March 11, 2013

The Preachers' Daughters Will Be Fine

Me and My Preacher Dad (1994)
Tomorrow, Lifetime Television will premiere a new reality series Preachers’ Daughters which the official website calls “a behind-the-alter [sic] look at what happens at home after the sermon.” From the trailer, it looks like most of what happens is gratuitously sexy clothing, lots of behind-the-bleachers kissing, and three preacher dads who are pulling out what remains of their hair.

Reality TV is notoriously unreal, and Christians have never been the darlings of the television screen. But when it comes to preachers’ families, I feel a bit defensive. I am a preacher’s daughter, and I’d like to set the record straight.

Someone might watch this show and think: the sins of the three daughters are shocking; surely this is all hype.

But, no, it’s all true.

Not only do preacher’s daughters sometimes sin in the ways shown in this show’s previews (premarital sex, rebellious immodesty, and blatant defiance of their parents) we usually do so much more.

Preachers’ daughters—the real ones, I mean—are routinely guilty of laziness, pride, selfishness, and lukewarm affections for Christ. We often fail to guard our tongues, to love neighbor as self, and to give thanks in all circumstances. We love the things of this world, and we foolishly neglect to feed on the bread of life.

Preacher’s daughters are a wicked lot.

For every last one of us, the good that we would do, we do not, and the very thing we hate, that we do. And each one of our hundreds of thousands of sins is an offense to a holy God. No reality series on the subject could be shocking enough.

Preacher’s Daughters will almost certainly underestimate our sin. But I think it will underestimate other things, too.

From the previews, I suspect that Preachers’ Daughters is likely to minimize the blessing of having a preacher for a dad. The online trailer opens with scenes of the three preachers, at the end of themselves, in desperate prayer for their daughters. This is right—and all wrong. Yes, preachers trust only in the work of the Spirit for their daughters’ salvation. But preachers have also been given the very tools that the Spirit uses—they know how to point people to Christ.

Too often, preachers are portrayed as being either afraid of sin, surprised by it, or head-scratchingly befuddled when it appears. Not true.

Having a preacher for your dad means having a father who understands that the root of all sin is our fallen hearts and that the remedy for all sin is the perfect work of Christ.

I also suspect that the Preachers’ Daughters series will fail to acknowledge the very real power of the Word. Sitting in church week after week, hearing spiritual things discussed in the home, and having parents who sincerely love the Lord is not a recipe for rebellion and resentment.

Instead, God tells us that His word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12), always accomplishes what He intends (Isaiah 55:10-11), and is the very thing He uses to bring sinners to repentance (Romans 10:13-14). Yes, the message of Christ is a stumbling block to some. But to many, preachers’ daughters included, it is the word of life.

We can have confidence in

"the power of the indwelling Word of God to solve a thousand problems before they happen, and to heal a thousand wounds after they happen, and to kill a thousand sins in the moment of temptation, and to sweeten a thousand days with the 'drippings of the honeycomb." (John Piper, When I Don't Desire God)
I think, by God's grace, the real preachers’ daughters will be just fine.


  1. As we say in our parenting class, the best thing you can do for your children is to live the Christian life, according to God's Word.

  2. This is a very encouraging post. I, being a preacher's daughter, now married to a preacher and having 3 daughter's of our own, am confident in the sufficiency of Christ on our behalf. Thanks for writing it.

  3. God bless you heart and faithfulness to your parent's teachings, sweet Megan. Above all, everything under God's sovereignty. As a Preacher's daughter, you have victory over the odds as you were growing up and now here you are, a Preacher's wife! God has certainly a good sense of humor, huh? I thank God for you as you minister to other women.

  4. Megan this is so encouraging! From time to time I listen to the fear that creeps up within me when I see my (preacher's) daughter, a few years into her teens, in her sinful moments. And when I see things like the previews for this new show it brings up those fears anew, accompanied by anxious thoughts at seeing clips of the possible rebellion. In my own sin I'm tempted to listen to those fears instead of God's promises. And at times I try to come up with a list of "the how-to's of preventing a preacher's daughter from rebelling." How silly, and sinful, of think I could do anything to prevent my daughter from sinning, and to not trust in the Lord. I'm glad to hear from your perspective (an adult preacher's daughter) of the benefits of growing up with a pastor for a dad! Those indeed are blessings! As her parents we are aware of those blessings, and I hope some day she will be aware, and thankful, of them too! We must, like all parents, entrust our children's souls to our loving and gracious heavenly Father! Once again, a very timely, convicting, and encouraging post!

  5. What? Preachers' daughters are sinner? Shocking, scandalous stuff!

    Here's the thing: preachers are sinners too, every one of them somewhere in this process of being transformed by grace. And yes some, perhaps many, get things wrong when raising their own children. And, yes, sometimes those children rebel and become instruments of their parents' further sanctification.

    This child-raising business--it's not simple math. It's complex calculus in which Christ is always at work in every family member. It's not always pretty but, as you said so well, there is abundant blessing in being raised under the faithful preaching of the Word within a community of faith.

    And that picture of you and your preacher dad nearly did me in.

  6. I am immediately struck by how difficult it is—or how unpopular it is—to portray an authentic and appealing Christian/Christian life.

    In the past few weeks, I've read Surprised By Oxford by Carolyn Weber, an excerpt from The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Dr. Rosaria Butterfield, and the Grace Effect by Larry Taunton. The first two are about the writers' conversion to Christianity and the third details the Taunton family's adoption of an Ukrainian orphan. All are well-written and honest. They, as Megan put it, "acknowledge the real power of the Word," as well as the joy of Christian fellowship, the work of the Spirit, the reality of sin, and the power of grace—all in such an appealing way! They are not sappy, dumbed-down, or seeker-friendly. I was so please to read these books, which I think could be recommended to Christians or non-Christians.

    And, as to my own (pastor's) daughter, I think often of a cadre of pastors' daughters, friends and acquaintances, who are grown up and so mighty for the Kingdom because of the Lord's blessing on their upbringing! I pray the same for my daughter!


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