Sunday, October 15, 2017

Reflecting on My White Privilege

I am planning to writing further in the related series, "Making the Macedonian Call Normative in Missions Today" and "You Know You're a Continuationist When...," so stay tuned for those.  Meanwhile, there's this.

Out of accession to popular culture, I want to take a moment to reflect on my white privilege. I can encourage other people by admitting that my life has been easier because of my skin color.  I have to start with my father, who grew up in the rural upper midwest without electricity or indoor plumbing.  All the heat and cooking for the house was in a black pot belly stove in their kitchen.  Neither of his parents had a college degree.  He was limited in school activities by the requirements of living on the family farm, including milking the cows every day before daybreak.  He was placed in special education class while in junior high.

In another cold midwestern state, my mother was the oldest child and grew up in an apartment above a bar.  Her dad was a drunk and her mother died of cancer when she was eight years old, at which time she started to keep the house and raise her younger brother.  Her father remarried a woman, a heavily medicated chainsmoker, adding three more children to my mom's responsibilities.

My father and mother married at eighteen while my dad worked graveyard shift at a local factory.  He worked that same shift for 17 years, my entire early childhood until 12 years of age, at which time my  family moved for my dad to go to Bible college.  There he was a full time student, his working two minimum wage jobs and my mom at a lunch counter downtown.  We lived in government subsidized housing.  We bought a Chevy Vega for eighty dollars, which had a hole in the floor through which we could see the road and exhaust blew into the car.  The next vehicle was a Volkswagon with five adults and no heat.  We took turns scraping ice and frost off the inside of the windshield.

Our family moved from government subsidized housing to something a little more than a shack besides the railroad tracks, literally on the other side of the tracks.  We had a dug out basement with crumbling walls, where was our shower, a pipe sticking out of the wall, with a floor of deteriorating concrete.

White privilege.  I understand, it's a weightless knapsack of assets and resources I was given when I was born white.  Actually, no.

A key to my childhood is that I didn't think about privilege at all.  I never knew I didn't have it good.  I did have it good. No one told me I didn't.  I thought I did.  I was breathing. I lived in a free country.  I believed in Jesus Christ.  I had a home in heaven.  I owned a Bible in English.  We made ends meet.  We survived.   Whatever the stuff we had or didn't have wasn't important.

Everyone today is privileged if he grows up in the United States -- red and yellow, black and white.  It is still a land of opportunity.  Giving people even another impression is one of the worst things you could do to him. Even though some have it better than others, it doesn't have to stay that way.  Even if it is true, you can be happy that someone has it better than you.  That person is not holding you back -- be happy for him.

Everyone will still have trials and tribulations, face opposition.  Even if the playing field is slanted in some way, it doesn't help anyone to tell him that.  That's just the way it is in a sin-cursed world.  Some are born on third base and others have to touch all four bases.  What someone needs to hear is, you can do it.  You can make it.  You can succeed.  Stop feeling sorry for yourself.  Take all of the energy dedicated to self-pity, wrap it in a ball, and send in the direction of a solution.

What should be required reading for schools is Up From Slavery, the autobiography of Booker T. Washington (the kindle edition is 60 cents).  If I gave it a sub title it could be, Build a Better Brick, which is what Washington drilled into the students at Tuskegee.  He didn't invoke white privilege.  He said, you build a better brick.  If you do, people will buy it.  That's still what people need to hear, and not the alternative message of W. E. B DuBuois that sent crowds flooding to congregate around Washington D.C.

God created a world of potential and of exponential growth.  In a few generations, one seed results in stalks of corn covering the face of the planet. It's not a zero sum game.  Somebody else's gain is not my loss.  There's more than enough for all of us.  Most important is the grace of God.  Psalm 37:25, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."

Friday, October 13, 2017

Abiding in Christ: What Does it Mean? part 1 of 9, Word Study

What does it mean to abide in Christ? John 15, and other texts of Scripture, clearly teach that abiding in Christ is extremely important.  To understand this essential, but too often misunderstood Biblical teaching, we are going to look at the New Testament references where the Greek word meno, translated "abide," appears in Scripture.  We will also look at background to John 15, and then exegete the passage in John 15.  May God use this study to help believers to abide more deeply and sweetly in Christ as they understand what it means to do so.
 
Note in the texts below that a sense of "remain," "endure," "persevere," or something of the sort is clear in many of the texts with the Greek word meno, "abide."
Mt 10:11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.
Mt 11:23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
Mt 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
Here “remain/stay” is the sense as well. Consider that this text contains an identical imperative to that in John 15. The disciples were to stay there, while, v. 39, Christ went away from them a little farther. The word, of itself, does not indicate that fellowship with Him is involved in remaining/abiding/staying. Note that the Lord rebuked them for not “watching” (v. 40ff.) but not for not “tarrying” with Him, for they did stay there instead of going somewhere else, although they certainly had no sort of living fellowship with the Lord, for they were asleep.
Mr 6:10 And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.
Here “remain/stay” in the sense of “dwell” is the idea. This use also is not one of living fellowship; one does not have fellowship with a house.
Mr 14:34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.
Lu 1:56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.
Mary remained/stayed/lived in Elizabeth’s house. Certainly Mary and Elizabeth had good fellowship, but they were both abiding in Elizabeth’s house, not abiding in one another. Note the last part of the verse.
Lu 8:27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.
The man stayed/remained in the tombs, rather than in houses. No fellowship aspect appears in this usage either.
Lu 9:4 And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart.
Here also, the command was to remain/stay in the house. Here, as in many of the previous references, location is in view.
Lu 10:7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
The preachers were to remain/stay in this house while they were in that city, rather than moving from one house to another and exploiting everyone’s hospitality.
Lu 19:5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.
The Lord Jesus was going to remain/stay in Zacchaeus’ house. The Savior would be his guest that day. Certainly fellowship would go on, but this fact is not required by the word itself.
Lu 24:29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
Both the command and the fulfillment are to remain/stay with someone, to continue in his physical presence.
Joh 1:32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
Here, and in v. 33, meno indicates a location. In v. 32 the Spirit came to abide on the Lord, and in v. 33 the Holy Ghost continued to remain on the Savior.
Joh 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
Joh 1:38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
Here meno is equivalent to remain/stay. The two disciples asked the Lord Jesus what house He was staying in.
Joh 1:39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.
The uses in v. 39 are like those in v. 38; they remained/stayed with the Lord. Surely the disciples had fellowship with Christ while they stayed with Him, but this result is not involved in the verb meno on its own.
Joh 2:12 After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.
The people specified in the text remained or stayed in the city.
Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
The wrath of God stays or remains upon the unbelieving one.
Joh 4:40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.
The Samaritans asked the Lord to remain/stay with them, and so He did.
Joh 5:38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
Here, when the Word remains or stays in one, it produces effects (although perhaps the statement that the Word did not remain in them is simply an affirmation of their ignorance of Scripture entirely, explaining hence the command of v. 39). See 8:31, where endurance in the belief and practice of the Word is indicated. Enduring obedience is associated with love for God, v. 42.
Joh 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
Spiritual food will continue/remain/endure/abide, unlike physical bread, which will perish. In relation to John 15, note that here meno is even rendered endure. The Online Bible version of Thayer’s Greek Lexicon provides the following statistics for the translation of meno: KJV – abide 61, remain 16, dwell 15, continue 11, tarry 9, endure 3, misc 5; 120 (total).
Joh 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
Here it looks like the spiritual union of remaining or staying in Christ, en Christo, is in view. The one who has spiritual fellowship with Christ, who believes in Him, who eats His flesh and drinks His blood, is in Christ, and Christ is in him. The spiritual union here would, based on other passages of Scripture, be unbreakable; one cannot be in Christ and then no longer be so. There is no command here to remain in the en Christo position; it is a declarative statement. It looks like, contextually, this statement is something like, “He that believes in Me, remains in Me, and I in him.”
Joh 7:9 When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.
The Lord remained/stayed in Galilee.
Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Christ commands the believing Jews to remain or stay in His Word. This appears to be perseverance in obedience to it. The verse does not establish any mystical idea in abiding. This is not to say that God does not do great things by His Spirit in His people through the Word, nor does it deny that He does in fact hold glorious communion with them (1 John 1:3); it is simply dealing with the much narrower question of whether John 8:31 proves that He does these things. One should note as well that this verse is a statement that only those who, having received a new nature by grace, continue to follow the Lord are truly converted; the verse does not make a distinction between some sort of higher Christian life as a disciple versus a lower “Christian” life of perpetual carnality is in view, rather than a distinction between the saved and the lost. Those who do not continue and are not “disciples indeed” do not “know the truth” and are not “free” (8:31-32). All believers know the truth, and no unbelievers know the truth (John 1:1714:61717:1719; and this knowledge leads to a changed life as its certain result: “Every one that is of the truth heareth [Christ’s] voice,” John 18:37; and consequently becomes a true worshipper (John 4:23-24), follows Christ (John 10:27), and “doeth truth . . . that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:21). Furthermore, in the immediate context of John 8:31-32 (namely, in v. 36), and everywhere else in the New Testament, being made “free” is an event that takes place at the moment of regeneration (John 8:3236Romans 6:18228:221Galatians 5:1). While the believer is to renew his discipleship daily (Luke 9:23), the call of the Lord Jesus, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34) is a call to repentance and faith, to conversion: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it [eternally in hell]; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake [repent of his sin and his own life and way] and the gospel’s, the same shall save it [will go to heaven]” (Mark 8:35). Those who do not become disciples lose their own souls eternally in the lake of fire (Mark 8:36). While there can certainly be false or unsaved disciples (John 8:316:66) just like there can be false believers (John 2:23-25; cf. 3:1-21), every true believer is a true disciple, and every true disciple is a true believer.
The Lord Jesus Himself, who knew that He was speaking to true converts (John 8:30-31), gave them assurance based on the evidence of the new birth and new nature (John 8:31—a certainty in every truly converted person, John 17:17). How much the more should His people, who do not know infallibly what has gone on within a professed convert, follow His practice! Believers must not give assurance to those who claim conversion but manifest no change of life.
Joh 8:35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
The servant does not remain or stay in the house, but the Son does.
Joh 9:41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
The Lord Jesus tells those who oppose Him that their sins were remaining or staying upon them.
Joh 10:40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.
Christ remained or stayed in a location beyond Jordan where John had at first baptized.
Joh 11:6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
Joh 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
The grain of wheat remains or stays on its own.
Joh 12:34 The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?
The Christ remains or stays to rule forever.
Joh 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
The believer will no longer remain in darkness, but will be in the light instead.
Joh 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
The Father has a position of being in the Son, and the Son is in the Father (see also v. 11). It is certain that the Father and Son have an ineffably deep fellowship, but what in the text indicates that “dwelleth” specifies this fellowship, rather than representing the ontological indwelling, the interpenetration of the three Persons in the Trinity?
Joh 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
The Spirit would come to remain/stay with the saints forever. See also v. 17.
Joh 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwellethwith you, and shall be in you.
Here the Spirit is known because He dwells with, and shall be in, the saints. Dwelling or abiding is not synonymous with being known, but the Spirit’s indwelling is the cause of fellowship. This verse does establish an explicit connection between fellowship and indwelling for the inward work of the Spirit. Perhaps a parallel to this in the earlier texts is found where the Lord Jesus stayed in someone’s house; fellowship on that account would be a definite result. So knowing the Spirit because He dwells within is established here. “Ye know Him, because He dwelleth with you, and shall be dwelling in you.” The Lord does not use meno of the relation of the Spirit within the Christian here; the Spirit who at that time was “with” them dwelt or abode with them; at the coming day when He would be within them, He would at that time dwell in them. The verse also supports the conclusion that believers also know the Father and the Son because both of them similarly dwell in the saints; cf. vv. 20, 23. Note the present tense use of meno in John 14:17.
Joh 14:25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
While still remaining or continuing with the disciples on the earth, Christ said these things to them.
 
See the complete study on meno or "abiding," which includes the passages not only in the KJV but also in the Greek NT (not present in this series of blog posts), by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

You Know You're a Continuationist When....

Continuationism is a belief that the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit continue to and in the present age, such as miracles, tongues, healing, and prophecy. Continuationism is the opposite of cessationism.  How bad is continuationism?  Is it even a big deal?  Scripture says it is.  I say it is.  Most say, not so much.

Evangelicals don't separate from continuationists, that I know of.  They might write books about and hold conferences on them, but they don't separate.  They do the equivalent of the little dog that yaps and yaps when you get close to its front lawn, that you know won't bite you, so you're not afraid.

Let's say that continuationism is a deal breaker for a separatist, independent Baptist.  It actually is for me and our church.  How do I know who is a continuationist? Some continuationists wear the tag.  Others don't even know it, so they wouldn't say they are.  Others deny continuationism, but believe and practice continuationism, all the while continuing to state their denial.

In contemporary theology, continuationists are categorized as either hard or soft continuationists, or just continuationists or soft ones.  I've found that the soft ones may deny or not deny that they are continuationists.  The ones who deny almost always say they don't believe in speaking in tongues or the gift of healing, so they aren't and can't be continuationists, if they know what it is.  I've found them many times to say they aren't Charismatic without understanding that they believe very similarly to  or even identical to Charismatics.

At least among independent Baptists, fundamental Baptists, and even unaffiliated Baptists, I have recognized that the soft continuationism is supposed to be accepted or at least ignored.  You may not like it, but if you were to separate from it, you would be seen as unnecessarily divisive, some type of enemy of unity.  What am I talking about?

I want to describe the characteristics I have often seen and see.  They don't mirror the extreme form of Charismaticism, but they are often in principle the same.  The soft continuationists modify the sign gifts into some lesser type, the same as the Charismatic movement, except with reduced manifestations or ramifications.  For someone who wants Charismaticism, it's there, but for the person who doesn't want it, the sign gifts are denied. The soft continuationists have straddled to some degree being and not being Charismatic by offering continuationism in a less extreme form.

On soft continuationism, I know there are those who are the face of it, like John Piper and Wayne Grudem.  However, what I have seen and see close up and in person is continuationism among independent Baptists.  I'm going to describe what I see there.  Maybe you're not an independent Baptist and you see the same among Southern Baptists and others.

PROPHECY

God is done speaking to us, but there are many different ways that independent Baptists "receive" extra-scriptural revelation.  They don't call it prophecy.  They don't equate it with scripture.  There is an ambiguity to it that allows for deniability but still with God speaking to someone outside of scripture.  Here's what I hear on a pretty regular basis.

"God gave me this new method or strategy."  "God told me what to preach."  "God told me to build this building."  "I prayed about it and God told me."  "God gave me this message."  "God gave me special insight."  "God called me to go to...." "God told me how to do this."  Sometimes less clear words are used, like "God moved me, "God put it within my heart," or "God has burdened me with."

One additional way that I hear that God speaks is through a particular interpretation of a passage.  Someone says the Spirit told him what a passage says, which is referred to as the teaching or illumination of the Holy Spirit.  The interpretation doesn't come through a normal means of study, but through someone impressed in the brain separate from study.  I've found that very often, and it shouldn't be surprising, that this teaching or understanding was wrong.

What you know is that God gave some kind of information either with a voice in the head, a feeling, or a vision.  Somebody knows something that he didn't know before.  God's stamp of authority is upon it, because it came from Him.

MIRACLES

Miracle is a common word thrown around by independent Baptists.  What they say is a miracle might just be the providence of God.  I'm fine with providence, because everything is either caused or allowed by God.  However, it isn't a sign.  A miracle is a sign.  These signs have ceased, so whatever it is, it isn't a miracle.  God works in the normal affairs of men, but miracles are not being produced.

Some might ask, what about salvation?  Isn't that a miracle?  It isn't.  God saves people, but that isn't a miracle.  Every work of God is not a miracle.  A miracle is very particular, but this has been generalized and brought along even by independent Baptists.

These "miracles" are treated like signs by independent Baptists.  They mean God is working in some unique way that gives them credibility.  It causes people to expect miracles.

HEALING

I don't know of an independent Baptist that believes in the gift of healing, but prayer has become a means by which someone has that gift.  The Lord Jesus and the apostles and prophets could pray for healing and receive it as a part of their gift.  However, we are not promised that people will be healed.  Prayer is still seen as a means of physical healing.

What I've noticed is that certain diseases get prayer and others don't.  For instance, blindness doesn't receive prayer.  If God is doing the healing, blind people can get their sight.  This kind of selectivity isn't seen in the Bible for signs.  If it's of God, it isn't limited.

Like signs, the prayer healing intends to validate a church.  People expect it from a church, want it from a church, so a church should have it at its disposal.  Even if people are not healed 75% of the time, the prayer healing is still an important church method.

SUPERNATURAL MANIFESTATIONS

This last one is the most subjective and perhaps the most important of the ones I've listed.  At Pentecost, there was the wind and the flames.  You won't get those from independent Baptists, but you'll get a feeling or atmosphere in the midst.  It often arises in a preaching and musical style, producing a mood, aura, impression, or spirit.  The preaching itself might be unscriptural, but the style supersedes that.  God is working and the demonstration is seen through these subjective, external stimuli.  Corinth has the same problem in the ecstasy that accompanied what they thought they were receiving from God (cf. 1 Cor 12:1-3).

The equivalent of firing people up for a pep rally is not a necessary condition for the Holy Spirit to fulfill His ministry, promised by Jesus and the Apostles.  A big reaction to particular styles doesn't authenticate them as the Holy Spirit.  Some of what I'm talking about relate to the wrong understanding of conviction.  Conviction is what occurs when someone has been proven guilty.  Conviction isn't a feeling.  Someone can be convinced of his guilt and not feel anything.

When a particular method works, this is attributed to God.  "Dozens or hundreds were saved."  This is pointing to a "Pentecost" style revival.  When the Holy Spirit is really working, a lot of people are saved.  This is a supernatural, powerful working that overcomes resistance to the message being delivered.  A majority of these people didn't get saved.

If a big crowd gathers or lots of people walk an aisle, men take that as a sign that God is prevailing or working in the situation.  If very few show up, God didn't either.  These effects are pointed to as a basis for a church being "alive" versus being "dead."  A dead church is one where these external effects, actually produced by men, are missing.  They are not biblical means of discernment, but they are given greater authority for discernment the biblical means.

FAKE SIGNS

Most independent Baptists are very dependent upon the fake signs I listed above.  They are the cues given to their churches that everything is OK.  If these were missing, the people would think something is wrong.  Since they are expected, they must continue.  In most independent Baptist churches, if a church announced these were no longer going to play a role in the church, it would cause a massive split.  A large chunk of the congregation would move to somewhere where they would continue to experience these fake signs.

to be continued

Friday, October 06, 2017

Proverbs 22:6 and Adoption, part 2 of 2


The uses of na’ar seen in the other books of the Bible continue to be valid within Proverbs itself.  In the book’s introduction the word is employed of youths or young men universally (Proverbs 1:4);[1] no contrast between youth raised by biological or adopted parents, or excluding youth such as household servants, has any place whatsoever.  Also, as elsewhere in Scripture, Proverbs equates the na’ar with the ben, the youth and the son (Proverbs 7:7).[2]  When Solomon writes, “Even a child [na’ar] is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right” (Proverbs 20:11),[3] the text obviously applies to all children rather than excluding adopted ones.  Only a handful of verses after Proverbs 22:6, foolishness is clearly not only bound in the heart of the biologically conceived child, but in all children, and the rod of correction is likewise effective in all (Proverbs 22:15).[4]  It is similarly obvious that the command to “withhold not correction from the child [na’ar]” refers to all children; it is sinful disobedience to withhold correction from adopted children, or servant children in a regal household, just as much as it is to withhold correction from biologically conceived children in a household.  Consequently, the promise “thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell” applies equally to the adopted and biological child (Proverbs 23:13-14).[5]  Similarly, the unrestrained child who is sent away[6] from his parents’ godly influences and left to himself brings his mother to shame,[7] irrespective of the biology of his conception (Proverbs 29:15).[8]  All the other verses in Proverbs that refer to the na’ar or “child” make no distinction whatsoever between adopted and biologically conceived children; nor does Proverbs 22:6 make such a distinction.  The idea that the verse applies only to biologically conceived children lacks any exegetical foundation whatever.  Proverbs 22:6 does not contrast biological children with adopted children, but a “child” as a young person who must be trained in the way of righteousness, regardless of genetic makeup, with one who is “old” and is confirmed on the moral pathway on which he has long travelled.  Clearly, Proverbs 22:6 is a blessed promise true for all children in a household, irrespective of the manner of their conception or the relationship of their DNA to their parents’ genetic material.
            In the Old Testament, Jehovah adopted Israel to be His son (Romans 9:4) out of His love (Hosea 11:1).  In the New Testament, the entire Trinity is involved in adoption.[9]  The Father adopts unworthy and pagan sinners with the darkest of family heritages to become His adopted sons (Ephesians 2:1-9).  The second Person, the Lord Jesus, submitted to being adopted by becoming a youth (na‘ar, Isaiah 7:16; 8:14) who was both biologically from Mary and adopted by Joseph.  Christ also died to redeem sinners in order that they might receive the adoption of sons (Galatians 4:5).  The third Person, the Holy Spirit, is the “Spirit of adoption” (Romans 8:15).  Clearly, parents who adopt are following the pattern set not just by godly people in the Bible, but by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—Jehovah Himself.  To adopt is to be like God.  Nothing in Scripture anywhere states or implies that Proverbs 22:6 or other promises on childrearing are not applicable if parents follow the pattern of their God and adopt children.  Just as biological parents can rejoice at the blessed promise of Proverbs 22:6 and related Biblical texts on childrearing, so can adoptive parents rejoice equally at God’s blessed promises, train up their children in the godly way that they should go, and confidently see Jehovah’s unfailing promises fulfilled.  When they are old, both properly trained biological and adoptive children will continue in the godly way of their youth.



[1]           The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. (Proverbs 1:1-4)
:l`Ea∂rVcˆy JKRl#RmŒ d¡Iw∂;d_NRb hâOmølVv yElVvIm
:h`DnyIb yñérVmIa Ny#IbDhVlŒ r¡Ds…wm…w h∞DmVkDj tAoâådDl
:MyáîrDvyEm…w f#DÚpVvIm…wŒ q®d¶Rx l¡E;kVcAh r∞As…wm tAjåqDl
:h`D;mˆzVm…w tAoâå;d rAoGÅnVlŒ h¡Dm√rDo M∞IyaDtVpIl t∞EtDl
[2]           And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, (Proverbs 7:7)
:b`El_rAsSj rAo∞An MyGˆnD;bAb hÎny§Ib„Da MGˆyaDtVÚpAb a®r§EaÎw
[3]           :wáølFoDÚp r∞DvÎy_MIa◊w JK™Az_MIa rAo¡Dn_rR;kÅnVtˆy wyDlDlSoAmV;bœ M∞A…g
[4]           Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
:…w…n`R;mIm hÎ…nñ®qyIj√rÅy r#Ds…wmŒ fRb¶Ev rAo¡Dn_bRlVb hâ∂r…wvVq tRl‰…wIa
[5]           Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. (Proverbs 23:13-14)
:t…wámÎy aâøl fRb#EÚvAbŒ …w…n¶R;kAt_y`I;k r¡Ds…wm rAo∞A…nIm o∞AnVmI;t_lAa
:ly`I…xA;t lwñøaVÚvIm w#øvVpÅn◊wŒ …w…n¡R;kA;t fRb∞EÚvA;b hD;tAa
[6]           j#D;lUvVmŒ, “be sent off . . . be put away . . . a boy let loose (unrestrained)” (BDB); LXX planw¿menoß, Vulgate puer autem qui dimittitur voluntati suae, “a child sent away to his own pleasure.”  Does not this passage forbid sending one’s child away to a boarding school, or even sending him away for the best part of every Monday through Friday in a public school where the rod does not enforce godly, Bible-based reproof, and require either direct homeschooling or a Christian school that works very closely with the home and enforces consistent use of both the rod and reproof?  And does not this prohibition last for as long as the child in question is a youth rather than a mature man, rather than ceasing when one becomes high school or college age?  How many youths have brought their parents to shame in the pagan and licentious environment of a secular college dormitory?
[7]           The reference to the “mother” here forms an inclusio with Proverbs 29:3 (cf. Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs, Chapters 15–31, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2005], 442).
[8]           The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. (Proverbs 29:15)
:wáø;mIa vy¶IbEm j#D;lUvVmŒ rAo¶An◊w h¡DmVkDj N∞E;tˆy tAjAkwøt◊w∑ fRb∞Ev
[9]           While the actions of God do provide a positive pattern for human adoption, nothing in this paragraph is intended to affirm that every single aspect of God’s redemptive adoption of sinners is equivalent to what takes place in a human adoption.