Did You Meme That?

Blaming Grandparents Unbiblically

by Mary E. Stephens
Sept. 2019


"The test of a parent's Christianity is his children's children! It is not enough that my children walk in the ways of the Lord. The true test is where my grandchildren and great-grandchildren continue to walk in God's ways."  - Nancy Campbell from Above Rubies Ministry (aboverubies.org)

This quote probably sounds really convicting and/or inspiring to some people. But, the truth is that it is a lie. The reason is that it is in direct contradiction to the word of God.

People like to think that if they live just right and do everything just the way their teachers tell them God likes it, their descendants will turn out to be good, godly Christians. (Notice that it's the teachers that they listen to, not God's word.) The "christian" patriarchy movement has served up this lie in various ways by teaching parents and grandparents that they are personally responsible for the future, salvation, and Christianity of their children. This is a false teaching, perhaps we should even say heresy since it can directly affect the doctrine of salvation.

What does God actually say about this specific subject?

First of all, you can't be saved for someone else, nor can you make them become Christians by your striving. This includes your children and grandchildren.

Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Please notice that so important "thou" in that passage. In the King James Version the translators used a method to show the difference between "you" singular and "you" plural. Because we don't have a good way to distinguish this in English generally they used "ye" and "you" to show the plural and "thee" and "thou" to show the singular - the group versus the individual. See how important that is in this passage? It is the individual that must confess and believe! That means every child must make this decision for her or him self. The parents cannot do it for them and the grandparents cannot do it for them.

John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

While we have to choose to confess and believe in our own hearts, it is nevertheless the will of God that brings us salvation. We cannot impose our will upon Him. However, The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9  It is God's will that all should repent and become sons of God. So, although we may refuse, it is ultimately God's will that we come to salvation and also it is His will, not our own that saves us or anyone else.

Some people have a hard time understanding why and how God can love the world (John 3:16-17) and not be willing that any perish and yet still allow us a free will to choose to reject Him. Some things we cannot fully understand in our human thinking and feeling. Here's an example that we can understand: You can love your children and be willing for them to be born again and follow the Lord, but you can (and must) still give them their free will and allow them to choose for themselves. If you try to force salvation and holy living upon them, in fact, you may have the exact opposite result that you desire. God does not force salvation upon us.

This is not to say that you don't demand order and right living in your home, but your teaching and chastening cannot produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness (See Hebrews 12). Only if they are born again will the Spirit of God be able to produce the fruit of the Spirit in their lives (Galatians 5:22). Only a true child of God can receive the chastening from God that "yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness" (Hebrews 12:11).

We cannot do anything perfectly in this life, but we can walk in humility and strive for holiness. If the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren reject that, it does not mean that your Christian faith was flawed as Mrs. Campbell so boldly asserts (without a shred of scripture to support her statement here, by the way).

Secondly, we give account for ourselves, not others.

Romans 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

In this same chapter it says, For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. Romans 14:7 So we see that we don't live to ourselves, we do affect others with our lives; but we give account of ourselves to God as individuals. Every one for himself. (Up to a point we are accountable to the body of Christ on certain issues, but that's another subject for another time.) If we give the gospel to someone and live a godly example before them and they reject it, that is not our responsibility. Parents and grandparents, pay attention. You should be a godly example, but don't spend your life grieving that you failed because one of your offspring doesn't follow the Lord. This is a common problem, and it is this false guilt that Nancy Campbell is playing on. More on that shortly.

Since the people pushing so-called Biblical Patriarchy like to go back to the Old Testament to drag up all kinds of responsibilities to foist on New Testament believers, let's just look at something God said on this specific subject back there.

Ezekiel 18:1-20 The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour's wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman, And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment; He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.
If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things, And that doeth not any of those duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour's wife, Hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination, Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.
Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father's sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like, That hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, hath not defiled his neighbour's wife, Neither hath oppressed any, hath not withholden the pledge, neither hath spoiled by violence, but hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment, That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live.
As for
his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity. Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

This is a long passage but, as you can see, we needed the whole thing in this discussion. Even under the Old Testament law God did not use the son, grandson, and obviously great-grandson as the measure of a man's godliness! Why would He change that now? Of course He wouldn't! Nancy Campbell's claim is not only unbiblical, it is blatantly defiant to the clear words of God!

In Numbers 16 when God caused the ground to open and swallow up the rebellious Korah and Dathan and Abiram and all that were with them, if you don't read closely you might think that all of Korah's sons were destroyed at that time. However, a close reading will show that in the case of Korah it doesn't specifically say all his children. We know that not all of his children were destroyed because later the sons of Korah show up ministering in the temple and having psalms written for them. Then in 1 Chronicles 6 where the lineage of the Levites is given, we find that Samuel himself was a descendent of Korah. Obviously God did not destroy all of Korah's sons because their father was a wicked rebel!

Eli was punished because, although he verbally rebuked his sons for their sins, he ate the offerings and sacrifices of God that his sons had polluted, as evidenced by his own overweight body. See 1 Samuel 2 and 4:18.

David, despite his many mistakes and the just chastening he received for them, was not held responsible by God for Solomon's sins nor for the sins of Rehoboam.

Why would Nancy Campbell say such a cruel anti-biblical thing?

Without knowing her exact mind, but having read enough of her stuff to know her arrogance and superior attitude, I'm going to make some suggestions.

In case you haven't noticed, there are kids who grow up in the same family with the same teaching - the same parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents who love and believe God. Yet some of them will sometimes go off into wickedness and unbelief while others will hold fast to the truth and faith in Jesus Christ. It isn't uncommon.

However, it is very painful to the parents and grandparents (and great-grandparents, if living) when a child chooses to leave the way of truth entirely or to live as a carnal Christian. This pain is money in the pockets of so called Christian family experts and teachers if they can capitalize upon it. Yeah. You got it. For the love of money is the root of all evil... 1 Timothy 6:10 2 Peter 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you...

Satan knows that there are many people who love money more than truth. If he can get them to abuse the saints by teaching them lies in such a way that they can fill the teachers' pockets with money, he wins two ways. It is a useful tactic for him because the hirelings (those who only "minister" for gain) don't care how unbiblical their teaching is or how much they hurt the saints in cruelty, as long as they can keep them handing over their money to the "expert." (The "donate" button is prominently displayed on Mrs. Campbell's web page, by the way.)

Guilt is a very powerful tool both of the adversary and those who do his work. You can motivate people with guilt when they won't be motivated with love, hope, faith, or much anything else. That is thick in certain groups within Christendom. If you can make people feel guilty enough, and if you can convince them that you are the only one with the best method to resolve that guilt, you can keep them coming back for more indefinitely. Cha-ching! ($$$)

Also, people who are consumed with grief (over their loved ones in this instance) and guilt are less likely to think things through clearly. Some of the most irrational grief I've seen in my lifetime has been parents bemoaning the behavior of their children and taking false responsibility for those children's foolish choices - even when they have had other children who were walking in truth and following the Lord based upon the same upbringing!

So, do you see what Mrs. Campbell is doing in the quote? She is patently lying to people about God and putting them in a position of guilt and misery with a false measure. And, ultimately, this may be financially profitable to her if those miserable people go to her web site and purchase products from her, attend her speaking events, or make donations.

Yes, there are some things we should feel legitimate guilt for, but whether your descendants walk with God is not one of them, as the Bible clearly says. In fact, you may be a rotten person and still have godly children, grandchildren, and/or great-grandchildren. It isn't going to impress God if you didn't walk in His truth yourself.

The true test of your Christianity is not whether your children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren follow the Lord. They may, and if they do that is a great blessing. But, your fruit is not dependent upon whether or not your own descendants follow the Lord. The true test of you Christianity is have you obeyed God's word? Have you walked in obedience to God's commands for the New Testament believer? Do you have the fruit of the Spirit in your life? Do you have fruit that remains because it came from the Lord? Do you love those who follow Jesus Christ?

Ephesians 5:8-10 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 15:16-17 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another.

Don't let anyone rob you of your peace in Christ with false accusations and lies.

Hebrews 10:35-36 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

graphics by Mary Stephens
vintage graphic: unknown
posted Sept. 2019