Transcript of Voddie Baucham’s “Child Training” Sermon at Hardin Baptist Church
HA note: The following is a transcript of Voddie Baucham’s sermon “Child Training.” Baucham delivered this sermon on the subjects of patriarchal marriage, Quiverfull fecundity, and corporal punishment on November 4, 2007 to Hardin Baptist Church in Hardin, Kentucky. This sermon has received substantial media attention due to Baucham’s call to spank a child “5 times before breakfast” and labeling shyness in children as “sin.” Baucham is the Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church, which is the host of Baucham’s Voddie Baucham Ministries and a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. This transcript was created by HA Community Coordinator R.L. Stollar.
Click here to read other transcripts by and posts about Voddie Baucham.
Content warning for transcript: advocacy of intense corporal punishment and descriptions of corporal punishment sessions.
(Transcript starting at 1:40 time stamp)
There are two sides of my life that are incredibly important. One is the area you’ve heard much about — the area I call the professional side of my life where I have the privilege of serving as a professor and as a pastor and preaching different places around the country. And then there’s the other side of my life where I am the husband to Bridgette and the father to Jasmine and Trey and Elijah and Asher and all of those arrows yet to come. And it is that side of my life, really, where the rubber meets the road. It is that side of my life that lends validity to everything else in my life. The fact of the matter is, if I am a failure as Bridgette’s husband and as Jasmine and Trey and Elijah and Asher and whoever else comes’s father, then whatever I say as a pastor, professor, or whatever else, is illegitimate as far as I’m concerned. Because that is where I am who I am. That is where I demonstrate the veracity of what I say in every other realm of my life.
There’s a place where those two things come together. A place where my emphasis on cultural apologetics and this emphasis in family come together. Apologetics quite simply is a defense of the faith, a response — a reasoned response — to those who question the faith, either passively or aggressively question the faith. Cultural apologetics is an idea that really was made popular by Francis Schaeffer. And it’s the idea of applying these principles and the discipline of apologetics to cultural issues and cultural trends. And I do that specifically in the area of biblical manhood and womanhood, marriage, and family. Because I find that so many Christians are unaware of the influence that the culture has had on us in these areas.
We have been lied to in the areas of biblical manhood, womanhood, marriage, family. We have been deceived. We have bought into the deception, specifically in 3 areas that I’ll mention — and one I’ll spend a little more time on.
Area Number 1 is the area of marriage. We have been deceived in the area of marriage. We have bought a cultural lie as it relates to marriage. We do not value marriage properly. We do not value marriage biblically. We do not hold marriage in its proper esteem. We don’t. We think marriage is something to be avoided as long as possible. That’s what we teach our children.
If you don’t believe me, just talk to anyone that was in my circumstance: My wife and I got married the summer between my sophomore and junior years in college. And church folks gave us fits for doing that. It was as though we were in sin. Had we been living together, we would not have received as much ridicule from church folks as we did by getting married before we graduated from college. Because evidently somewhere over in Second Hesitations it says, “Thou shalt no marry until after college graduation.” You know? And I mean, we believe that. We do. We believe that a college education is more important than marriage.
That’s a lie from the pit of hell. A college education is nowhere near as important as a marriage. Nowhere near as important. But we don’t believe that. We really don’t. I’ve had people come up to me — I’ve had a woman come up to me not long ago, weeping, wailing, over her son. Just, I mean, you know, the chest-heaving cry? You know? Was one of those. Could barely stop it. [engages in mock crying from woman] And I’m bracing myself. I’m like, “Man, whatever she says, I gotta be pastoral. I can’t be shocked.” ‘Cuz the last thing somebody wants when they tell the pastor something is for the pastor to go, “I don’t know if God can handle that one!” So, you know, I’m just, I just really… [engages in mock crying from woman] “It’s my son.” I go, “Wow, it’s her son. She’s weeping for him.” I put my hand on her shoulder and she’s just, [engages in mock crying] “He’s… he’s… he’s…” “It’s ok…” “He’s… he’s… he’s getting married…” “Come on, you can tell me…” “He’s… he’s getting married…” “Ok…” Something horrible is happening, like her life is over. Her son’s getting married.
And it just dawned on me. I just stopped and said, “It’s… to a woman?” Nowadays, you know, that would have explained the hysteria — if it wasn’t. And she stopped crying: “Yes it’s to a woman.” Like she could tell by my posture that I was no longer feeling very, you know, empathetic here. And that was her deal: “My son’s getting married and he’s not through with college.” Needless to say, by the time we finished our conversation she found I had gotten married earlier than her son was about to get married and I was absolutely in favor of it. Absolutely in favor of it.
“But why didn’t you wait?” “Well, a couple of reasons. Number one, I didn’t want to communicate to my future bride that anything was more important to me than her. I didn’t want to start my marriage off by saying to her that school was more important to me than she was. Secondly, the wisest man in the Bible, the most godly man in the Bible, and the strongest man in the Bible all fell into sexual sin. I was not wiser than Solomon, I was not stronger than Samson, I am not more godly than David, so I got married. Amen, somebody?”
All of a sudden her eyes got huge. “Your son want wants this woman. And you’re asking him to stay in contact with her, committed to some day consummating a relationship with her and to fight it for two years? You don’t need to ask somebody. Go let that boy get married!” But again, we’ve bought the cultural lie: Wait. Live your life.
Let me just put it in plain English. What we’re saying to our young men today, when it comes to marriage, here’s what we’re saying to our young men: Young men, this is the attitude you ought to have toward a woman someday. You walk up to her, you look her in the eye, and say, “I have sucked all of the joy out of life, now I’m ready to give you the leftovers.” That’s what we’re communicating.
You don’t believe me? Talk to somebody who has a child. 10, 11, 12, 13 years old. And ask them about their future goals for that child’s college. They’ll tell you have much money they’re saving, they’ll tell you how much it’ll cost by then, they’ll tell you why they moved to where they lived because of the schools in that neighborhood, they’ll tell you the classes they have their children taking. And all of the things they have them doing so that they’ll get the right SAT scores to get into the right college. 10, 11, 12, 13 years old — they’re already doing things to prepare their children for a college education.
Then ask the same parent: “What are you doing to get them ready to be a husband or a wife?” They’ll look at you like a calf staring at a new gate. They’re doing nothing to prepare their children for marriage. Why? Because we do not value marriage. We don’t. We don’t.
You who have sons and daughters, let me ask you something: What do you think will shape their future more? The degree they get from some university or the person with whom they enter into covenantal marriage and start a family? Think about it. We’ve bought a lie, people. We’ve bought a lie.
It is far more important for me to prepare my children to be husbands and wives and mothers and fathers than it is for me to prepare them for an entrance exam.
We’ve bought a lie.
Secondly, we’ve bought a lie in the area of child bearing. Our attitude towards children is “a boy for me and a girl for you and praise the Lord we’re finally through.” That’s our attitude. There is an unwritten rule in the church — it’s not written anywhere but almost everybody in the church knows what this rule is — and that rule you is, You get two. And there’s one exception, one exception where you can get a third. That is if you got the same sex the first two times, you get to try for the opposite sex on Number 3. That’s the only way we will allow you to have more than 2 kids and not ridicule you. In the church. Because we do not believe Psalm 127. We do not believe Psalm 128. We believe that children are a burden and a blight and not a blessing. We are the richest culture in the history of the world and one of the only ones that talks about how many kids we can afford. It’s sick. It’s godless.
We have bought a lie when it comes to children. An absolute lie. We mutilate our bodies so that God won’t bless us with more kids. Some of you, if your child came home with a tattoo — a tattoo — on their skin — you’d have a conniption fit. You’d go pass out somewhere. But if they have 2 children and get a vasectomy, or a tubal ligation, go under the knife, disfigure themselves, we celebrate that. Tattoo? Don’t do that! Mutilate your body so that God can’t bless you with any more kids? Amen!
Are you hearing me, people? This is where we are now. We’ve bought a lie when it comes to marriage. We’ve bought a lie when it comes to child bearing. By the way, those of us who don’t mutilate ourselves will put things into our bodies that actually cause abortions. You ask your doctor about what birth control pills do. Do they always prevent pregnancy? No, they don’t always prevent pregnancy. Sometimes they just end them early enough for you not to know that you just had an abortion. Ask them about IUDs. Talk to them about these things. It’s amazing: some of the most pro-life people in the world, some of the most pro-life men and women in the whole world are putting things into their bodies that are actually causing the abortions that they say they’re against. Marinate on that one for a minute.
We’ve also bought a lie when it comes to child training. And that’s where we’re going to spend our time. Open your Bibles with to me Ephesians, Chapter 6. Ephesians, Chapter 6. We’ve bought a lie when it comes to the way that we raise our children. And we don’t get it. We don’t understand it. We don’t know how to do it. We’re not taught this. We don’t see this. It’s not modeled for us. And because of that, we got parents who just really don’t like their kids. But we explain it away. You know? We explain away the reason we don’t like our kids. We got teenagers who are 13, 14, 15 years old, they’re look at us eye to eye, they’re going word for word, they’re working their necks, clucking their tongues, smacking their lips, slamming doors, and we can’t stand them. We love it when it’s youth group time ‘cuz we get to pass them off on somebody else. We love it when school starts back. We have parties. Parents have parties when school starts back ‘cuz they can’t stand having their kids around them. Because they’re brutish beasts. But that’s ok because it’s just the “phase of life” — “Hey, those are the teen years.” No, that’s sin. And it don’t matter what name you put on that, it’s sin.
And here’s what’s worse: That sin is basically what we’ve produced. Because when it was small, we laughed about it. It was cute. “Oh aren’t they cute at that age?” No, that’s a viper in a diaper and you better get it under control. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. But if we ignore it at that age, it grows up. And then we’re mad at them for being what we’ve taught them to be. Amen, right? And we can’t stand them. We just can’t stand them.
But we want them to grow up and walk with God. What are we supposed to do? And I’m saying this to you today, if you’re here today — let me tell you why I think this message is important. For at least a couple of reasons. Number One, first let me speak to those of you who have earned some gray hair. ‘Cuz you may be sitting here thinking, “That’s great, you talk about training children, well I’ve already raised my children.” That’s great. Then take your Titus 2 responsibilities and don’t coast on the second half of your life. But grab some young person by the hand and show them how to do what you did or what you should’ve done in raising your children. This is for you. This is for you.
And if you’re a young person here today, and you’ve got kids, and you’re already pulling your hair out, — and a lot of people, the reason they mutilate their bodies so that God doesn’t bless them anymore is ‘cuz these blessings are wearing them out. Ok? That’s why they do it. And for those of you who are in that situation, listen: I recognize that you’re like me. We got married somewhere between sophomore and junior year, I just turned 20 years old, we had our first child 10 months later. We were efficient. And we didn’t know “come here” from “sic ‘em” as it related to being parents. Ok? We just were clueless. And that’s where some of you are. You just don’t know. Nobody’s ever told you. You don’t even know if the Bible addresses these issues. Well, it does and this morning we shall.
Ephesians, Chapter 6, Verses 1-4, I want to take you through 3 things. I want you to see 3 things. 3 phases in the training of our children.
Phase Number One is the discipline and correction phase. The discipline and correction phase. These are the first few years of life. Incredibly important. It’s where we lay the foundation for everything else. The discipline and training phase. In this phase we’re saying to our children, “Give me your attention. Give me your attention. You need to pay more attention to me than I do to you. Give me your attention. The world doesn’t revolve around you. Your world revolves around me.” That’s what we need to teach our children in those first few years of their life. Because they come here and just by nature of things they believe that the world revolves around them. And for the first few weeks, you know, that’s okay.
But eventually we have to teach them that that’s over. “The world no longer revolves around YOU. Your world, toddler, revolves around me, around me.”
So Phase Number One, the discipline and training phase: give me your attention.
Phase Two, the catechism phase. So we’re teaching what to believe and why to believe. And Phase Two, we tell them, “Give me your mind. Give me your mind.” That happens as soon as they become verbal — we start working on that.
Phase Three, the discipleship phase, when they enter into biblical adulthood. Biblical adulthood is considered from age 12 or 13 to age 30. You ever notice we only see Jesus at two ages in the Scripture? At 12 and at 30. Why? Because according to the biblical model, childhood is from birth to 12. At 12 there is a ceremony. Some people still do it. It’s called a bar mitzvah. And at 12, that ceremony means you’ve gone into Phase Two [sic], which is adulthood — 12-30. At 30 you’ve entered into senior adulthood. By the way, at 30 is when you can become a rabbi. That’s why we see him at those two ages. Because they’re the two breaking points in the life cycle and development cycle. And so at that second [sic] phase, it’s that discipleship phase and that phase is, “Give me your hand. Give me your hand.”
Phase One, give me your attention. The discipline and training phase.
Phase Two, give me your mind. Let me teach you what to believe and why to believe it.
Phase Three, give me your hand. I’m gonna show you how to live out what I’ve taught you to believe.
K? These are the three phases. Let’s look at them in turn from Ephesians, Chapter 6, Verses 1-4:
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
Stop there. So first of all, if I tell my child to do something and my child doesn’t do it, not only has my child just disobeyed me, my child has directly violated Scripture. Ok? So I tell my child to do something? My child doesn’t do what I tell my child to do? My child has disobeyed me? They’ve sinned. They’ve violated the clear teaching of Scripture if they don’t do what I’ve told them to do.
By the way, if I tell them to do something and they don’t do it when I tell them to do it? That’s delayed disobedience and the technical Greek word for delayed disobedience is disobedience. Ok? So if they don’t do what I tell them when I tell them, my child has been disobedient. And according to Scripture, I cannot tolerate that. If I tolerate that, I’m tolerating sin. If I tolerate sin, I’m teaching my child that sin is ok. Alright?
“Honor your father and your mother. This is the first commandment with a promise — ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.’”
So he goes back here to the 5th Commandment. So he must honor his mother and father. So now here’s what we add: In Phase Number One, my goal is to teach my child in those first few years of life to do what they’re told when they’re told and with a respectful attitude. If they do what I tell them when I tell them but they roll their eyes and smack their lips and cluck their tongues and slam the doors, they’ve still sinned and I can’t tolerate that. So I cannot have the attitude that says, “Well, at least they did it.” No. No, that’s sin. It’s a violation of the 5th Commandment.
It’s the first commandment that has a promise attached to it. And that promise is about longevity. We must not tolerate disobedience and disrespect from our children. We must not. We must correct them when they do this because they are in direct violation of the law of God.
“Well then, what are we supposed to do?” I’m so glad you asked! You know, we love Proverbs 22:6. “Train up a child in the ways he should go and when he’s old he will not depart from it.” K? Now that doesn’t mean what a lot of people think it means, but that’s ok — that’s for another time. If I don’t make y’all too mad today, you ask me back, I’ll tell you what that means, alright? Now, you read nine verses later and you find the key verse, verse 15:
“Folly, or rebellion, is bound up in the heart of a child and time-out will drive it far from them.”
— that ain’t in the book, folks.
“Folly is bound up in the heart of a child and the rod of correction will drive it far from them.”
In other words, God says your children desperately, desperately need to be spanked.
Amen, hallelujah, praise the Lord! — and spank your kids, okay?
They desperately need to be spanked. And they need to be spanked often. They do. I meet people all the time, you know, and they say, “Oh yeah, I can think of maybe 4 or 5 times I’ve ever had to spank Junior.” Really? That’s unfortunate, because unless you raised Jesus the Second, there were days when Junior needed to be spanked 5 times before breakfast. If you only spanked your child 5 times, then that means almost every time they disobeyed you, you let it go. And almost every time they dishonored you, you let it go.
When they were 2 and you said, “Come here,” and they said “No,” — you should have worn them out.
But you didn’t. And so you think because they didn’t escalate to a certain point, that that means you didn’t need to spank them. No, they disobeyed. We can’t tolerate disobedience. They dishonored you. Can’t tolerate the dishonor. We can’t. We can’t.
So in those first few years of life, you might get tired somedays. Physically, emotionally. You might feel like picking up the phone going, “I think I’m gonna kill him.” That’s ok. ‘Cuz you know what Proverbs says about that? It says don’t spare the rod! ‘Cuz “though you beat him with the rod, he will not die but you may save his very soul from destruction.”
Couple of problems we have with that. Number One, we listen a lot more to Dr. Phil and Dr. Spock than we do to Dr. Jesus. That’s Problem Number One. Problem Number Two: we all hear horrible things about abuse and all these sorts of things. You know what, people who are abusive to their children— again, first of all, it’s sin — but secondly, a lot of times those are people who don’t spank their children enough.
“What do you mean?” Here’s what I mean: Junior does 15 things by lunch time for which he should have been spanked. And you push it down and you push it down and you push it down and finally, when you can take no more, you unleash your wrath and your anger and then you’re in sin. Then you feel guilty about it. So guess what happens next time? You don’t address it again. And again and again and again. Until you fill up again. And there is this cycle that goes on and on and on. Whereas, had you been dealing with it consistently, you could have kept the emotions under control.
And again, I’m not just talking about flying off the handle. Absolutely not. It should be remorse full time. It is. One of our children is right at the tail end of this phase. One of our children is a 3-year-old. And we’re right at the tail end of this phase. He gets spanked regularly. And so we bring Elijah in, you know, and I talk to Elijah about what just happened, explain to him where Scripturally it was a violation, and why it’s sin and how sin grieves the heart of God, and why Jesus had to die for sin, and why — as his father — I have been commanded to spank him for what he just did. Because God desires that he not be that kind of boy.
“Do you understand that?”
And then one of the Scriptures that he’s memorized directly related to whatever it was, sometimes it’s this one — “Ephesians 6:1 says what, Elijah?”
“Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
“And that’s exactly what you violated, is it not?”
“So Daddy must spank you.”
So I spank Elijah. Firmly. And he weeps. And that’s all he gets to do. If he goes beyond that — if he screams and yells and throws a fit — then I spank him because that is rebellion. And if I don’t, then I teach him that he can embarrass me and make me not spank him. Hello, somebody?
A lot of your toddlers throw fits because you’ve taught them that that’s the way they can control you. When instead you just need to have an all-day session where you just wear them out and they finally decide, “You know what? Things get worse when I do that. Maybe I should stop.”
We finish. And we hug. And we kiss. And we pray. And then we rejoice when we go out. I’m not sending him to his room where he can sulk in his sin and build up anger and animosity towards me. No, I’m bringing justice. I’m bringing it swiftly. I’m bringing it Scripturally. And then it is over. I am not “mad” at him. I am not withholding affection from him. I am not building barriers and walls in my relationship with him. No, we deal with it. We deal with it swiftly. We get it over with. Then we go out rejoicing together! And his conscience is delivered!
You see this, folks? By the way, that takes time, effort, and energy. But when you got an obedient 3-year-old, it’s so worth it. Because not doing it takes more time, more effort, and more energy.
By the way, there almost must be training. Discipline and training. That’s the other side of it. Imagine a coach who walks out, day one — he’s a soccer coach. And he throws the ball out there and he’s got these kids and he says, “Ok, I want you to run this play!” And they go, “What?” “Just run it!” And they go out and they do all this sort of stuff and then he gets on, “You didn’t do it right!” But he never told them what it was! He never drew it up on the board! He never said, “You go here, you go here, you do that.” He never trained them or taught them what they’re supposed to do.
That’s what many of us do with our kids. We never have a session where we train them to do what we expect them to do. Let me give you an example — the prime example. The so-called shy kid, who doesn’t shake hands at church, okay? Usually what happens is you come up, you know — and here I am, I’m the guest, and I walk up and I’m saying hi to somebody and they say to their kid “Hey, you know, say good morning to Dr. Baucham!” And the kid hides and runs behind the leg — and here’s what’s supposed to happen. This is what we have agreed upon silently in our culture. What’s supposed to happen is: I’m supposed to look at their child and say, “Hey, that’s okay.”
But I can’t do that. Because if I do that, then what has happened is, Number One, the child has just sinned by not doing what they were told to do. It’s direct disobedience. Secondly, the parent is in sin for not correcting it. And thirdly, I am in sin because I just told a child that it’s okay for them to disobey and dishonor their parent in direct violation of Scripture.
I can’t do that. I won’t do that.
I’m gonna stand there until you make them do what you said.
“Well what am I supposed to do?” Train them. So on Saturday night, before you come to church — “Hey, listen, we’re going to practice! We’re gonna meet a whole lot of people tomorrow. We’re gonna practice. So the first time, I’m gonna be you, alright? And you’ll be the stranger. And I’m gonna show you what to do. The stranger’s gonna come up and say, ‘Hi Johnny,’ and then you’re gonna say, you’re gonna look them in the eye, shake their hand firmly, and say, ‘Good morning! How are you?’” And you do that four or five times. And then you say, “Now you get to be yourself. And I’ll be the stranger.” And you practice that five, six, seven, eight, nine times. Have a ball! When they do it correctly, rejoice. Act like they just won the Super Bowl. High five, hug, kiss, roll around on the floor, everything! Have a blast with it!
The next day, they’ll surprise you. They’ll be nudging you when they see people and they’ll go, “Can we do it now?” And you walk over and they’ll do it and it’ll be awkward — “ok, shake the hand, look at the eye…” — you know? But they’ll do it. And when they do it, you just look at them and you say, “I’m so proud of you. You just hug them and kiss them all over the face and everything. You high five them and they’ll go, “Let’s do it again!”
If they don’t, you take them to a private place and wear them out.
Because they have just been directly defiant after you trained them and told them what to do. I have a pastor friend of mine. One of his daughters was just really defiant in this one particular area. And they had one instance where they had drawn the line and they were like, “This has to end today.” And they told her, did the training, everything else. And so they were leaving and there was a deacon — there was a deacon family — and they walk out, you know, supposed to greet, say bye to the deacon, shake the deacon’s hand. She won’t do it. Pastor goes back in the office, goes through that whole process — spank the child, comes back out, child won’t do it again. Goes back again, asks the deacon, “Will you please wait here?”
That deacon was like, “Little girl, please…”
They never dealt with it again. Never dealt with it again.
Are you gonna reign in your home or is sin gonna reign in your home? Which one?
Next part of the text says,
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger or to wrath.”
How do you do that? Here’s some ways you do that, let me just explain this. Some ways I’ve done that. Some ways I’ve actually helped my children, coached my children, to be more sinful. Right? One of them was by yelling. By yelling, k? And I’d yell — [unintelligible example of yelling] — I was yelling. Now, how is that coaching my children in sin? Basically what I was teaching my children was not “you must do what I say when I say it,” [rather] “you must do what I say somewhere between the first time I say it and the time I begin to yell.” That’s what I was teaching them.
I was also undermining my wife’s authority in the home. How so? I’m big and scary, got a deep, scary voice. If I teach my children to obey my big, deep, scary voice and my huge sighs, my wife doesn’t have any of that so they’re not gonna respect her the way they respect me. Men, are you smelling what I’m stepping in? All the yellers in the house, please hear me today: You’re undermining your wife’s authority in the home.
You’re also being a poor example to your children. And you’re also teaching them delayed obedience. “You don’t have to do it the first time I say it or if I say it with a whisper. You only have to do it when I become frustrated enough to yell.” You’re teaching your child delayed obedience. You also teach them delayed obedience by telling them things three, four, five times. Then you’ve just taught them, “You don’t have to do it the first time. You have to do it somewhere between the first time and the time that I use all three of your names and the veins pop out of my neck.”
Tell them once. If you think they might not have heard what you said when you told them the first time, you clarify. You don’t tell them over and over and over again. That is coaching them in disobedience. You’re teaching them delayed obedience.
Another way we teach them delayed obedience? The famous count. “Boy — 1, 2, …” You just taught sin. “You don’t have to do what I say when I say it. You have to do it somewhere between when I say it and when I count to 3.” By the way, I’m telling myself now. These are things I had to learn. Ok?
Also, inconsistency. Inconsistency. Couple of ways we’re inconsistent: One, mom and dad have a different philosophy on this. And instead of going — we call it the war room. K? We go into the war room and we deal with these things. Not that there’s a war between myself and my wife. But basically that’s where we strategize for this war against the sin that wants our children. And we go into the war room and we say, “Listen, here is going to be the standard.” ‘Cuz we can’t have two standards. That’s provoking our children to anger. That’s not consistent. Can’t have one standard for mom and one standard to dad. You get on the same page.
And Dad, it’s your responsibility to lead here. It’s your responsibility to set the tone here. Wife, when your husband sets the tone and the standard, you live by that standard — whether he’s there or he’s not. If you don’t, you are undermining the authority of your husband. You are not being submissive. And if you are not submissive to your husband, don’t you dare get mad at your children for not being submissive to you. Amen?
It amazes me, how many times I sit down and talk to women and they are having these huge problems with their children — first question I’m gonna ask a woman is, “Describe for me your level of submission to your husband.” “Huh?” “Yeah. You want order in your home, right? And you want your children to be submissive and obedient to that order in your home, right? Are you modeling it for them in your submission to your husband? Or are you modeling for them that that order is meaningless?” That’s where we gotta start. Because if the sergeant is disrespectful to the lieutenant, don’t expect the private to be respectful to the sergeant.
If you can’t say amen, you gotta say ouch.
I hope we’re beginning to see here some of the problems that we’ve created for ourselves. I hope that’s what we’re beginning to see here. Ideas have consequences. When we buy into these ideas, and allow them to take root in our homes, they have consequences. And sometimes they have consequences for generations to come.
Second Phase. We don’t have much time for these phases but I want to get to these two phases. The catechism phase. And I call it the catechism phase because catechism is the tool that we use. Catechism is learning doctrine and theology through a series of questions and answers. When our kids are little, for example, we use the Children’s Catechism. Some of you may be familiar with the Children’s Catechism. Most people are familiar with the Westminster Catechism. You know, Westminster — “What is the chief end of man? The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” K? That’s the Westminster Catechism, Question Number One.
Well, the Children’s Catechism, you know — “Who made you? God made me. What else did God make? God made all things. Why did God make you and all things? For his own glory. How can you glorify Go— I mean, why ought you glorify God? Because he made me and he takes care of me. How can you glorify God? By loving him and doing what he commands. Who is God? God is a spirit. He does not have a body like man. Where is God? God is everywhere. Can you see God? No, I cannot see God but he always sees me. How many gods are there? There is only one. In how many persons? There’s just one God exists, in three persons. Who are these three persons? The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.”
Now I’m only gonna go that far ‘cuz that’s where our 2-year-olds get. They’re learning doctrine and theology through a series of questions and answers. They’re learning what to believe and why to believe it. We also read Scripture. We have them memorize Scripture, the great songs of the faith, ok? We’re pouring it in there. We’re getting it in there.
Now, one of the objections I sometimes hear from people is this: “Well, you know, I just don’t, I understand what you’re saying but I want my children to love God and have a relationship with him and not just rote memorization.” Really? Then how come you teach them, “A, B, C, D, E, F, G,” but you want them to love reading? And not just “rote memorization”? How come you teach them 2×2=4, 3×2=6, 4×2=8? Why you teach them the times table? That’s, that’s rote memorization. How come rote memorization is ok everywhere except in theology? Help me understand that, somebody. Why is it that in every other area we understand that children must start with rote memorization but when it comes here, it’s, “I just don’t want them to have rote memorization.” Well, you better pour everything you can in there. “Well, I just, you know, I don’t want to force, I don’t want to force religion on them. I want them to grow up later and be able to make that choice on their own.” Really? What if I said that about education? “I don’t want to force education on my children. I want them to grow up later and make a decision on their own whether or not they want to be educated.” How ridiculous does that sound? That’s how ridiculous it ought to sound when we talk about the same thing from the standpoint of doctrine and theology. Get it in there! Amen?
And when you think you’ve got enough in there, just stuff a little bit more. K? Get it in there. And as much as you can, get it in there. Do it regularly. Deuteronomy, Chapter 6: “These words I am commanding you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons when you rise up, when you lie down, when you walk along the way.” Get it in there. Teach them God’s truth. Teach them God’s word. And then teach them and teach them and teach them some more. From the time they become verbal, get it in there.
Give me your mind. Teach them what to believe and why to believe it.
You know, often I have people that come to me and they go, “You know, my kids are, they’re 14 and they’re 15 and do you think that, you know, they can handle, you know, some doctrine and some theology by now?” When they’re 14 or 15 they have a theology already. You might be too late. All things are possible with God. But by the time they’re 14, 13, they already have a theology. They don’t necessarily know that, but they do. By the way, this is why some of you have had conversations with your 13 or 14-year-old and they’ve said things that are in complete contradiction with what you believe about a particular issue and you’re going, “Where in the world did that come from?” You didn’t teach them theology so somebody else filled the void. MTV taught them theology or somebody taught them — the movies that they watch, the music that they listen to. They’re being taught theology constantly. Constantly. Get it into them early.
This final phase is the discipleship phase. Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. These two words, again — teach them to believe like Christians, teach them to behave like Christians. And again, by doing this, we don’t guarantee that they’re saved. That’s the work of God, k? That’s a work of God. However, I trust God completely to take care of that work. But I also believe that he is sovereign over the means as well as the ends. And he’s given me the means. I’m going to employ them to the best of my ability and trust him to use them, amen? And this last phase, that 12, 13-year-old phase, we tell them, “Give me your hand. And now that I have taught you what to believe and why to believe it, walk with me and I’m going to show you how to live in accordance with these truths.”
Our son is not with me, our oldest son. Our oldest son is 14 and he travels with me full-time. I gave him the weekend off. We’ve been busy. But he travels with me full-time. We’re a homeschooled family. We homeschool our children. My son — one of the things that we’ve done in our home, we’ve just had the privilege because of the things that the Lord has given us and the way that we’ve been allowed to organize our lives when our sons reach manhood, we take them through a manhood ceremony and from that moment, my wife turns over the books and I become their teacher and their disciple-er. It scares her to death. Scares her to death, k? But what he needs to learn now more than anything else is how to be a man. And God put him in my home ‘cuz he intends for me to teach him that. Me to teach him that.
So my 14-year-old son spends every moment with me that is humanly possible. Every moment that is humanly possible. Because I’m discipling him. I’m pouring my life into him. I want to teach him everything I know about everything. Ok? Sometimes I teach him by doing well. Sometimes I teach him by blowing it.
My 14-year-old son was with me a while back — and I’ll close with this for the sake of time. And you know, we were together, and there was this guy who came up to me — this young guy who was twenty-something-years-old and wanted to have this, you know, discussion with me and may have been over the issue of marriage or ministry or — one of these issues, ok? So wanted to have a discussion. Really he wanted to have a debate. And this guy comes up, and he’s got a couple of his buddies with him and he just gets all up in my grill. And we’re talking. And when we’re talking, he won’t even look at me. He’s looking over there somewhere, you know? [pretending to talk like the young man] This kind of thing, just utterly disrespectful. And I said, “No, brother, you actually misunderstood what I said. ‘Cuz what I clearly said was this. So that’s not accurate.”
Well he wasn’t satisfied about that: “Well what about so-and-so and so-and-so? What about with so-and-so?” He’s showing off for his boys, ok? My son, who’s 13 at the time, who is with me — standing with me — this guy’s been disrespectful — finally I say, “You know, brother, here’s the deal. First of all, you don’t even have the respect to turn and look me in the face when you’re talking to me. Secondly, you’re asking me questions that I’ve already clearly answered. Thirdly, it’s obvious that you’re trying to impress your friends. This conversation is over.” And he turns and he goes, “How come you people always gotta turn it into a respect issue?” “‘You people?’ I really hope you’re talking about tall people. I really hope I didn’t just see the race card fall out of your pocket.” And he goes, “Yeah, you people always want to make this a matter of respect, like I disrespect you or something like that, and you can’t just —“ And I said, “You know what, sir? This conversation is officially over.”
He took a breath to say something else. I stepped forward and got about this close and I said, “This… conversation… is…. over.”
His buddies start backing up and grabbing him with them. ‘Cuz I guess at that moment they just had an inclination: “You know what? This man is saved but I think he remembers some stuff.” My son and I get in the car and we ride back to our hotel. Not a word is spoken. We get back to the hotel, we finish up, and we do our stuff. My 13-year-old son goes, “Dad, did that guy not know that you could crush him?” And I said, “Yes, son, he was very well aware of the fact that I could crush him.” “Dad, did you want to crush him?” “Oh Lord, yes I did.” And then he says, “But if you had crushed him, he would have won. ‘Cuz then you’re the angry, out-of-control black man.” And I said, “Yes, son, that is true.”
Couple of minutes later, my 13-year-old son — tears streaming down his face — and he says, “Dad, I’ve never been more proud to be your son.”
He can’t learn that in a book. Nor can he learn what happened the next day. When we had to stop at the airport, go back outside security and walk up to the gate agent where I had to apologize and say, “M’am, I was short with you and I was upset with you. You didn’t mess up my reservation. Would you please forgive me for my tone of voice when I spoke with you a few minutes ago?” And she wept. She wept. ‘Cuz they always get abused and never respected.
I don’t know what’s taught my boy more: the great victory that he saw or the broken man who blows it. But I know that his head was in mine and I was showing him the validity of all that I had taught him to believe and the reality of what it looks like when you live in accordance with those truths.
I have said to him, “Give me your attention,” and he has. He’s an obedient, respectful young man. I have said to him, “Give me your mind,” and he has. And now I say to him, “Give me your hand,” and he is. And he’s my best friend. I don’t hate my boy. I miss him like crazy. The teenage years don’t have to be like that. My 17-year-old daughter is my business partner. We started a business together. I miss them. I love them. I rejoice over them. I want to spend every moment with them I can.
That’s what we can have, people, if we stop buying the lie. Train your children well. They will become a delight to you and to others. And they will bring honor to you and to the kingdom — as opposed to disgrace.