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Section 10D .. Our Country, Our Children

 

003white  Index To Our Country.. Our Children

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Train A Child

D.J. Quinn

See Does Your Teen Know? (below). A short checklist that may help gauge what your teen does and doesn’t know about Scripture.

A majority of today’s teenagers attended church when they were young children or adolescents – most of them attending on a regular basis. A new survey from the Barna Research Group explores what these teens say they received from their church when they were younger... the study’s director, George Barna summed it up as follows..

    “less than one out of every ten churched teenagers has a biblical worldview. The result of their involvement at a church is that they can recite some religious facts, they made some friends, and they had fun. That’s wonderful, but we also find that most of them have neither accepted Christ as their savior nor altered the basis on which they make their moral and ethical decisions in life. For most teenagers who have spent years attending church activities their faith is not integrated into who they are and how they live. Most of the young people who claim they developed an understanding of the Bible that enables them to make decisions based on biblical principles show no evidence of using that understanding in relation to the core beliefs and lifestyle choices that we studied.”...   (emphasis added)
     

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We live in a new generation, with new challenges before us and seemingly with new rules to guide us along the days of our lives. One of the greatest responsibilities that could be endowed upon a human being is that of raising a child. It is not an easy task and one that many people fail at miserably.

The days of the paddle and spankings are long gone, replaced by complacency and a “don’t do that, with a smile” attitude. Viewers of popular television “talk shows” see angry 9 and 10 year olds mouthing off at their parents, using profanity, smoking, drinking and using violence as a tool to get what they want. Parents in last desperate attempts to get their children under control turn to programs like “Scared Straight” or “Youth Boot Camp”. Parenting has been replaced by ‘friendship’ and we are leaving youngsters bewildered, disrespectful and uncaring of anything their parents have to say.

However the largest parental problem one sees in the world today is the problem of negligence. Parents, with their hands tied in the area of discipline, or too busy or self-absorbed simply leave their children to bring themselves up; too often with tragic results. This, sadly, is equally and even more deeply evident in the homes and churches of the Christian following today. Many readers would sit back shocked at this statement and point to the multitudes of Bible study groups, youth ministries, Christian clubs and schools that have mushroomed across the nation. Before you turn away and dismiss the claim that a large majority of the Christian world is negligent of its parenting duties, read the following verses from the Book of Deuteronomy. [All Emphasis added]

      Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes saw, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life; but make them known unto thy children and thy children's children; [Deuteronomy 4:9]

    And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes. [Deuteronomy 6:6-8]

     Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul; and ye shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, talking of them, when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. [Deuteronomy 11:18-19]

    And he said unto them, Set your heart unto all the words which I testify unto you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, even all the words of this law. [Deuteronomy 32:46]

How many Christian parents actually sit down and discuss the Word of God with their Children? How many ensure that their teenager is well grounded in Scripture? The answer, you may be surprised to learn, is very very few. We are content instead to send them to Sunday School while we fellowship in church, with other adults. We dispatch them to youth groups, using the excuse that they will be more comfortable among people their own ages. And while that may very well be true, it is also true that very few people want to take on the responsibility of teaching the Word and Law of God to a child, pre-teen or teenager. So we shuffle them off to their own separate area of the Church and go on with our own agenda.

Deuteronomy does not instruct us to hand over the instruction of our children, in the matter of God’s law, to others. Much the opposite, it commands us to diligently instruct our children speaking of them (the Laws of God) when you sit in your house. If one is to take the literal meaning of these words we are to teach our children, speak of the Law in our homes from dusk till dawn and even during the course of our various daily commutes. So what is our response to this charge of the Bible? We take our children to youth or Sunday school and expect them to learn all they need to know about the Way of God from a youth pastor and each other. And then we wonder why they don’t get it?

This work is far too important to allocate unto others. Parents, not Sunday School teachers, are divinely required to educate their little ones. Nor is this to be an occasional or sporadic thing, but one that is to have constant attention. The glorious character of God, the requirements of His holy law, the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the wondrous gift of His Son, and the fearful doom which is the certain portion of all who despise and reject Him, are to be brought repeatedly before the minds of the little ones. “They are too young to understand such things” is the devil’s argument to deter you from discharging your duty. (A.W. Pink).

But a society that has plumped to have "paid professional' to take care of their spiritual needs, has fallen into the same trap with their children, entrusting our most precious possessions into the hands of the supposed 'trained professional'. Do parents believe themselves incapable of providing their children's spiritual training, do not wish to take the time to do so, or is this just another myth perpetuated by the institutional church?

Has one ever wondered why churches today are building “youth centers” filled with games and activities dedicated to the youth? Why Churches have rooms, wings and even buildings that contain everything a youngster would desire, from comic books to ping-pong tables to basketball courts to cartoons on big screen for the very young? The explanation I have heard from many a Christian is that it attracts the youth; they go where they have ‘fun’ and it keeps them out of trouble. All these are noble and good intentions but what about the general idea of Sunday school/youth center being about learning the Word and Laws of God?  The truth is that while youth centers do keep the young people occupied and they are fun…. that is all they are…. a convenient way for parents to pass the buck on teaching their kids the Scriptures and a way to clear the “sanctuary” of boisterous children.

A large percentage of the youth whose parents dutifully shipped them off to Sunday school or youth group have very little knowledge of the Scripture and even less understanding of the Word of God. In an attempt to shift the blame you will hear the old adage, you can take a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. So when it boils right down to it, it becomes the youngster’s fault for not studying the Bible when surrounded by attractive members of the opposite sex, arcade games, table tennis tables, and basketball courts.

On the flip side however, you will never see a sanctuary anywhere in the nation that has big screen television with the super bowl on, popular secular reading material, bowling lanes or a full service bar. I am sure that those things would serve as an attraction to lost adults from the secular world; causing them to come into the sanctuary and out of the trouble in the material world. Thus arises the question, why the double standard?

The answer is simple. We have created a society that treats youngsters like half wits and yet we expect them to perform and behave as mature adults. The message we are sending is that the only way to get youth into church is by making it fun, yet in our effort to attract them from the secular world we have conformed to such a great extent that the Word of God is lost and going to ‘youth group’ has become another form of entertainment. The Law of God is not ‘fun’ and to believe that the only way to teach it to youth is to make it so, is ludicrous in the extreme. From a very early age children seek answers, teenagers and young adults are on a very difficult voyage of discovery. They are inclined to want to have fun, but the majority of them would be willing to forgo the entertainment if we would be willing to take the time to show them the answers so clearly laid out in the Word of an ever loving Father.

The training of a child is done in the home, not in a separate wing of the church. The duty of raising a child in the ways of the Lord fall on the shoulders of the parents who chose to bring that child into the world, not on the shoulders of a youth minister, teacher or anyone else. We fail to communicate with our youngsters because we fail to try. At the end of time, when the Judge is seated on His throne He will not seek account of our children from a youth group … He will seek account from the ones who called themselves parents.

    Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6.

See The Church.... Then and Now: There are no "youth pastors" or "youth ministries" mentioned in the New Testament.. Why? Simply because they did not exist. But the church has drifted so far from the original blueprint, that there is little resemblance between what takes place now, and what took place when James headed up the church in Jerusalem, and Paul was busy planting churches and training new believers.

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    Does Your Teen Know...? (Questionnaire below)

    While there is little question that children should have fun, that they should enjoy the days when they are relatively carefree, but there is a time and a place for everything and the quest for amusement should in no way supersede Biblical knowledge. The concept that everything has to be ‘fun’ has insidiously crept into every aspect of American life and slowly begun to choke out other words like ‘duty’ and ‘responsibility’. 

    If our children are not well grounded in Scripture and Biblical truths, then how can we expect them to resist the temptations of the world around us? How can we expect them to withstand the permissiveness of the society we live in?

    Besides which, I believe we vastly underestimate our children’s ability to grasp Biblical lessons. Obviously the amount of knowledge is directly related to the age of the child, but the average young person (in their early teens) is quite capable of comprehending virtually everything in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. 

    If our idea of teaching them Biblical truths extends no further than Noah’s ark, then that is as much as they are going to gain knowledge of. Not quite enough to equip them to face the trials, temptations and snares in the world they are going to have to face. Or do we just hope that they will pick it up somewhere along the way? Obviously books like Romans are not for a younger teen, but it is amazing how even a thirteen year old can understand some of the concepts Paul tries to get across.

    A few weeks ago my 14-year-old daughter came to me with a question. She asked what Calvinism was. (See Calvinism) Was I surprised? No! Not really! The hour-long discussion that ensued covered ‘Inclusivism’, ‘Exclusivism’, and ‘Pluralism’. While none of these topics were dealt with in minuscule detail, they were covered enough to where she was basically aware of what these doctrines claim, and what the Bible says. And no, she is no Einstein, just a regular teen-ager, whose favorite book happens to be Job. (I haven’t figured that one out yet).

    There is no reason that an average Christian teenager should have no clue as to what they believe and why, should not be aware of the major heresies proliferating the church today, should not have some idea of what the larger cults are about (‘forewarned is forearmed’) and a very good idea of what the Bible says is to come.

    Perhaps it would be well to ask yourself the following questions: (all of which are based on what I know that a fourteen year is able to understand and have a working knowledge of. The questions are not in order of importance (all of it is important) nor is this a very comprehensive list… There is so much more a young person the age of thirteen and above is capable of).

     

    Questionnaire

    Does your child know how we can be sure that Jesus actually lived and why we can rely on the Bible? [See Section A Remarkable Book Called The Bible] That many events in Bible which previously passed as ‘pious tales’ were proved by archaeological excavations to be historical. Has he/she ever heard of one single archaeological find that has supported the Bible? [See Archaeology and The Bible]

    That the Bible makes hundreds of specific predictions (centuries before the event in some cases) each one of which have come true. Is she/she aware of the unique authorship of the Bible? What the Dead Sea Scrolls are?

    Is your child familiar with the book of Genesis.. how sin came into the world, the covenant God made with Abraham, how the 12 tribes came to be etc.

    Is he/she aware of the ‘sin offering’ and how and why animals were sacrificed for the sins of the people? [See Salvation]

    Most young people know the story of the parting of the Red Sea but have little idea of the significance of the Passover. (i.e. that Jesus was the Passover Lamb). [See The Seven Feasts of Israel]

    Has your child ever heard of the ‘Holy of Holies’, the Tabernacle and the Mercy Seat?

    Does he or she know who the judges were and why Israel switched to a king. Has your child ever read Samuel? Has he /she read the stories of David and how Solomon fell from grace. (All of which is really easy reading). Has your child even heard of Hannah, Eli and …. Yes, even Bathsheba?

    Most young people know the story of Sampson, but have they ever heard of Deborah and Gideon?

    Does your child know the difference between Israel and Judah, and why the Kingdom was divided? Who Jeroboam and Rehoboam were? Does he/she know anything about the kings that ruled over each of the kingdoms and who Elijah and Elisha were? Has he/she ever heard of the confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal? Come to think of it, does he/she know who Baal is?

    Does your child know what happened to Israel and who the Assyrians were. Most children seem to know the story of Jonah and the whale, but they do not have any idea of where Jonah went with his message, nor what the message was. Are they aware of whom the second prophet was that God sent to Nineveh, and what subsequently happened to Assyria.  

    Has your child even heard of Isaiah and Jeremiah? And maybe, just maybe, why Jeremiah was called the ‘weeping prophet’?

    Does your child know who destroyed Solomon’s temple? Has your child ever heard of the Babylonian exile and why it happened? Does he/she know who Nehemiah was, and what he did? Who Ezra was?

    Has he/she ever read the books of Ruth and Esther, or any of the Psalms?

    Most young people know the story of Daniel in the lion’s den but does he/she know who Daniel was? That the prophet Daniel foretold the rise and fall of the Babylonians, the Medo-Persians, the Greeks and the Romans… That he laid out a pretty amazing timetable for the coming of the Messiah. Has your teenager ever read the prayer of Daniel?

    Does your child know that Israel’s return to their country was foretold in the Bible?

    Has your teenager ever read any of the Minor Prophets? Does he/she know what Habakkuk and Amos said and why? Does he/she know that Malachi was the last prophet until John the Baptist.

    Has your child ever actually read any of the Gospels?  Does he/she know any of the Old Testament predictions that were fulfilled in the life of Jesus?

    Does he or she have any grasp of the Resurrection and the importance it has to the Christian faith? [See Section on The Resurrection]

    Has he/she read of Paul’s conversion and have any clue as to how much of the Old Testament he wrote?

    Has your teen-ager ever read the books of James or Peter, or even know who James was? Does he/she know that we live in the age of great apostasy foretold in the Bible. [See Signs of The Times]

    Has your teen ever heard of the Seven Churches of Revelation, The Two Witnesses, The White Throne Judgment and The New Jerusalem?  [See Section The Future]
     

    If your teen has not been warned about the following three categories, it may be too late if, at some point in the future, they fall prey to a Mormon “missionary”,  start practicing Contemplative prayer or move to Texas and start attending Joel Osteen’s church.

    Has your child ever heard of false prophets and what the Bible says about them? What the Bible says about mediums and spiritists? About communicating with the dead? [See Section The Occult]

    Is your child even slightly familiar with what the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and other cults teach? Does he or she even know who Joseph Smith was? [See Cults]

    Has your child ever heard of the ‘Prosperity / Word Of Faith’ doctrine, ‘Easy Christianity’ and other heresies? [See Prosperity / Word of Faith]

     

    Does your teen have a real relationship with the Living God? Does he/she know that the Bible's message commands obedience and it’s claim is no academic exercise. Does he/she know that it is a matter of life and death?

    Do You?

    ALSO SEE

     GetTheKidsOut.org Assist Christians to work within their own denominations to alert parents of the staggering loss of faith and morals in children who attend the officially neutral “public schools,” and help them find ways to move children into Christian education, whether in campus schools or homeschooling. See http://www.schoolandstate.org/SBC/GTKO.htm

    Our Country..Our Children

    www.inplainsite.org