“Our children are not falling away [from the Christian faith] because the church is doing a poor job—although that is undoubtedly a factor. Our children are falling away because we are asking the church to do what God designed the family to accomplish. Discipleship and multi-generational faithfulness begins and ends at home. At best, the church is to play a supporting role as it “equips the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12 ESV).- Voddie Baucham
The Pilgrim, over on DefendingContending posted this great quote by Voddie earlier on today. Voddie’s words are so true and it is a serious concern in the church today. Most Christians seem to be getting caught up in the ‘rushed’ living of the 21st Century world and they are spending fewer time with their children in teaching them the Bible at home and helping them deepen their understanding of Jesus and His Gospel. Oh sure, we raise our kids and teach them ‘right from wrong’. They know the whole list of do’s and don’ts for a Christian but THAT’S NOT THE GOSPEL. So when they go astray we say “But they know what’s right and what’s wrong”. Yea that may be so, but that’s not going to save our young people from their sinful nature. Every human, young or old, has a heart that rebels against God. The innocence of childhood and early teenage years may mask this as most church-going teenagers remain in their Christian cliques , but with the coming of age, sexual desires and seeking of acceptance from their peers as they go into High School and University out go all those morals. Why? Because their thought process becomes something like this;
” if everyone else doesn’t seemingly have those morals we’re taught in church, and I have desires for sex and a good time, then why shouldn’t I just go and enjoy myself? I want to be happy. All my mates are happy and have awesome times drinking, doing some drugs and sleeping around. Look at the state of me here sitting trying to be a “good person” It’s making me unhappy…..you know what? Sack it! If you can’t beat them join them! I want to feel good and all this stuff makes me feel soooooo good. If God really loves me he’ll want me to be happy…and besides i’m starting to get a bit fed up with a God who apparently seems to be a bit of a killjoy. ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that, if you do that i’ll get mad!’ I mean come on! What kind of a god is that? I don’t even know if He’s real anyways. I’ve never had an EXPERIENCE of Him in all the years i’ve gone to church and to be quite honest the Bible just bores me. I have no idea how to make sense of it or get anything out of it”
That sound familiar? You see the problem? No understanding of the gospel! And if there appears to be no understanding of the gospel then can we honestly say they are truly regenerate? It’s time the church woke up and realised we have to teach our young people to read the Bible and seek to ensure that they actually understand the Gospel and have been genuinely born again. We can’t assume that somewhere along the children’s or youth program that they “prayed the prayer” or “accepted Jesus into their heart”. Shallow youth groups that are more focused on “FUNtertainment” than they are in preaching and teaching the gospel are a serious issue and it frustrates the life out of me! Also, if we expect our families to effectively raise their children then we have got to PREACH IT and TEACH them how to do it. Parents should never be told to assume that their children are born-again until they see enough fruit in their lives to not doubt it. Given I am not a parent and may be seriously unqualified to say how such things should be but when I (God willing) have kids i’m never going to let them assume that they are Christians because they have always gone to church and know Bible stories. Yes they may be baptised as a child into the promise but that promise must come to fruition according to the Soverign work of God as made evident by the fruit of genuine salvation in their lives. A big problem in the church is that we have parents telling their kids they’re Christians even though they are out sleeping with their girlfriends/boyfriends, getting drunk and behaving just like the world. As Paul Washer says “they are living like devils.” I understand the pain that a wayward child causes a parent but don’t fool your child further by telling him/her that they’re a Christian. Confront them, in love, and tell them that they have no reason to believe they are saved. Then that may get them thinking. Instead we don’t confront the sin, which only results in a whole lot of young adult church-goers running around thinking they are going to heaven when in reality they are still on the broad road that leads to destruction! Oh that the burden of this that weighs my soul down would be lifted!
The damage may already be done for my generation, but it’s not too late to seek the face of God in order try and reverse the problem for the next generation.
As a keen football player (USA bro’s read Soccer) my dad brought me up telling me that “the moment you think you know all there is to know about football, is the moment your career will begin to go downhill.” That statement taught me the importance of humility and a ongoing willingness to learn about my sport. Likewise we should have this attitude in our Christian faith in terms of our “teachability” and willingness to learn. My fear is that there are too many churches, church leaders and Christian parents who are unwilling to listen to the voices of such men as Voddie Baucham. Of course a prophet wouldn’t be a prophet from God (Jonah beng the exception) if his words were widely accepted by all would he?
Thank you Voddie for your words of truth on such a sensitive, yet critical issue/area facing the church in the West today.