5 Generation Rule

My friend Paul recently sent me an article about the legacy of the famous preacher Jonathan Edwards. Edwards and his wife had 11 children, and it has been noted that those 11 children and their children on down have made some pretty major impacts in our world.

“The scholar Benjamin B. Warfield of Princeton has charted the 1,394 known descendents of Edwards. What he found was an incredible testament to Jonathan Edwards. Of his known descendents there were 13 college presidents, 65 college professors, 30 judges, 100 lawyers, 60 physicians, 75 army and navy officers, 100 pastors, 60 authors of prominence, 3 United States senators, 80 public servants in other capacities including governors and ministers to foreign countries, and one vice-president of the United States.”

Impressive. But how does that affect us as parents today?

“The story of Jonathan Edwards is an example of what some sociologists call the ‘five-generation rule.’ How a parent raises their child – the love they give, the values they teach, the emotional environment they offer, the education they provide – influences not only their child but the four generations to follow. What fathers do, in other words, will reach through the next five generations.”

This is a pretty sobering and challenging thought to consider. What will your legacy look like in 5 generations? It also adds a whole new dimension to the idea of seed prayers that I’ve blogged about before.

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Jeremy Jernigan

This is the personal blog of Jeremy Jernigan. Husband to Michelle and father to Gavin, Madsen, Adelyn, Aiden, and Abel. Author of Redeeming Pleasure and Lead Pastor at Abundant Life Church in Portland.

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