A few years ago my husband and I were at a wedding when a friend asked our 3 year old, "Do you love Jesus?" Afterward we both admitted how we didn't appreciate such a question posed to him. I thought it would have been better if she had said,"Jesus loves you!" Of course she didn't mean anything by it and probably had never thought about it. So what is the big deal? I think what my husband and I were against was the notion that children who are just beginning to learn about Jesus should first learn why his parents love Jesus. They should first be taught that while we were enemies Christ died for us. We don't first love God, then he decides to love us, but we love because He first loved us and sent his son to bear the wrath that was stored up against us. Do I want my children to love Jesus? Absolutely! But, I do want their love to spring from a response to His love for them. A proper love for God can only come from a proper understanding of God's love for us. And a proper understanding of God's love for us must include the cross and our desperate need for a Savior. All of these thoughts were stirred up because of something I read on the Desiring God blog. This comes from Session 1 at the Children Desiring God Conference: A provocative quote by Spurgeon. "Spurgeon is lamenting that some preachers, though they believe in justification by faith, unintentionally preach the very opposite. Spurgeon recounts: "Justification by faith must never be obscured, and yet all are not clear upon it…. Many do this when addressing children, and I notice that they generally speak to the little ones about loving Jesus, and not upon believing in Him. This must leave a mischievous impression upon youthful minds and take them off from the true way of peace. (Lectures to My Students, p. 340) "John noted that this quote is convicting, because many of us talk more to children about loving Jesus than believing in Jesus. We need to wrestle with why Spurgeon said this. " I would encourage anyone interested in teaching their children the truth about God to visit Children Desiring God and also the recent "live blog" from the conference.
Session 1- speaker, John Piper
Session 2- speaker, Wayne Grudem Title: Teaching the Richness of the Entire Gospel from Election to Glorification
Session 3- speaker, Wayne Grudem continues unpacking what he began in session 2.
Session 4- speaker, C.J. Mahaney Title: Extravagant Devotioin
Session 5- speaker, David Michael Title: John Angell James – Pursuing the Souls of the Next Generation