Ian Hamilton on why covenant children rebel

“I’ve been a minister for 36 years and I can only think of one situation where I’ve seen children rebel and it’s not because the parents have failed lamentably in the covenant upbringing of their children.”

“The reason why I put such great stress myself on how parents raise their children is because as I’ve looked at family life, it’s the tragedy of seeing fine Christians fail to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of Christ, allowing Deuteronomy 6:4-9 to permeate and penetrate every area of life”.

He also gives the example of a very fine Christian couple in his congregation who had 3 boys, who were a disaster. “He came to me one day and said I don’t know what’s wrong. Every day I read with them. Every day I pray with them. I bring them to church, morning and evening. And to my eternal shame I didn’t have the courage to say to him what I instinctively wanted to say: You’ve not loved them. There wasn’t the soil, out of which God’s word and prayer grew. There wasn’t an atmosphere of grace in the family. There was not a delighting in God. There were all the Reformed doctrines in a row confessed, but…”

He concludes: “If people could see Reformed families raising their children, with all our weaknesses, in an atmosphere of ‘let these words be upon your hearts’ before you impress them on your children, I think that the way the world and our baptist brothers and sisters would look at us would be dramatically different”.

Taken from the Q&A session following David Gibson’s talk at the Cambridge Theology Conference in 2015: The Five Points of Baptism.