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Timothy Larsen:

My students are often Christians who are old enough to mock mercilessly the people that gave of their time sacrificially to disciple them when they were young but who are not yet mature enough to be able to disciple others. I often find them quick-off-the-draw-ready with a forceful and sophisticated critique of most any traditional religious belief or practice.

They can be sadly flummoxed, however, by a simple request to explain what is true. If I wonder, “What are some problems with the doctrine of the atonement?” hands fly up all over the room, but if I straightforwardly ask, “What is the gospel?” the room falls strangely silent, and I find myself staring at rows of students quietly avoiding making eye contact.

To sketch what the gospel is would be to risk a rough draft that someone else would get the joy of critiquing; it would be to express a childlike faith; it would be to do the work of parenting.

You can read the whole thing here.

HT: Wesley Hill

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3 thoughts on “Old Enough to Critique But Too Young to Parent”

  1. Matt Brown says:

    I’ve found this phenomenon in my own life, but never articulated so well. I’m only 18, but I’ve found with greater study of various religious movements, doctrines, etc. I can easily negate and critique erroneous views, but I realized I was inadequately prepared to answer basic questions like, “What’s the Trinity?” or “What’s the gospel?” Greg Forster’s illustration of “trying to describe Italian food by making a list of all the things it doesn’t taste like” resonated hard with me, as I realized I couldn’t articulate any positive thoughts, but I could negate any wrong views of my view. Thanks for this post!

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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