Reinventing Parenthood

In the Minneapolis StarTribune last month, we read of the new “baby boomlet.” It illustrates how the vessel of culture sails without a biblical rudder.

Alesha, 36, had her first son at age 18. She had her second when she was 26. In neither case did the Minneapolis woman feel compelled to get married in order to be a good parent or to forge a solid parenting partnership with her boys’ dads. . . .

“I do know other moms like me,” said [Alesha], who is getting married in August. “Some of them are in relationships. Some of them have had in vitro. Some of them may want kids, but may not want a partner. . . .

[She] said it’s not that she wasn’t interested in marrying her sons’ dads. But she didn’t consider it a requirement for raising them well. She has maintained a close relationship with both dads, who are intimately involved in raising the boys. They even take vacations together.

My aim in pointing this out is not that I am among the number that flagellate the church for not preventing the sinfulness of the world. The church, of course, is not what we should be, but that is not why the world is sinful. John the apostle did not blame the church when a third of mankind perished in Revelation 9:18.

The reason for pointing it out is 1) to alert us to the way many people who hear us think, and 2) to alert us to the fact that when the culture thinks this way, the church will too without vigilance.

The striking thing to notice is that this young woman is not without a morality of her own. Look at these morally loaded phrases:

  • “good parent”
  • “solid parenting”
  • “raising them well”
  • “intimately involved”
  • “even take vacations together”

Where does she get her notion of “good,” “solid,” “well”? Why does she think that this goodness  involves “intimate involvement” and “taking vacations together.”

When God’s vision for sexuality and marriage and parenting is ignored, there is no compelling warrant for her moral convictions. They are no more valid than the ones she is rejecting.

But of course that will matter very little to her. It may help the church to see this, so as to help our young people think and believe and act biblically. But for the world, the answer is: the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes. And: by this mercy present your bodies to God as living sacrifices of acceptable worship.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.