Saturday, May 12, 2007

Born to Be Wild!

I've often heard preachers proclaim that the reason why children lie, and act like little heathens, is because they learn the behavior from their parents. While this observation might be true to some degree, it misses the fact that even children who are born to the most saintly parents will inevitably lie, steal, pout, lust, hate, and be disobedient to their parents.

Reformed Christians understand that this problem is due to the fact that children are born sinners. We teach the doctrine of Original Sin. We believe that children are born with a fallen and sinful nature inherited from Adam. The Scripture confirms this, Psalm 58:3 tells us: "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies." In Psalm 51:5, David wrote, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."

Despite what experience has shown and what Scripture teaches, not everyone agrees that children are born sinners. I once had a heated discussion about this topic with a preacher who subscribes to Church of Christ (Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement) theology. He contended that children are "born innocent and they chose to become sinners." He was very insistent that in everything "life is choices" and to him the idea that a child was a natural born sinner was untenable.

In our local newspaper, another Church of Christ preacher recently published a diatribe against the doctrine of Original Sin. He too proclaimed that children are born innocent and later choose to be sinners. Such theology is not exclusive to the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement alone, it prevails in some form or fashion in much of modern evangelicalism.

Unlike the modern evangelical world, that is apparently suffering from what R.C. Sproul has called a "Pelagian Captivity", the Anglican Bishop J.C. Ryle understood the true nature of children; in a sermon entitled "A Right Understanding of Sin," Bishop Ryle states:

"The fairest child, who has entered life this year and become the sunbeam of a family, is not, as his mother perhaps fondly calls him, a little "angel" or a little "innocent," but a little "sinner." Alas! As that little infant boy or girl lies smiling and crowing in its cradle, that little creature carries in its heart the seeds of every kind of wickedness! Only watch it carefully, as it grows in stature and its mind develops, and you will soon detect in it an incessant tendency to that which is bad, and a backwardness to that which is good. You will see in it the buds and germs of deceit, evil temper, selfishness, self-will, obstinacy, greediness, envy, jealousy, passion, which, if indulged and let alone, will shoot up with painful rapidity."

In light of these things, it is vital that we evangelize and disciple our children! The Lord's disciples were rebuked for not allowing the children to come to Him. Let us not make a similar mistake in our day by failing to evangelize them (even from the cradle) due to a theological error that teaches that they are born free from the guilt of Adam's Sin and/or that sinning is a learned behavior! Though children are born sinners, there is hope for them through our Lord Jesus Christ!

"Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." --The Lord Jesus Christ

(As a side note: Tomorrow my son Cordell will be Baptized. I praise the Lord for what He has done in his young heart!)

1 comment:

Gordan said...

This heresy of which you speak creates a de facto alternate gospel.

I mean, yes you can believe in Jesus and be saved.

But, you could also just not sin, and be just as saved.