Parental Authority: Embrace or Abdicate?


FoxNews reported that 15-year-olds can obtain state-subsidized sex change operations without parental consent. That’s right – Johnny can leave home for school one morning and come back that evening as Jenny without parental notification. As disturbing as this is, the paramount issue is not about what the Oregon Health Authority will or will not permit nor is it an issue about gender dysphoria. The real issue is one of parental authority.

Authority is the right to lead, govern, or rule. Authority has been passed down by God to carry out His will upon earth. The Bible is clear that parents have authority over children (Deuteronomy 6:7-9, Proverbs 1:8, Ephesians 6:1, Colossians 3:20). Parents are not to abdicate their authority to government, schools, or even the church.

Children are a blessing from God (Psalm 127:3-5, Proverbs 17:6, John 16:21). They are not a social status symbol, a mere tax deduction, or a bipedal “pet.” Rather, God gives children to parents to steward. This stewardship is both a responsibility and a privilege. I am a parent of four children. I am tasked to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Psalm 78:5-6, Ephesians 6:4). I enjoy learning and the education process, as evidenced by the fact I spent 27 of my 47 years in formal education, from kindergarten to advanced degrees. I enjoy teaching my children things about God’s creation, but I fail as a parent if I first and foremost do not teach them about the Creator.

Biblical parenting is a means to flourishing as we participate with the Holy Spirit in making “little Christs.” There is a biological and spiritual aspect to flourishing. Physical procreation is part of God’s design for marriage, for a man and a woman to come together to generate new life. Then, parents are to invest into the spiritual development of children so they can respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit unto salvation. This is part of the reason that homosexuality is a perversion of God’s design. A homosexual couple cannot biologically have a baby or develop the child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Homosexuality does not lead to flourishing.

From a biblical perspective, parental authority trumps government authority. Using the example mentioned in the outset, parental consent should be necessary when a child desires a sex change. When the government tries to take over the family role, it ultimately fails. Government knows law, not grace nor a biblical worldview. It knows society, not a personal relationship. Parents are not to give up their God-given authority, but to secure and maintain it.

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