The World’s Opposition to Parental Discipleship, Part 1

First of a two part series on parental discipleship

by Marcelo A. Tolopilo ©

Recently I was asked by a supporting church to come and give an update on Walking In the Promises. I was happy to do so and as I prepared my spiel it dawned on me afresh that I have essentially been doing the same labor of love for the past thirty one years. My ministry is wonderfully predictable and ever needful.

I continually teach the word of God to people, bringing them under its authority and blessing, and there is one group in particular the Lord consistently targets for me: families, especially parents and grandparents. I encourage these familial shepherds to take the indwelling, renewing, reviving truth they have heard from me, from other servants, and pastors and pour it into their children and grandchildren. In other words, I spend a great deal of my ministry time making disciples, and encouraging disciples to make disciples of succeeding generations. I believe this ministry is near and dear to the heart of God.

Our Lord Jesus commissioned us to make disciples (Matthew 28:19, 20), and there is no better place to start that great missionary endeavor than in our own homes among our most beloved humans (Deuteronomy 6:1-9). I’ve been doing the same ministry for over thirty years because there is an ever present need for it. Truly the call to disciple our children and grandkids is as important today as ever. In fact, I would say that the call to disciple our kids is more urgent today than at any other period in our lifetime. The family is under attack like never before. We can see this conflict on so many fronts but one particular intense flashpoint of our battle for our families rages on the vanguard of the parent child relationship.

The Devil is working overtime to erode the authority of parents and to “liberate” children from the needed leadership of their parents and grandparents. What’s more, the attacks of the enemy are growing more brazen, desperate, and destructive as the war against parents and children intensifies. Take the following two (of many) examples.


On the international front there is an aggressive treaty gaining ground around the world known as The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (known simply as the CRC). It was introduced in 1989 and in 1990 it became binding law for ratifying countries. As of 2023, only one country in the world has not ratified the CRC: the United States.2 This sweeping treaty seeks to fundamentally change the very fabric of the family primarily by stripping parents of their fundamental authority to raise their kids.

The CRC would grant children unprecedented ‘rights’ to break free of their parent’s influence. The CRC’s expressed goal is that “the child should be fully prepared to live an individual life in society…brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations.” For example, under this radical treaty “kids would have the right to choose their own religion.3 Also included in the CRC would be the child’s legal right to appeal parental decisions they find objectionable with guaranteed access to a governmental review. I kid you not. The ultimate authority in such appeals would rest with a government worker.

If this had been actual law when I was raising my kids, I would have spent most of my time as a father in court!

Dad: ”Honey, eat your broccoli.”
Random Tolopilo Kid: ”No! I find broccoli and your tone objectionable.”
Dad: ”O, I’m sorry. Honey, eat your broccoli, please.” RTK: ”No! Call my lawyer.”
Dad: ”To Caesar you have appealed, to Caesar you shall go.”

The litany of enforceable children’s rights in this overreaching document go on and on. We can be thankful this treaty is not yet binding in the US. (The operative phrase is “not yet”! The CRC is gaining support among secular groups.) That said, the more immediate danger and concern for Christian families is the present cultural context that allows such a radical agenda to be openly courted and promoted in our country. Speaking of which …

Closer to to home, here in Crazy Cal, AB 957

Just this last week in California, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill (AB 957) whereby parent(s) in custody cases can lose custody of their child and/or visitation rights for failure to affirm the child’s chosen gender identity (we’re talking children as young as seven years old). According to the bill’s author, if the parent rejects the child’s chosen gender, the parent is rejecting that child. Parent(s) could lose custody and visitation rights for failure to affirm the child’s chosen gender and to provide “gender affirming care.” Why? Because to deny the child’s chosen gender is to act against the health, safety, and welfare of the child.5 While this bill was drawn to address custody battles, its application will certainly be sought in future cases involving a minor’s “right” to transgenderism.

“Natura abhorret vacuum”

Nature abhors a vacuum. This is true in the natural world and it is true in the arena of parenting. My dear friends, we need to actively disciple our children and grandchildren because if we don’t, the world will. This is why the Bible clearly calls us to saturate our lives with biblical truth, allowing it to stir our love for God and out of that abundance mentor our children in it. Nowhere is this important mission stated more clearly and forcefully than in Deuteronomy 6:1-9 which we will look at in our next Lighthouse article.

The world wants to highjack our minds and hearts, catechize our children, and in the process destroy our families. We must push against that onslaught. God desires to enrich our lives with His truth and out of that wealth transform our homes.

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