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In assigning this subject it was cor­rectly assumed that there should be pre­marital instruction. It should not be neglected, and it indicates a very sad situation when the question has to be asked: By whom should pre-marital in­struction be given? For primarily it suggests that it is being neglected, and there seems to be some doubt as to who should do it. From that point of view it is too bad that we have to discuss it.

Various answers are given to this ques­tion. Some answer: the parents, of course. Others figure that it is easier if strangers will do it and hence sug­gest that the school or church shall give this instruction. Others say it is un­necessary.

That the instruction of the child is the responsibility and obligation of its par­ents is a precept which every Christian should immediately know. Reformed people have insisted on this, all the way through, as is plain from the fact that parents have built and maintained their own schools to teach their children ac­cording to their convictions.

This principle is based on Scripture. The text from Proverbs 22:6 comes to our mind. “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” In Israel the fath­ers were to make known to their children the works of God, Deut. 4:9, 6:7. and 31:13. The Lord visited the house of Eli with judgments, “because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.”

Certainly, when parents are duty bound to instruct their children in the laws of the Lord, does it not follow that they shall instruct their children concerning the sex-relationship? For does not the Lord give commandment concerning the body and the service of the body? Con­sider that, surpassed only by the desire to preserve himself, the sex instinct is the most powerful in man. The marriage relationship is perhaps the greatest re­lationship upon the earth, amongst men. For through it family-life comes into existence, and the family-life is the heart of society. The rearing and training of children is the highest and most respon­sible calling ever given. That young people should be instructed in this is not only highly desirable therefore, but it is highly necessary.

The idea of instructing young people with a view to the marriage relationship has, among many conservative people, seemed immodest and indecent. If this type of people ever had any desire to instruct their children in the sex-relation­ships, they were simply lacking in cour­age to do so.

The reason for this attitude in the past has undoubtedly been caused by a mis­understanding of the marriage relation­ship, together with the corruption of marriage by sin. There has been a shame attached to the sex-relationship, which became evident immediately after the fall, when our parents, having sinned, were aware of their nakedness and be­came ashamed. Our clothing today re­mains the symbol of our shame, for we fell by sin and became naked before God.

However, though the sex-relationship in Paradise was perfect and honorable since God had made man male and fe­male, also after the fall the marriage relation has been sanctified. The promise of Redemption should be fulfilled through the marriage relationship. The women among Israel were blessed in bringing forth children. Paul tells us that mar­riage is honorable. In fact, it is not good that man should be alone. So God has spoken. Furthermore, he has commanded man to multiply and fill the earth and that is only possible by the marriage relationship. Since God made the two sexes it is perfectly normal for young men and women to desire to be married.

One of the most important subjects is the question: How shall parents deal with their children in educating them in re­gard to the seventh commandment. Must parents also instruct their children in regard to the manner of birth, the sig­nificance of sexual life, and concerning danger on this steep path? Interesting questions. Why, because people might doubt whether parents have to warn their children against dangers? Oh, no, such a view would never be upheld in society. Yet people find it unfitting that parents should speak to their children and in­struct them about such “intimate” things. People find it unheard of and irrespon­sible when the veil is removed from such secrecies. People fear realism.

Understand, of course, that tender sub­ject should be treated also with utmost tenderness. He who treats the subject indecently with his children makes a big mistake. On the other hand, those who withhold from their children the impor­tant information about their sexual lives have departed from the proper path. Children must be instructed in these things, and not be left to grope about picking up half-truths and distorted facts, or be left to gather venomous ideas from corrupted playmates, vile literature, ob­scene pictures, and vulgar novels. It is certain that children are going to learn about these things and is it not a great deal better that they should receive their first knowledge from their parents whom they love and trust rather than to be left to find out from some older boy or girl whose mind has already been defiled by a wrong conception of sexual matters

If left to remain ignorant, the child will go to older boys and girls for in­formation and come to look upon his ad­mission into this world as an act of sin on the part of the parents of which they are ashamed. It is by all means impor­tant for our lives that in the days of our youth we do not remain ignorant of the wonderful “mechanics” of our own bodies, with which we were endowed by the Creator. He has made man and woman, He has thus made the sexual organs, and these organs must be used aright to the glory of God, and not to fulfill our lusts and carnal desires.

What reason is there that the sexual impulses should be treated with such secrecy? Why should they be treated as something low and beastly? The sex instinct is sacred, for it is ordained by God for the propagation of the human race. If there is anything evil about the subject, the evil is in our minds.

Concerning the question of the origin of life, just imagine, if possible, the many lies parents will be compelled to account for at the judgment-bar of God! Instead of telling the beautiful story of life and thus gaining their children’s confidence forever, parents turn them away with an absolute lie.

We read in Matt. 12:36, “But I say unto you that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account there­of in the day of judgment.” Are parents keeping this text in mind when they tell their children the stork-myth or the cab­bage-head myth

The question of sex is not unclean, shameful, or sinful. When properly un­derstood, what could be more noble or purer than the sexual instinct? The sexual instincts are divine commands of God and are made sinful when turned into lusts, that is, unlawful desires.

Paul made this plain in his letter to Titus, “Unto the pure all things are pure; but unto them that are defiled and un­believing is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” (1:15).

While it is a fact well known to all that the majority of parents find it diffi­cult to talk to their children about sexual matters, yet that in no way lessens their responsibility. As we have seen, it is first of all the responsibility of the parents to give pre-marital instruction. It is a God-given duty. However, we all know that it is often neglected by them. If this is the case, the Church and our Christian schools are called to admonish and instruct their youth in the truths of God’s Word and in the way of life.

The Christian is placed in many different circumstances while on this earth. Some are characterized by hardships and trials, and others are full of joy and peace. How should the Christian respond? Throughout the Bible there are numerous times where God’s people sang in response to their various circumstances. Singing in response to God’s ordering […]

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The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]

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