A God-Loving...Word-Driven...Ministry-Minded church serving Dover, NH and its surrounding communities for over 35 years.
"Doubting" Thomas and Deconstructionism
The apostle Thomas sometimes gets a bad wrap because of his words the day of Christ's resurrection, "Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe" (John 20:25).
However, in reflecting upon this, should we fault Thomas for not merely taking the disciples' word regarding the resurrection of Jesus?
Thomas was one of The Twelve, hand-picked by Jesus to be a disciple and future evangelist. I believe Christian tradition has Thomas going to foreign lands and spreading the news of Jesus. It would have been one thing for him to tell others, "My friends saw the risen Savior," but quite another for him to be able to say, "I saw him myself. I saw the scars. I felt him, heard him myself, and I believe."
In a way, Thomas's words should be those of children raised by Christian parents everywhere. If Christian parents are seeking to be faithful, they will strive to raise their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord in a loving home environment that elevates Christ, the Scriptures, and the gospel.
But there will have to be a day when the Christian faith becomes the child's, not just the Christianity of the parents. No one has "always been saved." A person becomes born again at a particular point in time, as a supernatural work of God in their heart. Repentant faith occurs, and the Spirit of God regenerates that person.
No child is saved due to the fact that his parents are Christians. A child must turn to God from their own idols to serve the living and true God. God must work in their own hearts independently.
In a sense, every child born into a Christian home must say at some point, "I must see Christ for myself" rather than merely rely on the word of his/her parents. By this I mean he must believe himself. This does not give a license for the children to rebel, though. Remember God gives the home as one of the primary institutions through which order exists in the world. Our children must honor and obey, just as we must lovingly lead, teach, and bring them up.
This idea of "deconstructionism" is popular today, as it describes stories of people once within evangelicalism "deconstructing" their faith and often leaving it altogether. But the reality is that those who leave the faith were never truly in the faith. As John the apostle writes, "they went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us" (1 John 2:19).
There are children of believing parents who are raised in the church and then, for a variety of reasons, end up leaving the church, and even Christianity altogether, revealing the lack of genuine salvation to begin with.
There are other children, raised also by believing parents, who come to genuine salvation themselves. This is a work of God that no parent can manufacture, no matter how many rules are in place, nor how many "family devotions" are had.
Every Christian parent ought to pray for their children: that God would show himself real to them, and that they would believe themselves, turn from their sin, and follow Christ, and end up saying, as Thomas did, "My Lord, and my God!"