Should Christian Parents Force Their Teens to Go to Church?

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Should Christian Parents Force Their Teens to Go to Church?

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Ed Vasicek's picture
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Hermeneutics not so good

The logic of this article is not so great.  It is possible to be both young and prudent or young and foolish.  For example, Proverbs 15:5 (ESV) is about two distinct responses to a young person (i.e., one under parental authority):

 

A fool spurns a parent’s discipline,
    but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.

Because youth can be foolish does not mean that every verse containing the word fool applies more so to youth.  Nor does it mean that all youth are more foolish than all adults.  Proverbs is about principles and generalities; generally, older people are wiser than younger, but who has not know an old fool or an unusually prudent young person?

On occasion, I have seen teens with unbelieving parents attend church and grow into disciples and, even as new believers, are wiser than their parents.

I am not saying this article has no value, it does. The  question about parents forcing their teens to attend church is a good question, and the issue of foolishness is a valid part of the issue.  In that regard, the blog is thought-provoking.

"The Midrash Detective"

Aaron Blumer's picture
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House rules

Seems completely fair to me: if you live in my house and eat our meals (for more than a few days), you're required to be God fearing enough to at least attend worship weekly.

Agree w/Ed that the post takes the Proverbs too broadly. Foolishness is a quality we all possess in varying degrees. Otherwise, there would be no point in talking about it at all in the Proverbs: those who are wise would already know all that, and those who are fools wouldn't listen anyway. Smile  Fortunately, the foolish can become less so, and the wise can become more so.

Prov. 20.11 is probably relevant.  Even Prov. 22:15. If the rod of correction drives foolishness out, it stands to reason that there is less 'fool' and more 'wise' afterwards.

 

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Here's one *Christian* (ahem) parent whose answer is "No":

 

“We try to go to church as much as possible, but when the kids get older, you know, Sunday is some kind of practice, rehearsal, birthday party, you know. So getting us all together on a Sunday is becoming more difficult now that the girls are getting older. But if we’re not going to church, we really try to use Sunday as family downtime where we can kind of breathe and catch up and maybe take a little nap every now and then if we’re not working.”

- http://nation.foxnews.com/2014/04/22/michelle-obama-obama-family-sundays...

 

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Duh!

It has been said that there is no such thing as a stupid question.  I have never agreed with that statement, and the question we are dealing with proves me right.  It amazes me we give legitimate credence to the question.  We could ask "Do I force my child to be kind to his sibling?" or "Do I force my child to wear clothes when going to the mall?" or maybe even "Do I force my child to breath air?".  But we do not ask them because they are stupid questions.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture
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Or, do I force my child to

Or, do I force my child to attend school?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Ask Joshua

Jos 24:15  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD

 

I get the impression he didn't take a poll.

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No disagreement here

B Toothman wrote:

It has been said that there is no such thing as a stupid question.  I have never agreed with that statement, and the question we are dealing with proves me right.  It amazes me we give legitimate credence to the question.  We could ask "Do I force my child to be kind to his sibling?" or "Do I force my child to wear clothes when going to the mall?" or maybe even "Do I force my child to breath air?".  But we do not ask them because they are stupid questions.

I doubt that few, if any, SI members would answer the question of the OP in the negative.  The essay linked to is likely intended to inform those who aren't so settled in their convictions.

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Addendum: I do believe, however, that the situation should never get to the point that we have to "force" our teens to go to church.  If that's the case, then *we* have failed in their upbringing in some way.  Dr. Tim Kimmel develops this idea in great detail in his books, and Ken Ham's book "Already Gone" has a lot to say along that train of thought.