As I've written within the previous posts on Christian liberty, many adhere, especially evangelicals and many fundamentalists, to the notion that Christians have liberty wherever scripture does not speak in an explicit manner -- meaning that if the very words of whatever it is that is possibly prohibited are not found in scripture, then someone has liberty to do it. That's not good for people to be thinking, anyone and particularly Christians, because it isn't true. It goes further though.
Professing Christians are so messed up about the grace of God, that they think that they are partakers of more grace when they participate in these activities that they say can't be proven by scripture. As the shorts on a woman creep further up her leg, they are showing how deep and wide she is embracing God's grace, diving into His broad river of love and letting it wash all over her. Grace almost exclusively shortens her skirt, not lengthens, makes his rock music rock even harder, and expands their list of alcohol choices. In reality, this viewpoint is an old perversion.
The most common deviation from God's grace in the United States is not adding works to grace, but what Jude says the ungodly do, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness (Jude v. 4). 2 Peter 2 is similar to Jude, and Peter says that these servants of corruption promise liberty. They allure through the lusts of the flesh. It's a popular grace that isn't about God, but about what you want to do. This brings me to the main point of this post.
Eight times scripture commands either "honour thy father and mother" or "honour thy father and thy mother." It's all over the Bible, both Old and New Testaments -- Exodus, Deuteronomy, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Ephesians. There are also verses like Proverbs 23:22, "Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old," several like that one. What if a father tells his child to do something that he doesn't think is taught in the Bible? He might not be sure, but he thinks he might have liberty. In many cases today, it isn't even liberty, it's just one of these "fake areas" of liberty, that relate to no direct, word-for-word prohibition, as I talked about above.
Does a child have liberty to dishonor his parents? When I say this, I'm not talking about disobedience or transgression of scripture. I know young people right now who aren't obeying scripture because their parents told them not to. They know they are disobedient, and yet they don't want to "dishonor" their parents by obeying scripture. That is in the category, I've mentioned in another post, obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).
Just the opposite today, the world is full of young people, 18 and older, who don't honor their parents in either areas of liberty or areas of "fake liberty" or a perversion of liberty. It isn't the grace of God, but turning the grace of God into lasciviousness. They're all over the place. They think it's even what it means to be "out on their own." They call this "having their own convictions." They aren't convictions. They are violations of Christian liberty. No one has the liberty to dishonor his parents.
The idea of a conviction among evangelicals has become very personalized. A conviction is yours with the emphasis on you. It's yours. To have it be yours, the thought here among the youngest adults is, you can't have it be your parents. That would theirs and not yours. That would make you too much of a child. Almost definitionally, children want to do something different for the conviction to be theirs. This signals independence to them, what it means to be an adult.
A conviction to be an actual conviction must be scriptural and what I see from many young people today is that they want their own convictions, but they haven't taken the time to study the Bible, know what it says, about the convictions. Young adults look around at what other people are doing who call themselves Christians, and practice like they do. Now they have their own conviction, except it isn't a conviction. They treat it like a conviction, because they keep doing it even if someone encourages them to take a conviction, an actual conviction, like their parents have done, which means something studied out from scripture and likely in agreement with the rest of their church.
I believe and have instructed that as children become adults that they take the same positions as their parents. They should change only if they have a conviction, an actual conviction to do so, and that is only where they see the change as necessary for obedience to scripture. If it is a Christian liberty, children should just keep practicing like their parents out of honor to their parents, because scripture commands to honor parents.
There is a specific passage that will help on this. Read Jeremiah 35 and the tale of the Rechabites. Verses 6 and 8 of that chapter say,
But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever. . . . Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters.It wasn't just drinking no wine, but a few other particular instructions of their father that they did, just because he told them to do them. Some of them are in the category of non-scriptural issues. Read them. They obeyed them alone because he had told them to do these things. Read the whole chapter, but this is how it turned out for them (verses 18-19):
And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.They honored their father and God honored them for honoring their father. They did this for hundreds of years over many generations. One generation after another passed down the same beliefs and practices, that weren't necessarily biblical commands or explicit to practice, and God honored them for it.
A family could be preserved if it honored its father. A nation could be preserved if offspring honored its father. We wouldn't be seeing the degradation of society, the downward trend and trajectory toward destruction.
How again does honor of parents relate to Christian liberty? If the parents instruct to disobey scripture, of course adult children don't do that. If the parents instruct in non-scriptural, not unscriptural but non-scriptural, areas, the children honor their parents and do what their parents instruct. Children do not have liberty to dishonor parents.
As a parent, I attempt to allow my children or give them Christian liberty. I want them to have liberty in those areas. I try to speak not in my preferences, but in what scripture teaches. Now, my children might think they have liberty in areas I don't think they do, but either way, they don't have the liberty to dishonor me or their mother. I'm giving myself as an example, I know. It's something I expect of my own children, but I also expect it of myself with my own parents. It's been important to me that I honor them with what I do and how I treat them.
Christians don't have liberty to dishonor their parents.