Passing faith on to the next generation: dogma matters less than love

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"Mi primera comunión." [My first communion.] Caracas, Venezuela, 1963. Photo courtesy A. Davey via Flickr Creative Commons.

"Mi primera comunión." [My first communion.] Caracas, Venezuela, 1963. Photo courtesy A. Davey via Flickr Creative Commons.

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If you hope that your kids will grow up to share your faith, don't worry about imparting lists of rules or doctrines, but keep your relationship with them close.

  • Doc Anthony

    What you call “dogma”, ALWAYS matters.

    But it’s not a mutually exclusive either-or situation (that is, either dogma or warm-affirming-encouraging-relationship.)

    Instead it’s a both-and situation. Did Jesus water down any of His teachings for anybody? Nope. Did Jesus water down the Scriptures to make people happy? Nope. But did Jesus successfully maintain warm-affirming relationships all the same? Yes.

    That’s the example. It’s a both-and example. It’s ours to follow, with His grace, His power, His provision to help us out.

  • I left a church (cult) that shunned “wayward” adult children and it grieved my heart. This is such an excellent article, Rachel. Thank you.

  • I agree that dogma matters, but I would not equate them. The point of this research is not that dogma doesn’t matter. It is that relationship matters as we teach dogma.

    I have a some friends that want you to know the right answers. But just like I Cor 13, if you have the right dogma (or right answers) but can’t be loving in the way you relate, then that lack of love actually causes people to reject the dogma because of the improper means of communicating it.

    It is not either/or, but it can’t ever be dogma then love.

  • What I love about this is that it affirms, once again, the importance of intimate relationship. We are created to be relational!

  • Bill Rabara

    “Are we willing to impart our values and o faith to them without force-feeding them? Are we willing to accept that even if we raise our kids in the faith, “when [they are] old [they] will not depart from it” is not the ironclad guarantee we would like it to be?”

    Why assume that parents want their kids to retain the imparted faith? I, for example, care not for the faith or lack thereof that my child has. If my child, using his brain and heart which has been given to him, to the fullest potential, has faith that does not mirror or even resemble mine, then I will be happy. Yet if his faith is mine only because the faith is mine, then he has been reduced to a kind of robot.