FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Knowing God’s Truth

with Al Mohler | May 27, 2016
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You have a lot of things to teach your children before they reach adolescence. Shouldn't God's law be one of them? Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Seminary, tells parents why teaching their children the Ten Commandments is vital to their children's spiritual and emotional health.

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  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • You have a lot of things to teach your children before they reach adolescence. Shouldn't God's law be one of them? Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Seminary, tells parents why teaching their children the Ten Commandments is vital to their children's spiritual and emotional health.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Seminary, tells parents why teaching their children the Ten Commandments is vital to their children’s spiritual and emotional health.

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Knowing God’s Truth

With Al Mohler
May 27, 2016
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Bob: As parents, we have a variety of responsibilities when it comes to raising our children. Dr. Al Mohler says there is one responsibility that rises above all others.

Al: There is a basic judgment in the Old Testament that I think we need to hear. I think we need to receive the full force—and that is this: “Our children will be pagans if we do not give them the instruction, the discipline, the guidance, the teaching—the gospel—because the default position, as the Bible understands it, is paganism.”

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, May 27th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We have a responsibility to pass along to our children the knowledge of God but also to model for them the love of God. We’ll hear more about that today from Dr. Al Mohler. Stay tuned.


And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. You know, the guy we’re going to hear from today—you spoke with him one time, and you gave a message that had 40 points.[Laughter] Forty points!

Dennis: It was “Forty Points from Forty Years of Marriage.”

Bob: I know, but—

Dennis: It was at Southern Seminary. These guys have heard it all. So, I thought I would summarize my life—

Bob: —40 points!

Dennis: —in a one-hour message—two-and-a-half minutes per point. [Laughter] And I finished on time!

Bob: You did finish on time. I was sitting in the front row, listening to you and thinking, “How is this ever going to work?!” I mean, these are guys who are taught to give a three-point, or a four-point, or a five-point sermon. You’re giving them 40 points on marriage.


Dennis: And the gentleman you’re going to hear speak, here in a few minutes, is the notorious and notable President of The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Dr. Al Mohler.

Bob: He got up after you spoke.

Dennis: He did.

Bob: And he shared a little of his own marriage story.

Dennis: Yes; but he began by saying, “Hold it! How do you follow—

Bob: —“40points!” [Laughter]

Dennis: —“a message that has 40 points?” And I get that. I thought: “You know—you’re right. I’m sorry [you have] to follow that.” But he did a great job of sharing about his own marriage. He also came here, to FamilyLife, and spoke—and gave a message, here to our staff, about leaving a legacy—from Deuteronomy, Chapter 6.

Bob: He did. And you and I both agree—Dr. Mohler is one of the voices in our culture today speaking about how our biblical faith ought to be integrated into the culture today.

Dennis: Yes. I think we need to be hearing from prophets like Dr. Mohler today—men who are really warning us about what’s happening and the need for us to pay attention to doing the most important thing today.


I don’t think we talk enough about this subject of: “What kind of legacy we are going to leave. How are we running the race? How will we finish the race? How will our lives be summarized?” Your marriage and your family are central and core to the legacy you’re going to leave.

Bob: Our listeners, I think, are going to enjoy what we’re about to hear from Dr. Al Mohler from Deuteronomy, Chapter 6—a message on the importance of passing on a spiritual legacy.

[Recorded Message]

Al: Deuteronomy, Chapter 6, is about how not to raise a pagan. The word, pagan, is one of those words that is not very politically-correct in the 21st century, but it is absolutely necessary to understanding the Bible and what it means to be God’s people. One of the distinctions found in both of the testaments is the distinction between the children of light and the children of darkness—between those who are the covenant people of God and then those who are pagans. What it means to be pagan is, very simply, not to be among those who know, and worship, and obey the one true and living God.


Now, in the 21st century, we have very dressed-up, more sophisticated forms of paganism than you find as Israel encountered these in Canaan. But they are—for their sophistication—just all the more deadly, and all the more dangerous, and all the more alluring.

There is a basic judgment in the Old Testament that I think we need to hear. I think we need to receive the full force—and that is this: “Our children will be pagans if we do not give them the instruction, the discipline, the guidance, the teaching—the gospel—because the default position, as the Bible understands it, is paganism.” You notice the focus on children here comes at the beginning and at the end of this passage in Deuteronomy 6.

In Deuteronomy 6, we have the very clear instruction about your son—and your grandson in verse 2.


The context here is very, very clear! Moses is saying, “Look, if your son and your grandson is to be found in the land of promise, as God’s people, it’s going to be because they were taught, it’s going to be because they were disciplined, it’s going to be because you will insure that they know and are accountable for the knowledge of what it means to be God’s covenant people.” It comes at the end of this passage—as there is this beautiful recitation where Moses speaks to the children of Israel, and says, “When your son comes to you, and asks you, ‘What do these statutes mean?’ then you tell him.” 

Now, this is an all-encompassing educational responsibility for Israel; but notice how it is directed, primarily, to children—to the covenant children here. They will only know God if they are taught. Deuteronomy, Chapter 6, is about teaching doctrine. The word “doctrine,” of course, means teaching.


But we’re in an age in which Christianity is marked by a great deficit of teaching; in which Christianity is compromised by a great deal of false teaching.

Here, the children of Israel are told that their first responsibility, as God’s covenant people—as they prepare to enter into the land of promise—is to teach. They are to teach their sons and they are to talk of these laws / of these words. The words there refer primarily to what you find in Deuteronomy, Chapter 5—the actual ten words—the Ten Commandments.

But they become symbolic of the totality of all that God has spoken to His people. These words here: “You should teach them to your sons. You shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” They’re very specific things they’re told to teach. They’re told to teach monotheism—the exclusivity of the God who has made covenant—the fact that He is the only God. You will see very clearly, “You shall not follow other gods,”—you see in verse 14—“any of the gods of the peoples who surround you…” That’s a great danger.


They were going into a land of promise, but that land of promise was very much inhabited. It was inhabited by people who had idols and had built high places. The reality is that our children, today, are in a land just like this. Our children are in a land in which they, also, are surrounded by pagan worship, by pagan idols, and by high places of worship.

One of the things that is in the background to the warning, here from Moses, is the reality that these things are alluring to the eye / they are fascinating to the mind. They are often popular, and they are cherished, and they are sacred to a people committed to paganism. That’s very much where we are today.

Doctrine is so very important because we need to understand that, contrary to so many of the contemporary psychologies of children, our most important task, as parents, is not to figure out what is in them, but to put in them what must be put in them for them to be God’s people.


The psychologies of the self—of the modern and post-modern world—are psychologies that assume the goodness of the human being and that the human being is the source of all wisdom. So, much of what goes on in the name of contemporary education, and pediatrics, and the entire world of the therapeutic has to do with helping children to be who they want to be.

Let me just give you a little hint: In the Bible, there are 66 books, here, about how not to raise your children to be who they want to be and who they would be otherwise. Instead, what we have is a canon of Scripture about how to raise them not to be pagans. It begins with teaching—they’re not going to know these things if they are not taught. Time and time again, Israel is told, “You teach.” Every single member of the covenant people is a teacher.

Most specifically, every parent is a teacher. One of the first callings of the parent is to teach, lest our own children become pagans, because if we do not teach—it is not that they will not be taught—


—it’s that they will be taught by teachers who will teach a very different reality / teachers who will inculcate paganism in our own children because, if we do not teach them, they, nonetheless, will be taught. “You shall teach them diligently to your sons. You shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

You have to teach them very specific things. They are to teach the Law. That is very, very important. That was central to Israel’s responsibility. Parents were to teach their children the Law. That is the reality.

It gets to the second issue here, which is discipline, because to teach is to discipline. To teach is to have disciples or followers. To be disciples is to learn a discipline—it is to follow. Now, we use the word, discipline, in an altogether too restrictive sense. I’m thankful we use it in any sense at all, to tell you the truth, in a world as confused as ours.


We confuse discipline with punishment. Now, here’s bad news for modern and for pre-modern humanity here; that is, that punishment is a necessary part of discipline because we are a hard-headed people. It still remains true that a good many of the lessons that must be learned by discipline are learned by punishment.

However, discipline is an overarching term which means “the making of a disciple”—it means to inculcate, not only knowledge of the head, but a following in the way because that’s what Israel is called here to do. Parents are to make certain that their children know enough that they actually follow in the way. They become—not only those who are aware of the covenant / not only those who are aware of the Law—but those who obey the Law. Look how many times obey comes in here. And the default position, again, is that if they are not taught, they will not know. They also have to be taught in such a way that they are disciplined by that teaching and so that they obey / so that they follow.


The warnings here are very clear, as you see the warnings especially for Israel entering into the land of conquest in verse 10: “Then it shall come about, when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and other trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied,” then what?—then comes grave and deadly danger—“then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” That’s the great danger—is that God’s people forget and, in that forgetfulness, they will disobey; and in that disobedience, they will stray.

Evangelical churches are experiencing the phenomenon of having young people graduate from high school and then disappear from the life of the church.


The reality is that we do not have to have anything above anecdotal evidence, in terms of our own knowledge, to realize that we are failing to do here what Israel was commanded to do. The proof is in the fact that we see our own children walking away and entering into a paganism that we are to teach and discipline them to reject.

The last word is diligence. It comes up again in verse 17—we read, “You should diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God.” Diligence is required because this is not an anecdotal, once-in-a-lifetime, every once in a while responsibility. This is the full-time, birth-to-death responsibility of the people of God. There is no opportunity to let the guard down. There is no safe place where we can say, “This task is accomplished.”

There will always be the need to teach and to discipline the people of God, starting at the family to teach and to discipline children.


It’s diligence. The diligence here—the context, here, of God’s covenant people—the importance of the family is made clear at the end of this passage when the son comes to the father and says: “Why do we have these laws? Why do we have to live this way? Why can we not give ourselves to the idolatrous practices that they know and do? Why can we not do these things?”

Well, it comes down to this: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt; and the one true and living God brought us out, with His mighty hand and His outstretched arm. He brought us out of that bondage in order that He could bring us in here. He preserved us. We are a people who belong to the one true and living God. It is grace to us to know how He would have us to live—for a God, who would rescue us from bondage to Pharaoh, would give us what we need to know in order to live to His glory.”


You’ll notice that, time and time again, in Deuteronomy, Chapter 6, it also says, “…and for our good.” It is our blessed knowledge to know that what brings God greatest glory is where we will find our greatest good and we will experience our greatest joy.

We’re in an altogether different position than this parent in Israel because, when our son or our daughter comes to us and says, “What do these things mean?” we do tell the story of an exodus; but it’s not an exodus from slavery to Pharaoh in Egypt. It’s an exodus from slavery to sin: “Child, but for the grace of God, we would be just as everyone else.


“But for the fact that God loved us in His Son, the Lord, Jesus Christ, we wouldn’t live in a way any differently or any better than anyone else—but for the fact that God, in Christ, was reconciling sinners to Himself, we would be just as hopeless.

“But the Lord God brought us out of slavery to sin and did so by His Son who died on Calvary’s cross and shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins. We are a purchased people. That means not just that we can’t live as others live—it means that we don’t have to live as others live. It’s grace to us.”


When your son asks you, in time to come, saying, “What mean these things?” that’s when we’ll find out what it means to see the glory of God in the family—writ large the glory of God in the church—the glory of God in a fallen world—when God’s people say, “Let me tell you what these things mean.”


Bob: Well, we’ve been listening today to Dr. Al Mohler, the President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. In our day, in this culture, living distinctively Christian lives—as it relates to marriage, as it relates to family, as it relates to gender and sexuality—this is so counter-cultural that we can’t help but be noticed by our neighbors and our co-workers, who look at us and wonder why we’re not going along with the cultural flow.


When people live their lives according to what the Scriptures teach, they’re sending a powerful spiritual message.

Dennis: They are. In fact, Bob, just as an illustration of that—part of my heritage that I was handed was given to me by O.T. and Bertha Rhea—R-h-e-a was their last name.

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: That was my mom’s mom and dad—my grandparents.

Bob: O.T. and Bertha.

Dennis: O.T. and Bertha. I have, in my office, the wedding topper from when they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. [Laughter] Now, that may sound kind of corny; but I’m going to tell you something—even as a boy, in the 1950s, my radar was up. I don’t know where we were—I couldn’t tell you that—but etched in my mind is my big, tall, strapping grandpa—white-haired—O. T. His name was Oliver Theodore.


They called him O.T. for short. Standing next to him was a little spit of a woman, Bertha. She was no wimp!—she was a spitfire. [Laughter]

Grandma and Grandpa were standing there, behind that cake. It’s funny how a child can lock onto an image and think, “That’s the way it was meant to be.” Bertha died before O.T. did. He died not long after her death—I wonder if not from a broken heart, truthfully—from his life partner going away. They went through life together / they did life. They had a big family. They had a lot of fun. They were dirt poor.

He left a legacy of keeping his promise. I think we’re in need today, as never before, to revisit the promise that we make, how we keep our covenant, how we live in the power and the promise of that covenant, and how that does leave a legacy like Dr. Mohler was talking about today.



Bob: We want to say to one another, and say to our friends, and our communities around us: “Marriage is a good thing. Being committed to one another / going the distance with one another—that is a good thing. It’s good for you. It’s good for your kids.

It’s good for the community.” There aren’t a whole lot of voices saying that today.

Dennis: Let’s talk about what’s right about marriage. Let’s talk about how God designed it, without apologizing—talk about how we can stand strong in the midst of a culture that may not believe the way we believe anymore. That doesn’t mean that we should shrink back and huddle in a cave somewhere.

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: It kind of reminds me of the day of David and Goliath; you know? The Philistines were stomping through the valley, wanting to pick a fight. All the Israelites were hiding out until a little boy came up with five smooth stones and trusted God, and God gave him victory.


I just wonder, if a few of us step up and decide to say: “Here I stand. I’m not going to apologize for what I believe. I’m also not going to be rude, or hateful, or unloving; but I’m going to speak the truth in love. I’m going to stand for marriage,”—kind of repeat Joshua’s statement in Joshua 24: “As for me and my house, we’ll serve the Lord.

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: “We’ll build our house according to God’s blueprints. We’re going for it!”

Bob: Yes. How we live out our lives, according to what the Scriptures teach—that’s going to be as loud—in fact, maybe a louder statement that we make in this culture—than whatever it is we have to say. I’m thinking of Dr. Mohler’s new book, which is called We Cannot Be Silent. He’s talking about the issues that are facing us as a culture today and talking about how we respond to them as followers of Christ.


I think what you’re saying is that, fundamentally/foundationally, we have to respond with the integrity of our lives, first and foremost; and then what we say has to be in concert with that. We can’t be saying one thing and living something else.

I’d encourage our listeners, by the way, if you’ve not read Dr. Mohler’s new book, We Cannot Be Silent, it’s a book that we have in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. Dr. Mohler is one of the leading thinkers in our day when it comes to issues of theology and Christian worldview, and his new book is a classic. Again, it’s called We Cannot Be Silent. You can order it online at Our website, again, is; or call 1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY,” to order a copy of Dr. Mohler’s book.


Now—an end-of-the-week “Congratulations!” to Tim and Cheryl Maslowski—who live in Cold Spring, Minnesota—27 years ago today, they became husband and wife. They listen to FamilyLife Today on KTIG, and they are Legacy Partners. In fact, they went to the Weekend to Remember® here just a couple of months ago. We wanted to say, “Happy anniversary!” to the Maslowskis and to all of you who may be celebrating anniversaries this weekend.

FamilyLife is the Proud Sponsor of Anniversaries. We are celebrating a milestone of our own this year—we began, as a ministry, 40 years ago this year. We thought it would be a good idea to highlight the year by talking about anniversaries, and why they’re important, and thinking about all the anniversaries that have happened because of how God has used FamilyLife in the lives of many couples over the last four decades. All of that could not have happened if it weren’t for folks, like you, who help make this ministry possible through your contributions / your financial support.


We had some friends come to us recently—recognizing that, not only is this our 40th anniversary, but also the summer months tend to be a little slower for ministries like ours / donation revenue tends to decrease. These friends wanted to make sure that we headed into the summer months in a good position, financially; so they agreed that they would match every donation we received, during the month of May, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, up to a total of $350,000.

So again, next week is our last opportunity to take advantage of this matching-gift opportunity. If we’re going to do that, we need to hear from you. Would you consider making an online donation today? Go to and donate, or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to donate. Or mail your donation to us at FamilyLife Today at PO

Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; our zip code is 72223.


And with that, we have to wrap things up for today. Thanks for being with us. Hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together in church this weekend. And I hope you can join us back on Monday, when we’re going to talk about a tragedy that has been experienced by many of our listeners. A number of you were victims of sexual abuse or sexual assault when you were a child. We’re going to talk with Dr. Dan Allender about how that experience can impact your life for years. I hope you can tune in on Monday.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.

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