The article appears at a time when several popular speakers and writers launched similar attacks on the "asking Jesus" or "praying the prayer" events that are found common in millions of Christians salvation experience over the years. These attacks are rooted in the Calvinist approach to Theology and are Reformed in their nature. They stem from a Protestant background with a disdain for the revival movements of years gone by. They make huge generic assumptions which seemingly reinforce their idea of how salvation works and the method of.
Young couples void of much background are quick to grasp at this different approach for several reasons. They have heard of abuse in the past when people were coerced into emotional responses to a sermon or event that said "if you want to go to heaven, do xyz". I understand that past and have fought to change the damage that a few have done. I also know first hand that this damage is NOT widespread. Evangelists have been men of honor and servants of the Lord for years. Though you can always find a bad one, the good ones far out number the bad! I personally detest the lumping of all evangelists into a bad category and find the generalizations that do appalling and arrogant; and lacking in Biblical conduct.
Parents who God has blessed with children have a huge spiritual responsibility. This begins with the sharing of God's plan for the world and the gift of Jesus. Teaching the Biblical truths of sin and the effects of. Clearly acknowledging that Hell is a real place and the place where sinners who have NOT experienced God's Salvation in Jesus spend eternity must be taught and reinforced. In this, parents beg for God to save their children. We pray and talk. We place them in vibrant ministry environments so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is heard over and over again. We desire with all our being for our children to experience salvation in Jesus Christ. And this we should do!
Enter time warp to NOW. Suddenly people in popular positions and influence are teaching that which is different than what we have been taught or are currently hearing. We read articles such as this that without a deep background in the Word of God would make us cringe and fearful. No where in the article is the "how to" told. No where is hope given that Salvation will come. I find this frightening. With all the complaints of the past ideas and approaches, with all the glory of the so called re-captured Gospel, there is NO plan. Tell the history. Just tell the history.
The reason for this is that the author, and those who think like him, actually believe that you are either born being saved or you are born with NO hope of ever being saved. No decision is required. It is a settled thing with God and Jesus only died for the elect. So you are either elect at birth or lost, damned to Hell for eternity.
Parents beware! The Bible does NOT teach this.
Jesus repeatedly offers salvation to all who will receive. John 3:16 is right the way you have heard it; "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that who so ever believes on Him shall NOT perish, but have everlasting life!" The Bible goes on to say in Philippians 2:12; that we should "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling".
Salvation is too serious an issue to be tossed around with ideas that lead people down paths of NOT calling others to repentance; especially their own children. I know without a doubt that God knows who will be saved and who will not. He desires all. Yet He knows some will NOT respond to His Holy Spirit and accept His gift. But it is offered to ALL!
Our church has overhauled our ministry to children for this very reason. We do not coerce children into emotional decisions. We do however teach what the Bible says about sin, Hell, and Heaven. We teach that without repentance, their is NO remission of sin. That only Jesus can save you. We teach that when the Holy Spirit convicts, one needs to respond. We teach the Gospel from the Gospel perspective and NOT from a Reformed Protestant view. We give children and all people Jesus and call them to respond as God leads. We have two and often three staff members deal with children to make sure to the best of our human ability that the child is responding to the call of God and NOT making a decision out of fear of Hell or "wanting" to go to Heaven.
I cannot imagine the idea of a parent doing anything but the above. Nor can I grasp a church that would NOT do the same. I respectfully and emphatically deny that the article critiqued has any validity and I firmly believe it leads parents down a dangerous path, thus their children.
Parents beware! Your children's eternal destination is at stake. Don't put another stumbling block in front them.