O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

I am working on some thoughts on parenting and how Fulfilled Theology affects our thoughts. Here is an open ended question to get some different thoughts on the subject.

True-Preterist (myself included) see the reality that we are back in the Garden if we are in Christ. With this being said, how can our biological children be cast out of the Garden the moment they are born? Is there some covenantal representation for our kids through the parents until they can confirm the covenant at an appropriate maturity level?

Thoughts are appreciated.

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I agree. We first must establish that in Romans when it is talking about the "flesh," it is referring to the Old Covenant system of works. Along the same lines Paul, in Romans (and most of all he wrote) is trying to tell his audience that we/they are no longer under the law but under grace. 


So, our children are no longer "in the flesh" which must be beaten out of them. They are in the garden. My only question is how to leave the garden. When Jewish children were born were they also born covered by their parents?

I say yes.


Good question.


I think the problem is that most (modern) Christians come at this from a radically individualistic conception.


But what do we see in Scripture? God promises to be a God to his people and to their children. I would think that has some implications for the NC as well, since the Church is actually Israel reborn/resurrected.


The biblical perspective is that God deals not only with individuals, but deals with households as well. In fact, if a household belongs to God, then everything in that household belongs to God. The story of Abraham is one good example.


I don't believe that God splits up families so that parents live in God's Garden while the children are castoffs out in the wilderness to fend for themselves.  That strikes me more as modern American individualism than biblical Christianity. After all, Paul called children of believers "clean" due to the faith of the believing parent.


How much more so if both parents believe the gospel?




Tim Martin

I have been reading some books written by Alfie Kohn. Don't know if you are familiar with him or not but he is the leading person in transforming schools by getting rid of rewards and punishments (which includes grades, standardized tests, etc.). He not only is against punishments and rewards (which are not opposites but rather different sides to the same coin) in schools but also in the work place and in parenting. His reasoning is supported by tons and tons of research. Case study after case study proves that rewards and punishments do nto work long term and often they don't even work short term for most every task. 


Basically all parenting books, education philosophies, and work place practices are rooted in behaviorism. He destroys behaviorism and basically proves it is a bad theory. We are not animals (he is not a Christian and even he says agrees with this). 


What does this have to do with parenting in the garden? Well, I think Churchianity and parenting are rooted in behaviorism (in fact our whole western culture is). Which is ironic because behaviorism is about as anti-Christian a theory as there is yet the church has based everything (how we interpret the Bible, how we parent, how we define the gospel, etc.) on behaviorism. I would argue it goes way back before Skinner and others gave it the name - but that's for another post.  


Behaviorism is about one thing = CONTROL


It's about controlling other people's behavior. Whether that is with good intentions or bad. Control is control. But the (true) Gospel is about FREEDOM. Jesus didn't come to control us, he came to set us free. Religion is about control. Whether it's making women dress conservatively and guilting them into filling their quiver or whether it's preaching that it is a sin to not tithe (gross income), get a tattoo, miss church, drink alcohol, smoke, and listen to secular music. And just for good measure Christianity hangs the reward of Heaven out in front of us to get us to comply and also wields a paddle called Hell for added control measures. 


I am still piecing all of this together but it is just interesting to see that science is behind the true gospel message which is freedom. We now have over 50 years of research supporting Grace both in the work place (see the work of Demming), school (see the work of David Langford and Kohn), and parenting (see Kohn, Vanvonderan, and others). 


Here are some quotes from Kohn's book, Punished by Rewards, I am currently reading: 

  • The question is not whether more flies can be caught with honey than with vinegar, but why the flies are being caught in either case - and how this feels to the fly.
  • Rewards are every bit as controlling as punishments ... they assume a punitive quality over the long run
  • The underlying assumption is that there are exactly two alternatives: punitive responses or positive reinforcement, sticks or carrots, "slaps or sugar plums."   .... But the dichotomy is a false one: our practical choices are not limited to two versions of behavior control.
  • Reinforcements do not generally alter the attitudes and emotional commitments that underlie our behaviors. They do not make deep lasting changes because that are aimed at affecting only what we do.
  • Rewards MUST be judged on whether they lead to lasting change - change that persists when there are no longer any goodies to be gained.
  • Control breeds the need for more control, which when is used to justify the use of control
  • To say that children need structure or guidance is very different from saying they have to be controlled.
  • Cui bono? Who really benefits when a child quiets down and sits still?
  • Rewarding someone emphasizes the rewarder's position of greater power
  • Behaviorism is as American as rewarding someone with apple pie.





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