The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Spiritual humidity

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Cornelius Van Til gives us a taste of his childhood in his essay,  Why I Believe in God. Referring to an occasion in which, sleeping in the family barn one night, he felt a child’s terror of the dark and its inexplicable noises, he speaks of the reaction he knew his parents would have had:

Yet I know what they would have said. Of course there were no ghosts, and certainly I should not be afraid anyway, since with body and soul I belonged to my Savior who died for me on the Cross and rose again that His people might be saved from hell and go to heaven! I should pray earnestly and often that the Holy Spirit might give me a new heart so that I might truly love God instead of sin and myself.

How do I know that this is the sort of thing they would have told me? Well, that was the sort of thing they spoke about from time to time. Or rather, that was the sort of thing that constituted the atmosphere of our daily life. Ours was not in any sense a pietistic family. There were not any great emotional outbursts on any occasion that I recall. There was much ado about making hay in the summer and about caring for the cows and sheep in the winter, but round about it all there was a deep conditioning atmosphere. Though there were no tropical showers of revivals, the relative humidity was always very high. At every meal the whole family was present. There was a closing as well as an opening prayer, and a chapter of the Bible was read each time. The Bible was read through from Genesis to Revelation. At breakfast or at dinner, as the case might be, we would hear of the New Testament, or of “the children of Gad after their families, of Zephon and Haggi and Shuni and Ozni, of Eri and Areli.” I do not claim that I always fully understood the meaning of it all. Yet of the total effect there can be no doubt. The Bible became for me, in all its parts, in every syllable, the very Word of God. I learned that I must believe the Scripture story, and that “faith” was a gift of God. What had happened in the past, and particularly what had happened in the past in Palestine, was of the greatest moment to me. In short, I was brought up in what Dr. Joad would call “topographical and temporal parochialism.” I was “conditioned” in the most thorough fashion. I could not help believing in God — in the God of Christianity — in the God of the whole Bible!

Christian parents: how are you conditioning your children? Either you must or someone else will. You may refrain from ‘indoctrinating’ your children, as the world calls it, when the world and Satan agree to do so the same. Until then, though there be no tropical showers of revival in your home or in your church, make sure you keep the relative humidity very high, that the “olive plants all around your table” (Ps 128.3) may grow up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, being saved and equipped to serve by him.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 27 October 2010 at 16:00

Posted in family

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. How about that – using Van Til to encourage Christian parents. Nice one!

    Mike

    Thursday 28 October 2010 at 10:06


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