How to Train and Save Your Children – By Elmer & Julia Shelhamer

Chapter 7

Compulsory Christianity

But, can we compel our children to become Christians? Yes, and No! While they must of their own free-will submit to God, yet we can so humble ourselves and prevail for them that, as a rule, they will yield. Their yielding, however, may hinge upon several things.

1. Being companionable. Many homes are more like boarding houses than a happy family circles where mother frequently sits on father’s knee and the children feel easy and secure in his presence. If parents made home more attractive and inviting instead of everlastingly lecturing and scolding, perhaps the boys and girls would prefer staying at home in the evenings instead of seeking comfort from outside sources.

2. Their salvation may hinge upon taking time occasionally to have a revival around the family altar. It is not enough to go through the stereotyped form of family prayers. This can become dry and repugnant. But it will pay to break through the formality and get the blessing of God down once in a while.

3. Their salvation may hinge upon the confession of a parent. Most children have heard their parents blame and criticize each other, but few have ever heard them apologize for any little inattention or manner which would have been thought out of place during courtship.

4. Their salvation may depend upon a parent’s confession to the child. Never think for a moment that this is beneath the dignity of a parent. If you would have your child break down and confess, set him the example. Get him alone and there humbly apologize for every place where you were too soft or too severe; where you spent more time scolding than weeping over him; apologize for feasting, rather than fasting for his salvation; for instilling rivalry rather than religion in his young mind. If parents yearned for true piety rather than popularity in their offspring no doubt they would become eminently pious instead of vicious.

5. Their salvation may hinge upon the parents’ entering into a secret covenant between themselves and their God. Such a covenant may involve one thing or another. But instead of it being irksome it will afford much comfort and assurance as to the happy outcome of the children’s guidance, protection and salvation. This covenantal relationship will enable a parent with one act of faith to defy hell and demand in Jesus’ name the housing of all your family in heaven. What a pity then if these parents are so coarse and covetous that God cannot led them into such a heavenly covenant. It would seem that ministers, who in reality are Levites, should raise children only for their tribe- the ministry. Why? While the family was growing up, the parents were more or less handicapped in the work of soul winning. Hence, in order to recompense this loss, some, if not all, of their children should take up the same line of work and accomplish what the parent failed to accomplish. – E.E.S.