Dear Unbelieving Mom, Dad, or Grandparent,
Perhaps you are a flat-out denier of the truth of Christianity. Or, perhaps, you would not refer to yourself as an “unbeliever” at all since you do profess to be a Christian. But, for all intents and purposes, you are what is referred to as a “nominal” Christian. In case you did not know, a nominal Christian is a Christian “in name only.” That is, you have not actually been born again and there is no true affection for Christ within you.
Whichever of these two categories you find yourself in these facts remain: There is no genuine fear of God before your eyes. You consistently forsake the gathering of God’s people and do not immerse yourself in God’s Word. Prayer is a bore to you and largely irrelevant unless you need something.
You spend your days on the frivolity and vanity of this passing world. Your great concern is over your bank account or your reputation. Or perhaps you do have great concern for the physical well-being of your children. That is virtuous in the sense that you are made in the image of God and rearing and caring for children is a good thing.
After all, in our godless society, you could have chosen to murder your children in the womb. But you did not, and you seek to provide for the physical needs of your offspring, and for that, I am truly grateful. Though you have turned your back on God, it appears He continues to show a measure of kindness toward you.
Ultimately though, your world revolves around you. Of course, you may feign righteousness before others, but in your heart of hearts, you know that if you could, you would remove God altogether and His (from your perspective) burdensome commandments from your life. Or perhaps you are self-deluded since the Bible teaches us of the heart’s deceitfulness (Jeremiah 17:9). And if you are deceived, you do not know you are deceived, or otherwise, you would not be deceived!
Yet still, you continue to live out your days mostly neglecting real commitment to the local church or to reading the Bible with your children or to teaching them the ways of Christ.
However, none of this erases the reality that the judgment of God is coming. And it is in this regard that I write you this letter today. Consider just a few verses from God’s Word about the impending judgment:
- Romans 2:16 says that one day God will judge “the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.”
- Hebrews 9:27 says that ” it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”
- Romans 14:12 says that “each of us will give an account of himself to God.”
- In Revelation 22:12 Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.”
All of your denial of Christianity, or pretending you are a Christian, does not eliminate the sobering truth that Christ is coming again and that you will be judged and cast off to an eternal Hell, righteously so, for your rebellion against our worthy triune Creator.
And perhaps you think that for the umpteenth time some Bible thumper is going to plead with you to repent and turn to Christ Jesus in faith as your only suitable and all-sufficient Savior. To remind you again that in Christ is mercy and pardon and transformation and real forgiveness and reconciliation with God. That in Christ is real life and hope and peace.
But this is actually not my main purpose in writing you. It’s not that I’m giving up on you per se, just that you have heard the gospel maybe thousands of times in your life and here you sit, still spiritually dead in your trespasses and sins with a cold heart toward God. You have made your bed, as they say, and you will lie in it.
No, I’m writing to appeal to that vestige of the image of God remaining in you. I write to you on behalf of your children. That is, you care so deeply about their worldly success, their athletic achievement, their education, and their physical well-being. But I write to you today to appeal on behalf of their soul.
One day, sooner than they are ready for, your precious little girl or boy will stand before their holy and righteous Maker. And little Johnny or darling Jane will give an account for his or her life. And God will judge them. And if they are outside of Christ, they too will be cast off into utter darkness and eternal damnation along with you. And though they are responsible before the living God for their own sins, will they be able to say, “Mom or Dad never told me the truth of Christianity. They never sought to see my soul escape the awful torments of Hell!”?
It is obvious that your own soul is not important to you at this juncture. But dear mother or father! By the Lord of heaven and earth, are not the souls of your dear children meaningful to you at all!? You have no misery for your own condition, but can you not in the least pity theirs!? Are you so heartless toward your own children that you do not care for their spiritual state? You give them medicine for a cough or help them practice a sport, but do you have no care at all for their status before God?
Do you not understand that your own time in Hell will only be made all the more miserable when you hear the tormenting screams of your own children cursing you for your carelessness toward their eternity?
So, what can be done?
Though it grates against everything in your own soul, for the sake of your children, the greatest advice I can give you is that you must take them to a solid Bible-believing and Bible-preaching church. You have chosen not to hear the summons of God to come to Christ, but perhaps your children will. Quit making Sundays about hunting or sports or family time or whatever and get your children in church for the sake of their immortal souls. You will not share the glories and wonders of Christ with your children, but a gospel-believing church will. Can you not endure one or two hours a week for the sake of the souls of your children?
If you care at all for the eternal state of your children, expose your kids to the Word of God. Buy them a copy of the Scriptures. Read it to them. You let them have all sorts of time on a screen or in front of the television. Do you not have the time to read to them from the Scriptures, though your own soul detests these precepts of God? If you cannot pity your children enough to read to them the Scriptures, exhort them to read the Bible themselves. Do not encourage your children to walk in this path you have chosen. Do not let the generational nominality continue with your offspring.
And I don’t mean to imply that taking your children to a healthy church will automatically make them Christians. But what they will have there is the gospel. And they will see others living out the realities of Christianity in a small way that they can’t see in their parents. Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to use these blessed means to convert your children.
I understand this is a bold thing to request. And that the likelihood of you acquiescing to such a plea might be low. But I too am a parent. And I understand the kind of love a parent has for a child. And I ask that, though your own heart is cold and resistant to Christ, you consider the preciousness of your dear children. Don’t let them become another you, wasting their lives on the temporal only to stand before the Lord one day and Him to say, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”
You force your children to attend to their studies when they don’t want to because you know it’s good for them. You force them to go to the dentist when they don’t want to because you know it’s good for them. You make them practice basketball when they don’t want to because you know it will help them get better. Can you not then swallow your pride and resistance and expose them to the gospel in a local church since it is good for their soul?
Consider these words Moms and Dads. And I pray that you heed them. Christ is King and we will all give an account for how we have reared our children. What a gift they are to us! Please care for them accordingly.
For the Sake of His Name,
Allen S. Nelson IV
Pastor, Perryville Second Baptist Church