For a long time, I’ve wrestled with the language we use around “spiritual mothers and fathers”. It’s not so much that I think it is wrong to use these terms (though I personally avoid doing so), but I think there’s something that we can miss when we do. A while back, I wrote about this for Tabletalk Magazine. Here’s a quick excerpt:
A friend of mine’s experience is entirely the opposite of mine. He isn’t the first Christian in his family. He is a pastor’s kid whose father was also the son of a minister. He knows how to check off all the boxes. He knows all the answers he should give when answering Bible questions. He didn’t just attend but led a youth ministry. The expectations on him as a member of a family with a heritage of following Christ were, and continue to be, very different from my own. Considering his family’s legacy, some people would identify him as a fourth- or fifth-generation believer.
But in talking with him, and with other friends, I’ve come to realize that this isn’t right. It’s not how the Christian faith works, and it never has been. God doesn’t appear to see any of us as second-, third-, or thirtieth-generation believers. Although there are many families—and I pray mine will be one of them—that have a long line of faithful believers among them, not a single one of them inherited the Christian faith. Every single believer in these long lines was saved the same way: by grace alone through faith alone (Eph. 2:8). Whether they can pinpoint the exact moment they believed or if believing was as natural as breathing, all believed, and through that belief alone they were credited with the righteousness of Christ (Rom. 4:3). No matter how many believers have preceded us, every Christian is a first-generation Christian.
Check out the rest at TabletalkMagazine.com.