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Evangelicals Say the Darnedest Things: A Parent’s Greatest Fear According to Pastor Joshua Chatman

pastor joshua chatman

If you were to poll parents on their greatest fears for their children, the answers would vary greatly—being victims of abuse, adopting unbiblical ideologies, being exposed to inappropriate material, indulging in destructive behaviors, and so on. But as dreadful and disheartening as those fears are, for the Christian parent, the greatest nightmare is a child never knowing the Lord. As a father of three, I know this fear firsthand. 

I imagine my children living broken adult lives—enslaved to sin, harming themselves and others, never thinking of God, and leaving a trail of destruction behind them. Or, perhaps worse, I imagine them living outwardly pleasant lives—education, career, marriage, children, comfort—and yet neither acknowledging God nor giving thanks. I can all too clearly see the desires and personality traits of their 2-year-old selves taking root and becoming the rotten fruit or hollow triumphs of their adult lives.

— Joshua Chatman, pastor of Midtown Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, The Gospel Coalition, A Parent’s Worst Nightmare, October 2, 2022

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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10 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Darcy

    “leaving a trail of destruction behind them,” Sounds like those Christians in power who abuse power constantly, whether through sex, misuse of money, or general narrow minded thinking.
    “I can all too clearly see the desires and personality traits of their 2-year-old selves taking root…” But two year olds grow up.

  2. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    Isn’t it unbelievable how fear of hell, and a lot of indoctrination, have caused this man to think that his children having happy, functional, successful lives is a BAD thing inf they choose not to partake in his particular religious practices? That’s f#$^ed up.

  3. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Yes,Zoe, that’s what I’m thinking too. He may have been indoctrinated by some writer from the Fundie community, about the natural depravity of children, who need such depravity beaten out of them. Christian bookstores are full of that stuff ! I’ve seen the books. Blatant abuse is often advocated by these authors. That the main reason so many American Christians are basket cases. Raised in brutality.

  4. Avatar
    Augustus

    Has Joshua ever imagined what he would reap, sowing seeds of fear in his two-year-old children? This isn’t 1st century Rome, this is the 21st century, mayhaps some things have CHANGED, and Christian childrearing should recognize the necessity to change with it.

  5. Avatar
    Karen the rock whisperer

    “I can all too clearly see the desires and personality traits of their 2-year-old selves taking root and becoming the rotten fruit or hollow triumphs of their adult lives.”

    Gods below, he’s extrapolating adult personalities from 2-year-olds. This man needs secular parenting classes, stat.

    • Avatar
      Augustus

      Well, coming from where I live, there’s an old saying: “a kid shows what he/she will be like as an old person when he/she is 3 years old”. These kinds of beliefs are not problems that could be solved by secularization alone, the social backdrop calls for full-on modernization.
      And sometimes, humanity as a whole just realizes certain things very slowly. Like the fact an industrialized society changes much faster than a pre-industrial society, making it much harder to predict life courses.

  6. Avatar
    Trenton

    This man is clearly setting up a self fulfilling prophecy for his kids. They might end up doing both and no matter how hard he tries to shelter them from the world, he cant hide them from google forever. He will do them a disservice by not teaching them about the world they live in. If he shelters them too long they will have the worst culture shock ever when they finally do have to figure things out without daddy there to guide them. I shudder at thinking about how damaged they will be when done.

  7. Avatar
    aylogogo77

    “I can all too clearly see the desires and personality traits of their 2-year-old selves taking root and becoming the rotten fruit or hollow triumphs of their adult lives.”

    These kids are going to be abused and may show up years later in therapy (hopefully not the Christian kind) and/or Religious Trauma Syndrome support groups.

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Bruce Gerencser