.

Frank Turk said...

I thought I wasn't going to like Lydia's comment when I saw it in the queue, and then I read the whole thing and found out I was wrong. I liked it much.

Todd Friel said...

My Dear Brother, Frank:

Wow! To be talked about on the prestigious Team Pyro blog is an honor indeed.
In this case, a somewhat ignominious honor, but disc jockeys can’t be choosers.

It seems that your concern can be summarized in your analogy of my presentation:

You have to try to not be angry, but if you do get angry, you can go to the cross and seek forgiveness. Think about this, son: of course I don’t want you to run out into the snow and get frostbite, but if you do, I want you to go ahead and dial 9-1-1 for help. Because that’s the Gospel – angry people get forgiveness from Jesus.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but your analogy appears to not only mock my advice to a child, but also I John 2:1.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

As I am not worthy to wash your theological socks, I stand ready to have my understanding of John corrected.

Until then, I thought you might enjoy this recipe for the Food Network’s version of Potato Ice Cream.
You can even see a picture of it here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sandra-lee/baked-potato-ice-cream-recipe.html#!
Isn’t that the craziest thing!

Your humble servant,
Todd Friel

Potato Ice Cream
1 pint vanilla ice cream
Cocoa Powder (recommended: Hershey's)
Whipped topping (recommended: Cool Whip)
Yellow frosting (recommended: Betty Crocker)
1/4 cup chopped pistachios

Frank Turk said...

Hi Todd --

First, it's an unusual event for someone to read this blog and respond to what it says, so whatever goes on from this point, I chalk it up to my utter delirium at your participating with us.

My first reaction is to the food (of course) -- and I'm really glad there are not actual potatoes in the potato ice cream, which is of course my point to start with. That is: some things are meant for the first course, some are meant for dessert, and if we mix them, we get something not suitable for either.

To the question of 1 John -- which is the perfect place to take this discussion -- let's think about John's whole point and not just one sentence (passage found here).

John's point here is more than just "God forgives sin." It is in fact that there are two sorts of people: those in darkness (who deny they are sinful) and those in light (who confess their sin). The latter, of course, are the ones forgiven -- and that's where this video stops, I think.

The problem, of course, is that is not where John stops -- because in his view, those who have confessed their sin and know Jesus know they are no longer stuck in sin ("in him the love of God is truly perfected").

This is of course why I have invented potato soup ice cream: because it seems to me that in your video, you have ordered dessert (the sweetness of forgiveness) for the first course, and it seems to me both John and Paul would say that the dessert is the dessert, not the soup (the hearty sustenance of justification leading to sanctification).

Here's how I would test it: does thinking only about the sweetness of forgiveness lead anyone to hate sin, or does it rather cause us to think sin is easily dealt with after it has been committed? Because in John's view in 1 John, he thinks that those who have no regard for the seriousness of sin are in the dark, not in the light.

Thanks for stopping by. Passing comments out of approval today may be delayed due to what they really pay me for, so please be patient.

LanternBright said...

Now, SWEET POTATO ICE CREAM, on the other hand...

DJP said...

I think, as usual, I understand both Todd's and Frank's points and, as usual, more agree with Frank.

Toward that end, I'd ask Todd: would you teach your kids the same way about rape, murder, buggery, theft, genocide, bestiality, arson, pederasty, preaching a false Gospel? You really shouldn't, but if you do, Jesus will forgive you?

The point — my point, at any rate — isn't that the latter statement is untrue; the point is that this frontloading of how-to-make-your-sin-all-better (A) downplays Christ's deliverance from the power (and not just guilt) of sin, and (B) downplays the urgency of battling, resisting, and fleeing from the sin in question.

Unintentionally? I'm sure of it.

Actually? I'm afraid so.

Frank Turk said...

There you go: the bare-knuckles truth.

I'll go eat my potato soup now ...

Solameanie said...

First, I have enjoyed the original post and the comment thread, as well as the exchange between Todd and Frank on this. Would that all theological discussions be carried on with such good nature.

Second, Frank - you may have found a good subject for a book tailored to a generation where antinomianism (or at least my definition of the term) is rearing its head again. Behavior DOES matter for a believer. Forgiveness and grace are not licenses to sin with abandon.

And as usual, I am amazed at Dan's uncanny ability to zero in on a point like a laser sight and nail it in a couple of sentences, where I might need three volumes. And to think I used to write broadcast journalism newscasts that had to fit in 90 seconds. I am growing verbose with age. As this comment illustrates.

Frank Turk said...

I'm brilliant in 3 pages. Sometimes I can string you along for 10. Going to 150+ pages? Out of my league.

Todd Friel said...

Oh great. Enter Dan Phillips. Suddenly I feel like George “Scrap Iron” Gadasky in a cage match with Hulk Hogan when Andre the Giant climbs in.
Nevertheless, I will flail on.

While my intuition tells me it is wiser to camp on I John 2:1, I am going to interact with Potato Soup Ice Cream as I fear we are talking past each other.

I wonder if we have the wrong assumption: we think that Potato Soup Ice Cream cannot be tasty.

There are many ingredients that go into preaching the whole counsel of God re. sanctification:

Ø The kindness of God
Ø Fear
Ø Reward
Ø Falling vs. diving and swimming in sin
Ø True and false conversion
Ø The Holy Spirit
Ø Grace
Ø The Gospel

My comments were not intended to infer that we teach our kids that forgiveness is available at the exclusion of any other consideration or doctrine.

My point was this: My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (I John 2:1).

Can I have a hearty “Amen” so we can sit down and have some ice cream together?

Todd

Frank Turk said...

My dear Wretched friend:

Dan and I have both asked the same question in different ways, and I think you are trying to escape the answer there, which answers your question here.

DJP asked:

[QUOTE]
Would you teach your kids the same way about rape, murder, buggery, theft, genocide, bestiality, arson, pederasty, preaching a false Gospel? You really shouldn't, but if you do, Jesus will forgive you?
[/QUOTE]

Does that seem like the right way to teach grace - by implying license?

See: the neo-antinomians these days will answer this question, "yes." That is: they say that the best way to teach the Gospel it to teach it in a way which is easily mistaken for the maxim "we shall sin so that grace may abound." Yet Paul doesn't even let that happen once ever. And here you fall into the same pit -- which is, you have tried to use grace in the wrong place.

You yourself do not evangelize this way, which ought to be the red flag to you in this manner of reasoning. You evangelize using the law to convict of sin, and then the Gospel to remedy a conscience burdened by moral guilt. You yourself see that the power of the law is to condemn that which is contemptible, but the power of the Gospel is to redeem that which ought to be redeemed.

"Aha!" you may try to say after this is pointed out to you. "But here I am talking about my child who is already saved, so evangelism is not the issue here: discipleship is. I'm teaching my Christian child not to fear sin more than she trusts God's grace."

Well, you says that, but the conviction of sin is not the only use of the Law, now is it? The law mirrors the state of our soul (which yields conviction), restrains the depravity of our actions, and instructs us on what is pleasing to God. In the same way you use the law to convict the lost person of sin, the law also instructs the regenerate person in what is holy -- and grace is not the only thing which is holy in God's eyes.

Last of all, as I have said here in the post, virginity is really not the objective here: purity is. So somehow we are building people in our children who are rightly inclined to refraining from sex prior to marriage, and then enjoying it only in the confines of marriage. Your approach here simply doesn't enlighten that path at all. It instead points at a path which seems to tread someplace which may or may not end up in the ditch of immorality -- hoping that God will fish you out when that happens. As DJP said, was that intentional? I am certain not. But is is actually true? yes.

You get the last word here as the guest, and I'm grateful for your toughness to come and participate with us.

Kevin B. said...

At the risk of drumming up feelings from when I was on the freshman soccer team practicing with the varsity team, I will also jump in here.

I was the one who posted the comment from "Unknown" above. For some reason, my login didn't take and it went through as Unknown before I could correct it, so my apologies.

In watching this discussion progress, I see valid points from everyone talking about it, and agree that we should not teach children to "sin so that grace may abound," but I don't think that an approach similar to Todd's is wholly incorrect. I think that his actual tactic may have been a bit truncated by the length of the video and I certainly don't believe it would be a quick statement to his children before they leave the house for the night - "Don't sin, but if you do, it's ok, you're forgiven!"

I understand the hesitancy to slide into the "easy believism" camp and have no effort or striving to be holy, to resist sin through the power of the Spirit. I get that and whole-heartedly agree.

But, I also think that, in much of the discussion, for someone with less familiarity with everyone involved, they may be disheartened and confused.

Frank, you say, "Does that seem like the right way to teach grace - by implying license?" I agree, implying license is not a way to teach grace. But, much of your commentary here points to the other end of the spectrum and can be read as, "If you are saved, you won't sin anymore." It seems to be like grace is there just as a backstop in case you throw a wild pitch. By focusing primarily on the ability of the believer to fight sin where before they had no ability, the message I'm seeing is that if you're saved, you will not sin on the front end, so we don't need to discuss grace on the back end.

A couple caveats there, though. I don't think that's what you're saying at all, but as I said earlier, much of the response when these types of discussions arise, in which someone struggles with sin, is to point to the fact that they may not be saved. Admittedly, I may be sensitive to this because this is one area in which I personally struggle. So, I may be reading into things that aren't there.

I do think that Christians hold virginity in such high esteem that it is almost another "level" of sin. So, if people (children or otherwise) find themselves failing in that area of their lives, they react more harshly or feel less like grace applies for them because the stigma that has been put on this sin. Yes, it is a sin. Yes, it is something that should be fought, avoided and repented of. But, I also believe that people, children and adults alike, need to know there is forgiveness for even those sins that seem to rise above the rest.

As I said, much of my challenge with this discussion is personal and from my own struggle to not assume that I must not be saved each time I find myself sinning. It's something I struggle with and know it colors my views on these types of issues. I just post this to hopefully illuminate the issue from a different viewpoint.

Thank you,
Kevin

Michael Coughlin said...

Pretty good comment, for a freshman, Kevin.

;-)

Thanks for clarifying.

Frank Turk said...

Hi Kevin --

You said:

[QUOTE]
much of your commentary here points to the other end of the spectrum and can be read as, "If you are saved, you won't sin anymore." It seems to be like grace is there just as a backstop in case you throw a wild pitch. By focusing primarily on the ability of the believer to fight sin where before they had no ability, the message I'm seeing is that if you're saved, you will not sin on the front end, so we don't need to discuss grace on the back end.
[/QUOTE]

Is I said anything like that, I am pretty sure you'd have a point. But I, in fact, said this:

[Quoth Me:]
The right solution here (and there are more, which I suggest are best discussed between a child and a parent rather than on a blog) is not to find the way to resolve the worst possible moral failure before it happens. It is to use the solution God gave us in order to see the problem for what it is and see his solution for what it is really doing for us in order to defeat the problem, not to merely hope that we don't have to trust Jesus to forgive us for that.
[/QUOTE]

Right there in the last paragraph. But I also did link to this post from 2012 which, I think, does double damage to the charge that I am some kind of perfectionist.

The way to mistake my approach with perfectionism is to dismiss it as perfectionism without dealing with the actual content of what I am suggesting. What I am not saying is that our children, if they are saved, will not sin. What I am saying is that our children, if they are saved, will not want to sin (insofar as we ourselves do not want to sin) and therefore will be open to the great advice we can give them to stay away from sinning. But here's the rub: if they are not saved, the advice that Jesus will forgive you if you fornicate is, in fact, license. It's not great advice to say, as Todd does in this video, that your faith in Jesus' forgiveness can make you a virgin again.

I agree that license is not good Christian moral reasoning, and perfectionism is lousy Christian theology.

Kevin B. said...

Frank:

As I now regret not staying on the sidelines, I will say this.

I do agree with you that, if we offer the solution of, "God will forgive you," to an unsaved child, not only are we wrong, but we do them a disservice.

I don't (and didn't) mean to imply you are calling for perfectionism. I am in full agreement that we are to train our children to know how to avoid sinning and that, if they are saved, they will not want to sin.

My challenge (and as I said, it is a personal one), is that, even not wanting to sin in my own life doesn't prevent it and, in many cases (not necessarily yours, but in many instances which have admittedly colored my view of these issues) it seems that a desire to not sin is of no value. It is a matter of not wanting to sin and then not sinning and, if you do sin, you should check yourself because there's a good chance you're not saved. Like I say, my issue and one that I think I brought to bear on your post, perhaps inappropriately.

I would say, though, how would you address, then the child that you tell about God's standard, that as a Christian they have the ability to not sin, but leave it at that? That there is no discussion that, they should strive not to sin, but if they do there is forgiveness? To that child, who, because of that, is less likely to seek the forgiveness they need or even admit their sin because they are more worried about the failure?

I am certain you will say that there is and will be discussion of grace and forgiveness at other times in the life the child and family, which will lead that child to seek the forgiveness. But, I think that's what Todd would say as well. I don't think his clip would be what he'd shout as the child walks out the door, but instead an environment in the day to day life of the child that would make that clear as they approach any variety of circumstances.

That said, I will resume my rightful position on the sideline.

Thanks,
Kevin

Todd Friel said...

The last word? Me?
Very gracious of you, Signor.

If you insist on holding your hypothetical question to my head, I would be forced to answer with so many caveats you would likely shoot me.

But nobody likes an obfuscator, wait, I take that back, someone elected Obama twice.

Nevertheless, I will answer your hypothetical with some hypotheticals of my own. In order.

Son, if you participate in pre-meditated rape, I would tell you that you are not a Christian.

But son, if you, in a foolish moment, go too far with your girlfriend and you get arrested on charges of rape, then know that you can be forgiven.

Son, if you live a wonton lifestyle of buggery, then you are of the devil (I John 3:8,9).

But Son, if you are camping and you do that disgusting thing in your pup tent, you need to know that Jesus died for homosexuals too.

Son, if you have a closet full of shop-lifted shirts, I would bring you to the elders for discipline.

But Son, if you have a moment of complete stupidity and swipe a vintage Van Halen shirt, don’t forget that Jesus died for shoplifters without taste.

OK, I think we don’t need to go thru arson, pederasty and preaching a false Gospel. You get my point.

So let’s tackle the sin in question: virginity.

Son/Daughter, if you are regularly sleeping with a boy, girl or goat, you are as lost as Marshall, Will and Holly.

But dear child, while virginity is the goal of every true believer, while virginity is a wonderful gift for your husband/wife, you need to hear the Words of John loudly and clearly: My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (I John 2:1).

Now, let’s go get a cold headache together.

Solameanie said...

Todd, I am near shock that someone here remembers George "Scrap Iron" Gadaski. If I see Kenny Jay referenced in another post, I will really keel over.

Kevin, I see Frank already answered, so my comment is probably superfluous. I couldn't see anywhere in his post an implication or perception that if you're saved, you won't sin anymore. Also, I think anyone hardened in, and enjoying, their sin wouldn't be "struggling." They simply wouldn't care. That is one reason I am forced to wonder about the regeneration of the antinomian or neo-antinomian. The Holy Spirit convicts His children of sin. A true believer is not going to be able to live comfortably in sin for long without conviction. Furthermore, if said "believer" is able to look at a clear passage of God's Word declaring something to be sin and declare, "No, it's not sin," how is that any different than Satan in the Garden saying "You shall not surely die?"

In the end, I think that's really at the root of neo-antinomianism today. A very, very low view of Scripture.

Frank Turk said...

Kevin --

I think one thing we have to avoid is falling into sophistry in this discussion of the way a parent must teach and train a child. If you need me to make all the qualifications necessary here to teach in this one post all the things a good parent does for his child in order to justify your original concerns, I'm going to pass. I did already say this:

[QUOTE]
First, we have the ability to see that Christ died to highlight the great value of the things which God has set forth as holy through the great price which Holiness demands. This should give us a measuring stick which upsets the apple cart of what seems good in our own eyes at least long enough to reset our thinking caps. Second, we have the ability to see that we are changed by the death of Christ from those who were no people at all to being God's holy people, born again with a new ability to want what God wants. That's New Covenant language, I'll grant you, but what it means is that we are no longer dragged around by the cares of this world, but willing to do what God wants us to do. It's funny that here when it matters most Todd misses this when in other places he has been so adamant that an unwillingness to do what God wants is a sign that one might actually not be saved at all. Third, the reason handing a child a condom and saying, "well, best of luck; don't use that unless you have to," seems to look a lot like Todd's version of how to handle this is because it really is a lot the same. That is, it is offering the wrong solution to the problem by looking only at the consequences and not at the causes.
[/QUOTE]

And in that, I think my objection gives fair credit and exercises good will toward Todd in spite of pointing out a flaw in this 2 minutes of video -- and it also points to a better way of approaching moral issues rather than trying to make a child into one thing which, once they are married, is insufficient for that task.

The way we teach children about sin is to teach them that sin is bad enough to want to avoid it -- not just to avoid the consequences, but to make war against the root cause of sin which is me, myself, and I. When you teach this to a lost child, that child will be convicted of his or her own sinful heart rather than develop a sense of how to seek a mulligan when one has done the wrong thing. That conviction leads to a discussion of what Jesus has really done -- which is not to remove the temporal consequences of sinful behavior, but to make for us a new life in which we are remade in His image where we die to sin and self and live for Him.

For the saved child, this approach causes the child to, again, not look out for what Jesus can do for me now that I have put my foot in it, but rather to ask the question, "am I following Jesus if I go there?" It's really not possible to explain what sort of conversations happen when your children realize on their own that there are paths they can see which are not following Jesus, and rather than asking "what happens when I end up at X?" they are asking, "Dad, how did you not wind up at X? Can you help me learn how to do the same?"

Also important to note: I understand that at the end of this video, Todd's not really promising anyone a second virginity -- he's saying that in Christ, even a prostitute or a lecher has hope, and it's the same hope the innocent child has. But to seek virginity as the ultimate in sexual purity, and then promise it will be restored even in some spiritual sense in Christ if you lose it just doesn't seem to me to develop any kind of Biblical reasoning in ethics. It seems instead to develop a sense that Jesus is the cure for the hangover rather than the cure for the sin which caused you to be drunk.

Frank Turk said...

As I consider all this, this also occurs to me. Imagine I teach my child this way:

[QUOTE]
You have to try to not be angry, but if you do get angry, you can go to the cross and seek forgiveness. Think about this, son: of course I don’t want you to run out into the snow and get frostbite, but if you do, I want you to go ahead and dial 9-1-1 for help. Because that’s the Gospel – angry people get forgiveness from Jesus. Jesus makes angry people happy in God’s eyes.
[/QUOTE]

Then as my son is set loose in the world, he tries r'ill hard not to be angry at the kid across the street, but pushes him down to shut him up anyway. As soon as he does it, he realizes he did the wrong thing, he comes home to me and asks me for forgiveness.

My response, however, is this:

[QUOTE]
Son, you did the wrong thing. That means there are consequences, which include apologizing to the kid across the street and also his Dad since you have injured not only that child but the dignity of his family. I'll walk you over there, but you have to do it.
[/QUOTE]

What stops my son, do you imagine, from throwing a red flag on that play and telling me, "Hey Dad: that's not very Christ-like. making me pay my own consequences? How is that being 9-1-1 when I am frostbitten? I refuse to do what you;re saying because you're a hypocrite, Dad, and you need to repent."

I look forward to hearing the responses.

Frank Turk said...

I'm leaving the comments open until tomorrow morning.

Good luck everybody.

semijohn said...

@Todd: I John 2:1 came to my mind in watching the video and reading Frank's post. Of course, I didn't remember the specific chapter and verse until you mentioned it. (@Frank: Mark Jones would have something to say to me about that, lol)

@Frank: I think I agree that it shouldn't be framed at "Don't sin this way, but if you sin it's OK" when teaching your children before the sin has occurred. At the same time, in the analogy of your kid pushing down the other kid, at what point in the process would you bring up the truth of I John 2:1? I'm thinking that the narrative about Nathan confronting David about Bathsheba and Uriah has some bearing on that, certainly how Nathan mentioned some of the terrible consequences, and after David's initial response of "I have sinned against the Lord, the first thing Nathan said is "The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die", and then Nathan talked about the child being struck down. He felt compelled to reassure him in the midst of telling him about the consequences (albeit after the sins and David's contrite response, not before).