Where are we placing our hope, moms?

Learning to rest while trusting God with our children

May 9, 2019

It took about five seconds for bewilderment to set in. It was the first time I’d been to a Babies-R-Us. I was many months pregnant, and my husband and I went in to create a baby registry.

Every package, every sign, every shelf enticed: Successful parenting starts here.

There was the super high-tech car seat if you really wanted your baby to be safe. There was the fancy jogging stroller if you were truly a fit mom. There was the twice-the-price crib for parents who were actually committed to safe sleeping.

And it wasn’t just the big-ticket items either. We were overwhelmed by ecological diapers, organic baby food, and hypoallergenic creams. There were books telling us how to breastfeed or bottle feed, co-sleep or cry-to-sleep, vaccinate or not to vaccinate.

Every click of the scanning gun felt like an important decision. After all, we wanted what was best for our child.

If you’re a mom, especially if you struggle with being “Type A,” you know that bewilderment. You know that anxiety, the suffocation that says I’ve got to get this right, or my kid will be messed up. It starts at Babies-R-Us, but it persists into toddlerhood, the elementary school days, the awkward middle school years, and the pressure-packed, you’re-running-out-of-time, this-kid’s-about-to-launch teen years.

Looking past our strength

Chances are, this Mother’s Day, you’d love some rest. And not just a solid two-hour nap this afternoon (though that does sound amazing and nothing short of miraculous). You’re likely longing for rest that is soul deep—the kind of rest that transcends the physical and comes from genuinely believing that everything is going to be OK.

The world tells us otherwise, and so does our flesh. The motherhood mantra of our day says do more, try harder, your kids’ success and future well-being is on you. And there is some truth to that. Motherhood is a good and hard calling. It is a gift, granted to us by our Creator. He has called us to steward our little ones well. Our job as moms is one of the most important we’ll ever have on this earth. It is worthy of our very best.

Motherhood is a ministry and a missional calling. Like Paul, we must “run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Cor. 9:24). It is right and good for you and me to toil, to teach our children, to do all that we can to present them as mature in Christ (Col. 1:28-29). Like Paul, we work night and day (1 Thess. 2:9).

Yes, our relentless labors on behalf of our children are good and holy work. But—and this is really important‚—all of our efforts can quickly become as strangling and stifling as every must-have baby product in Babies-R-Us, if we put our hope in them alone. Our hard work cannot be the source of our confidence as moms.

Though we may pray for our babies daily from the time we know we’re pregnant or begin the adoption paperwork; though we may have a wonderful church family that helps us to raise our children in the Lord; though we may have the latest catechism book for preschoolers; though we may daily play Scripture lullabies, and nightly conduct family worship; though you and I may practice every good work on behalf of our children, we must not put our hope there.

Looking to Jesus

When Scripture calls us to “run with endurance the race set before us” (Heb. 12:1), it does not include, “because the better your efforts, the better the outcome.” It does not say that success is dependent on you and me.

Rather, the Word of God says, as we run, we must “[look] to Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). It is Jesus who authored and perfects your faith and mine. And it is Jesus who will author and perfect the faith of your children and mine. Only Jesus. Fix your eyes on Jesus.

This Mother’s Day afternoon, I really do hope you get that nap. You are physically tired for good reason. Motherhood is hard. But more than a nap, may you receive real rest. Soul rest. Rest that comes from Christ alone.

Today, know this: Our God is able. Our Father in heaven is kind and good and trustworthy. You and your children are so precious to him that he knows every hair on your head. He knows every hurt, every joy, every burden that you bear. And he does not stand far off. He sent his one and only Son to you—and not only to you, but to your children too.

The strong and capable hands that hold everything together (Col. 1:17) are the same hands that hold you and your babies, and they’re the same hands that were nailed to a cross on our behalf 2,000 years ago. He is merciful and just and goes to every great length for our good and his glory. And—and—he is risen. Our God is alive and at work.

So moms, rest well today knowing that Christ is preeminent over all things (Col. 1:18). That includes you, your motherhood journey, your children’s lives, and all that God will do in and through them in the days ahead.

Jen Oshman

Jen Oshman is a wife and mom to four daughters and has served as a missionary for almost two decades on three continents. She currently resides in Colorado, where she and her husband serve with Pioneers International, and she encourages her church-planting husband at Redemption Parker. Her passion is leading women into a deeper faith … Read More

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24