By Jeff Keaton, Renewanation Founder & CEO
A few months ago I was privileged to hear Dr. Del Tackett speak in person. Dr. Tackett is the teacher on The Truth Project; he worked in the White House for the first President Bush, and has experienced a lifetime of amazing accomplishments. He always has something informative and challenging to say but at this event he grabbed my attention when he said something like, “The primary purpose for marriage is to produce godly offspring.” He went on the say, “The primary purpose for marriage is not your personal pleasure, happiness, companionship, etc. It is to produce godly offspring.”
I have always known that producing godly offspring is a major part of God’s design for marriage, but I never quite thought of it as the primary purpose.
As I was thinking about his words, I read one day in my devotions from Malachi 2:13-15 (emphasis mine). 13 Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. 15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.
Other Scriptures support the idea that God is very concerned that we raise children who know Him and His truth. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 specifically instructs us to teach our children God’s truth every day and all day. Proverbs 22:6 instructs us to “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
As I have been mulling over Dr. Tackett’s bold statement, I have come to a few conclusions. First, whether or not we agree that producing godly offspring is the primary purpose of marriage, we can all agree that it is surely one of the primary purposes of marriage. As I have been thinking about this fact, it has dawned on me how secular we have become as Christians when it comes to marriage. Couples are waiting later and later to get married and have children because children are such an inconvenience to their life plans. Couples often count the financial cost and decide that they can only afford to have one or two children. When couples do have children, they often see them as an extension of their own personal desire for pleasure or happiness. Perhaps this is why so many parents try to relive their childhood through their kid’s lives. We often try to give our children everything we didn’t have, and some even try to fulfill unfulfilled childhood dreams through their kids. As a result of trying to live through our kid’s lives, as well as make ourselves look like the perfect parents, we often drag our kids through life ignoring what is best for them.
Our lack of a more biblical approach to marriage and parenting is literally destroying Christian culture. Whereas Muslims in many places are producing more than eight children per family, Christians are producing far less. Some project that in just a few decades, Islam will rule Europe simply because of the large gap in birth rates.
If we really believe that “producing godly offspring” is one of God’s primary reasons for marriage, maybe we should start producing more children. The Christian family is the #1 tool to produce new Christians. Lest someone assume that I come from the “no birth control” school of thought, I don’t. My parents had nine children, but my wife and I were only able to have two. However, if we are going to obey God’s command to “fill the earth” with godly offspring, then maybe we need to set aside some of our secular concepts of the family and get back to filling the earth!
Second, producing more offspring is pretty simple. However, producing godly offspring is a bit more complex. We read in Malachi that God is seeking “godly offspring.”
As Christian parents, we must do everything in our power to make sure that our children are godly. It never ceases to amaze me how protective we are over our children physically but then we seem to relax when it comes to their spiritual and mental protection.
When our oldest daughter was entering the second grade, we relocated from an urban setting to a more rural community. Most of our church member’s children attended non-Christian schools and urged us to enroll our daughter in their “almost” Christian, public schools. I decided to visit the non-Christian school our daughter would be attending. After interviewing with the vice-principal of the school, I simply could not allow this nice lady with a totally unbiblical worldview to take over the education of our daughter. I gave it serious thought, but I couldn’t take the advice of the good people in our church because I had made a commitment to my daughter and to God to protect her heart and mind from falsehood.
I have known from the first day I held my daughters that my main mission in life is to lead them to know, love, and serve Christ. I have never cared what others thought about how I was raising our girls. I only cared that they knew the truth and loved Jesus. By God’s grace, at 21 and 18 years old, they both love Jesus and are preparing to give their lives in service to Him.
It has been my great joy in life to help parents lead their children to godliness. In the churches I pastored, we made a huge emphasis on family, children, and youth ministries. In the last church I led, we started a Christian school and were able to lead our kids toward godliness 180 days out of the year. What an amazing opportunity.
Now I am privileged to lead Renewanation, and I can’t describe the level of excitement I live with each day as we give more and more children a biblical worldview education and lead them to be “godly offspring.”
If one of the primary purposes of marriage is to produce godly offspring, we must do everything in our power to make sure we do not lose our kids’ hearts and minds to the godless philosophies of this world.
Every movie, song, and television show is written either from a Christian perspective or a non-Christian perspective. These forms of media are either leading our children to be godly offspring or ungodly offspring.
Every educational system is built on a Christian foundation or a non-Christian foundation. There is no neutral system. Every textbook is written from a biblical perspective or a non-biblical perspective. Every teacher is either teaching from a Christian perspective or a non-Christian perspective. It is impossible to leave our worldviews at the front door of the school.
When we realize that the average child in America will spend more than 30,000 hours from 6-18 years of age involved in popular media and school, and only 1,000-2,000 hours at church, we should realize how much we must guard our children’s hearts and minds.
In the years to come, we hope to help many more parents fulfill the biblical mandate to raise up young men and women who can truly be called, “godly offspring.”
Jeff Keaton is the founder and CEO of Renewanation. A successful pastor, church and school planter, and a ministry entrepreneur, Jeff has invested his adult life into helping people grow spiritually. He speaks across America challenging the church to reach the world for Christ and to get involved in the great cause of giving children a Christian worldview education. He is the author of The Life of Radical Faith. Visit his website at jeffkeaton.net.
This article originally appeared in The Renewanation Review® magazine. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted here by permission of Renewanation. For more information regarding Renewanation, visit renewanation.org.