Families Can ‘Redeem Time’ While at Home Together to Learn More about Ascension and Pentecost in May
Southern Evangelical Seminary President Dr. Richard Land: Proverbs 22:6—Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go—Is the Greatest Charge for Any Parent
April 27, 2020
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Families have been forced into isolation with one another, and as the weeks stretch on, they must ask themselves, “Are we using our time wisely?”
Has there been increased screen time or family members retreating into separate rooms? Or are there meals at the table, time for puzzles, games and family-friendly films, and opportunities for deep faith conversations about the historic Christian faith?
Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu) President and Evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land hopes the latter is true. This is a perfect chance to “redeem time,” he said, and for families to take this slowdown to reground themselves in the Christian faith, especially with Ascension and Pentecost on the calendar for May 21 and May 31, respectively.
“Proverbs 22:6 reminds us, ‘Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it,’” Land said. “In fact, this is not a reminder—it is a charge, perhaps the greatest charge for any parent.”
Land explored this topic in his regular weekly for The Christian Post, where he serves as executive editor. These concepts will also make their way into online classroom discussions next month, as Land prepares for his one-week livestreaming Ethics class at Southern Evangelical Seminary, where he will explore with students how God gets people’s attention, how ethics are biblically based and much more.
“I must confess that my views on the importance of symbols advocating for, and discipling people in, the Christian faith have evolved over the course of my Christian life,” Land wrote. “I was reared, converted and discipled in a strong ‘free church’ tradition (Southern Baptist) in which I confessionally and happily remain today. However, growing up in that tradition, I was taught to look askance at the various celebrations and observances of the Christian calendar beyond Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter as ‘smacking of Roman popery’ and thus, to be avoided at all costs.”
He was first “liberated” from this truncated understanding of Christian history while attending Princeton University, where he was exposed for the first time to the rich and deep heritage of Christian theology and social teaching within Catholicism, both leading up to (Augustine, Aquinas, etc.) and following (Rerum novarum and Centesimus annus, etc.) the Reformation.
“I realized I could benefit greatly from this rich tradition and heritage without compromising any of my Baptist convictions and have done so repeatedly over the years since,” he said. “In recent years, this has expanded to a new appreciation for the evangelizing and pedagogical uses of symbols, including at least the five events in the Christian liturgical calendar that most Evangelicals recognize and at least to some degree follow: Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost.
“Since I have been a professor, among other things, most of the past 50 years, I have also come to deeply appreciate in new and significant ways how powerful symbols can be both in evangelizing and discipling students of every age,” he added. “This personal journey has caused me in recent years to particularly reevaluate the evangelistic and discipleship opportunities that are available in the observance of the Ascension and Pentecost in the Christian liturgical calendar.”
Land reminded that we are currently in the period between our observance of the Resurrection at Easter and the observance of the Ascension of our Savior into heaven 40 days after Easter (Acts 1:1-11) and Pentecost 10 days after that.
“This is a wonderful time, as families are ‘sheltering in place,’ to take the opportunity of the observance of the Ascension and of Pentecost as extremely ‘teachable’ moments for our personal families, our church families and a larger watching audience that is currently more sensitized to spiritual things by the pandemic and have more time on their hands with which to ponder such things.”
SES has announced its 2020 National Conference on Christian Apologetics (NCCA), set for Oct. 16-17 in Charlotte. The seminary will focus on the theme of “Hold Fast” for the 27th annual conference by welcoming some of the nation’s top apologetics speakers. The early bird deadline for tickets is Aug. 1, and SES is offering a free apologetics Bible to early ticketholders.
To interview Dr. Richard Land of Southern Evangelical Seminary, contact Hamilton Strategies, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or ext. 102.