As this generation drifts away from the institutional church, how will the next generation know God?
It used to be that parents relied on the church to teach their children about God. Even if mom and dad snoozed during the sermon on Sunday morning, they dutifully sent their kids off to Sunday school to learn the great stories in the Bible.
But today millions of American families have abandoned the church and its educational apparatus. And many who remain no longer attend every week. Once or twice a month is the new normal for many families.
What’s the effect of this slim-down diet on Christian education time? “It’s too much to ask for a Sunday school teacher to completely disciple your kids in two hours a month,” said children’s ministry entrepreneur Phil Vischer in this week’s Holy Soup Podcast. Vischer has made a sizable impact on children—and grown-ups—through his animated characters in the Veggie Tales series and the more recent What’s in the Bible series.
Vischer knows that now, more than ever, faith must be nurtured in the home. That doesn’t mean that parents must become little seminary professors. But they can become better at reflecting God’s presence in their everyday lives, so that their kids see and feel the reality of God’s love.
For parents, sometimes it’s as simple as spontaneously including references to faith during everyday happenings. It’s often a big deal when a child hears a parent say something like, “God really answered my prayer today.”
The church can best fulfill its role in ministering to children through educational processes that acknowledge and include the home. For a fresh example of this, see Group’s revolutionary new online-delivered Dig In curriculum.
And churches can do more to encourage and equip parents to initiate faith talk with their kids. But it’s going to take more than another sermon or lecture on the subject. Parents, and other relatives, need to be given an opportunity to actually practice. I know some pastors who allocate time in their sermons for people to do just that. For example, they’ll invite people to turn to someone next to them and answer a question such as, “How would you explain the concept of grace to a child?”
Then, when a teachable moment arises at home, parents will feel more prepared to make a lifelong spiritual impact.
And, if more churches would provide that kind of practical equipping, they may just see more people coming back. Most Christian parents actually want to help nurture their kids’ faith, but they want and need a little help.
For more insights, take a moment to listen to my Holy Soup Podcast with the voice of Bob the Tomato, Phil Vischer. And, make plans to join Vischer, and me, at the annual Future of the Church summit in Colorado, where we’ll explore the future of Christian education and other crucial topics.
Actively engaging in the brainwashing of even the youngest children is beyond disturbing. This is a cynical process that recognizes the malleability of children’s brains and seeks to take advantage of their less than fully developed abilities to reason and evaluate. For precisely those reasons it has long been recognized by cults of all stripes as the single most effective method of ensuring their growth and establishing new generations of true believers.
I’m kind of torn with whether the brainwashing or conditioning is good or bad. Real Christian kids don’t go get into gangs and shoot up the town. I don’t go to church any more but it kept me from drinking, drugs, lewd sexual behavior and talk, becoming violent, and other negative things. Nobody is force into going to church with Christianity. Of course the conditioning aspect contributes to a persons sense of obligation to go to church and get involved. It doesn’t kill anyone and does actually contribute to life being better outside of church because of the ethics and values they learn and practice. I would rather live next to Jehovah witnesses than atheists. There is a better chance they would be respectful and quiet.
So let me see if I understand your position, Ryan. Brainwashing and conditioning of young children (Thom’s advertised Sunday School lessons are for as young as age 1!) are just fine because as long as the indoctrination is “Christian” it will prevent “drinking, drugs, lewd sexual behavior and talk, becoming violent, and other negative things”. Really? The population is largely Christian. Who do you think is doing this stuff? There aren’t enough atheists to account for even a small fraction of the behaviors you cite.
Now, if you “don’t go to church any more” was your own indoctrination as a child sufficient to set you on the proper path of good behavior for life or have you relapsed into bad behaviors?
You advocate a monstrous type of social engineering in which it is perfectly acceptable to brainwash the minds of young children with the dictates, beliefs, superstitions, dogma, rituals, fears, and guilt of a specific religious sect in order to “contribute to life being better”. In spite of that having been done for a couple of thousand years now, are you actually suggesting that these taught “ethics and values” have resulted in a world that shuns the bad behaviors you cite?
When you say that “Nobody is force into going to church with Christianity”, you apparently exclude all children who forced to go to church and Sunday school by their parents. They are precisely who we are talking about.
You also seem to believe that ethics and values are only acquired in a Christian belief system. What hubris!
I have a contingent of Jehovah Witnesses that visit me occasionally and I know many atheists. I’ll go for those who are actually capable of independent critical thinking as opposed to the brainwashed Jehovahs!
There is nothing new here. Leaving the church didn’t start with Millennials and Gen Xers, in modern times, it started with the post-war Baby Boomers. Life changed dramatically as we came of age, especially in pluralistic areas such as California. Walking down Hollywood Blvd. in 1970, one could see multiple religions, lifestyles, ethnicities. In the same couple blocks, there would be a bus taking young people to the Susan and Tony Alamo camp in the mountains and, Nicheren Shoshu chanters, saffron-robed Hare Krishnas, and Jesus People. Quite simply, the Church had failed many of these young adults and they sought out other spiritual paths. The government had failed as well, with young men drafted into an unwinnable war and the Cold War still in force. The Church was just one more out-of-touch institution–*unless faith was nurtured in the home*.
This has been especially true since the collapse of Sunday schools as Boomers aged out. I reared my four kids in Sunday schools that were slowly dying. And who is to blame? Those Boomers who are now creating church budgets, assigning space, selling off property, not ensuring that Christian education is adequately staffed. I have sat on many a session that refused to commit to children and youth and reminded many an elder that they covenanted with every child who was baptized in the church. There is an oft-used mantra: “We don’t have any children in our church, so there’s no use spending money on children.” My Gen X and Millennials grew up in churches that seemed to care less and less about them as they went through.
So where are my adult kids now? Not in church, for the most part. Where are my grandkids? Not in Sunday school. There are some good reasons for the abandonment of churches–parents who work long hours and even weekends, inadequate or theologically unsuitable churches in the towns where they live, the increase in non-religious friends and colleagues, offensive stentors on the far right, and frankly, boring worship that is disengaged from both the church community and the neighborhood.
I tried and failed to bring my kids up with a faith that would bring them to the pews every week, though I do think that Christianity still matters to them. My grandkids are even further removed from organized religion. This pains me, it does, but I did rear my kids to be independent, thinking adults so I will not badger them. I pray for them every single day. Ultimately, I think the failure of today’s Church goes back to the failure of the Church to change with the rapidly changing society of the late 1960s to late 1970s.
My emphasis on the Church certainly comes from my Reformed beliefs. Families can do it on their own when they *must*, when they are disconnected from adequate churches for some reason. But it is never the best way. Life in Christ is life with the Body of Christ, and that is (or should be) manifest in a community of believers that support and nurture each other, both adults and children. Churches that do that have parents and kids in the pews.
Congratulations on rearing your children to be “independent, thinking adults”! That kind of rearing, however, seems to be inconsistent with trying “to bring…kids up with a faith that would bring them to the pews every week…”. I’m not sure how indoctrination in a particular faith AND the promotion of independent thinking are not mutually exclusive objectives.
When you say that the “Church had failed many of these young adults” you suggest that they would not have “sought out other spiritual paths” if the church had been more successful in its indoctrination. Seems to me that they were just doing what “independent, thinking adults” do: exploring a variety of paths. Do we really want an institution that succeeds when it produces adults who have abandoned independent thinking?
The fact that your commitment to rearing “independent, thinking adults” apparently overcame your efforts to indoctrinate in a particular faith is a good thing. When you pray for them, pray that they never lose their capacity for independent thinking.
When a person recieves Christ he doesn’t become part of your life he is your life. Christ said he’s Life. The realization that he wasn’t added to my life was a process for me and from the scriptures we see it is that way most of the time. Transformation is a process and Life is for the living which happens as you live out life.
Both parents and leadership need to guide the children throughout their lives demonstrating this Life in their living. For leadership to think Sunday is the day or for parents to think Sunday is the day is a big mistake. Everyday wherever you are is for teaching and all the many facets of life in Christ. By not actively living this life out in that way we cannot have a Christ conciousness and we shortchange ourselves, our children and the body.
Sunday is the day most choose to celebrate this life of Christ corporately, but most meetings seem to have the same system and structure that has a way of squeezing life out of the meeting by not encouraging the believers to share this life they have experienced (especially the children). Instead of feeling the freedom they have in Christ, leadership most often wants to draw parameters around this day of celebration for all believers and have those who attend just leave it to the proffessionals. People need to see this life demonstrated in a corporate way rather than merely an educational way (though it is that also). If an unbeliever should come in amongst you how is he going to see your love for one another without this kind of life being demonstrated corporately?
No one should be surprised at the state of affairs. Scripture very clearly teaches that it is the parents’ responsibility to train up their children (Deut 6:9 for example). Boomers let the local church to the job instead… today’s culture and the evidence of the decline of the institutional church bear witness to the consequences. Placing the primary emphasis on church attendance as a duty of a Christian further created the disconnect we see today.
Christ-followers who are following the Master will naturally want to gather together–no one needs to ‘tell’ them what they ‘should’ do (i.e. ‘go to ‘church’). The local church cannot be a surrogate parent nor can it be a substitute for the Master himself, yet that is exactly what has been taught, albeit inadvertently over the years.
Time to get focused. If the local church can do anything, it needs to follow its mandate to equip the saints. Teach them to teach and model for their kids — not teach them to show up for 3 songs and a talk 3 weeks out of 4.
We brought it on ourselves. We need to repent and start doing things the way the Master has taught, not ‘the way we’ve always done it…”
I would like to add a bit to your comment ” will naturally want to gather together”. Though i think there is a desire buried inside, sometimes it is difficult to put one’s finger on it until they’ve experienced it at least once. Once their experience lines up with what they know (knowledge) it manifests as a longing desire that flows forth from ones innermost being.
I’d suggest that the teaching should always have been centred around home-life, instead of out-sourcing to the ‘experts’. Unless parents live their faith out as a natural part of their daily lives, kids get to the age when they shrug and walk away. If faith is not a lived experience, it becomes just religious rhetoric. Who wants that!?
Thanks, HEARTSPEAK. You very well said it All. It is the parents’ responsibility to train up their children (Deut 6:9 for example). Time to get focused. If the local church can do anything, it needs to follow its mandate to equip the saints. Teach them to teach and model for their kids — not teach them to show up for 3 songs and a talk 3 weeks out of 4.
My experience would suggest that it needs to be a “both-and” approach. I became a Christian when I was 12 years old. My parents had no active relationship with the Lord or church. If it had not been for a caring church and engaged Christian adults I would have had no one to nurture me in my faith. My parents would not have been interested in being “equipped.” I’m thankful there was a church willing to commit to helping children grow in their relationship with Jesus, even when their parents were not.
I’m wondering at what age a child can become a Christian. Is there any age that Christian cultists would acknowledge as being minimally developmentally capable of independently understanding and embracing the Christian belief system? We have known for some time that the brain of a 12 year old is not fully developed and, in fact, has many years to go to reach that status.
You assert that you “became a Christian” at 12 years old but what did that really mean in the mind of a 12 year old? You don’t mention exactly how becoming Christian came about but if neither your parents nor a church were a factor, you either became one through independent reasoning and evaluation or someone else successfully proselytized you. So when you say that churches can help “children grow in their relationship with Jesus” the underlying question is how such a “relationship” could even develop in the first place without liberal doses of brainwashing, indoctrination, and manipulation. Sadly, this clear child abuse is endorsed by the cult faithful in the same way that every cult has viewed its self-perpetuation as its prime directive.
Tom your supposition is just that, a supposition. God is unlimited as to who, how and when He chooses to reveal Himself. I have spoken to many people that found Jesus through a dream or circumstance. How old do you have to be for those things to happen? The scriptures say that when the heart turns the veil will be taken away. The salvation experience has nothing to do with understanding. He can give a person a peace that surpasses all understanding.
The soul is in dire need of transformation and that only happens by the Spirit. The soul consists of the mind, emotions and the will. Those three things are what consists of fallen man, so it stands to reason that it has nothing to do with ones’s understanding since this is a part of the mind. This also has nothing to do with how one feels (emotions) nor how determined one is (will). Jesus says it is by the Spirit. All three of these things can add color, texture and tone to one’s life but they have nothing to do with salvation even though they can enrich our salvation experience.
What supposition do you refer to? Is it that 12 year old brains are not fully developed? Is it that childhood relationships with Jesus don’t develop without brainwashing, indoctrination and manipulation?
Apparently, you believe that children can find Jesus “through a dream or circumstance” or direct revelation. So in your mind that 3 year old in Sunday School could certainly have “found Jesus” and have had a “salvation experience” since none of that has anything “to do with understanding”. In fact, age 3 according to you wouldn’t even be the threshold age for these experiences.
As someone who seems to be able to spot a supposition, you have difficulty recognizing that your response is filled with them:
1) God is unlimited as to who, how and when He chooses to reveal Himself.
2) Many people have found Jesus through a dream or circumstance
3) When the heart turns the veil will be taken away
4) The salvation experience has nothing tyo do with understanding
5) He can give a person a peace that surpasses all understanding.
6) The soul is in dire need of transformation
7) That only happens by the Spirit
8) The sould consists of the mind, emotions and the will.
9) Those three things are what consists of fallen man
In fact, nearly your entire response is supposition. And yet, you speak as one who has knowlege of absolute truth and presume to know the mind of god. What utter hubris!
Children’s Sunday school and even teen youth group is far from cultic brainwashing sessions. At those ages, it’s nothing but simple stories that teach good vs bad and show God’s love. This so called indoctrination or brainwashing is actually happening in the adult age group. It’s adults who are pressured with the living sinless and pleasing God by being in church, being involved in church and giving their 10% or more. I liked church as a child and all the church activities, especially as a teen. I made good ‘clean’ fiends unlike neighborhood kids with their bad foul language and dirty minds. My best friends were church kids. The unchurched neighborhood kids had this negativity about them that was a turn off and that sort of thing drove me away from even wanting to hang with them (and I never did for long). You talk that children are so badly force by their parents to go to church. What about children forced to go to school where they are brainwashed with this evolution and climate change crap? I’ve lived through church from birth up to age 42 where I finally burn out and had enough. Again the children and teen age groups are not brainwashing sessions. Not in protestant churches. But for the adult age group, that constant push or reminders during sermons of living up to the 10′ tall Jesus, the always being in church, the “getting connected” into groups, the giving God his share of you income…. this constant, constant, constant push in some churches could be labeled as brainwashing or conditioning. It makes one feel guilty for not going or bad if you don’t give enough even though you have enough. This play on emotions. No, there is none of this with children and teens. I never had any of this pressure from church as a child or teen. Churches need money and volunteers and people’s children don’t have any money or not responsible enough for ministry.
I couldn’t agree more that brainwashing, indoctrination, manipulation and group pressure continues throughout adulthood. I’m glad that you felt no pressure as a child or teen but that doesn’t mean that these pressures are not exerted. When all of your pre-teen friends are in the confirmation class…that’s pressure. When your Sunday school teacher calls you to the altar in front of friends, family, and strangers…that’s pressure. When you are asked by your pastor if you’ve accepted Christ as your savior…that’s pressure. And that’s just the pressure part of indoctrination and manipulation. Presenting myths to 3 year olds in the form of stories is not about “good vs bad” and “God’s love”. It indoctrinates these undeveloped minds to accept specific church dogma like virgin birth, the existence of angels, and a demonstrably false miraculous birth story while promoting dependence on a supernatural being. Read the lessons for 3 yr olds that Thom’s selling. Despicably, these ideas are being injected by trusted adult figures willing to exploit the less than fully developed thinking and reasoning skills of children with the sole objective of gaining their acceptance of and admission to the cult.
Regarding children being “brainwashed with this evolution and climate change crap”, that’s a little like objecting to children being brainwashed that the earth revolves around the sun or that women don’t really transform into witches or that epilepsy is not caused by demonic possession–all of which truths were vigorously opposed by the church at the cost of tens of thousands of lives but which are now known to be demonstrably true.
Jean-Paul Sartre knew he was an atheist by the age of 12. Why can another child not know he is a Christian? While a 12 year old is not as mature a thinker as he will be, he can make decisions that he will adhere to throughout life. (Actually, many adults never progress past the stage of cognitive development of a 12 year old.)
Well, Sartre at age 60 or so attempts to understand his childhood and rejection of the theism with which he had been indoctrinated. Read his description of the circumstances in which he recalls this initial rejection and you’ll see ample evidence of child-like fantasy, confusion, and pre-teen frustration.
Beyond that, there’s a false equivalency in someone knowing he’s an atheist and knowing he’s a Christian. The former is a simple acknowledgement that there is no evidence for theism. The latter requires not only an embrace of theism but the total acceptance of a specific god (the Abrahamic deity)and a specific belief system (Christianity, and most likely a very specific sect of Christianity) to the exclusion of all other theistic gods and belief systems.
The broader point, however, is that stages of chilehood cognitive development should not be exploited by adults through indoctrination and brainwashing techniques. The alternative would be nurturing free and independent thinking, exploration and problem solving. The fact that this is not the focus of the church belies their true objective–the exploitation of malleable children throughout their early development.
Tom you have brought up a number of issues that are difficult to address in a simple blog post but some of these issues are worthy of discussion because they rarely are addressed in a corporate meeting and sometimes can’t for different reasons. If you can give your understanding of “brainwashing” it would be a good place to start. Here is my dictionary’s definition, would you agree with this.
a method for systematically changing attitudes or altering beliefs, originated in totalitarian countries, especially through the use of torture, drugs, or psychological-stress techniques.
any method of controlled systematic indoctrination, especially one based on repetition or confusion: brainwashing by TV commercials.
an instance of subjecting or being subjected to such techniques: efforts to halt the brainwashing of captive audiences.
Your supposition is found in your first statement which was framed as a question. You were wondering at what age a child can become a Christian.
My response to this supposition is “age has nothing to do with it. Please reread the post to understand why I said that.
Proverbs 22:6Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
What is training? Teaching by word and actions?
When you hired by an employer, most employers will give you a manual with what they expect of there employees.
You are told to abide the rules set forth in the manuals.. YA person is indoctrinated (brainwashed) .A person cannot change a process in the company with outgoing through a process with the upper management to do it. A person is required to do a job in quality and quantity.
Now when a parent says that they are going to raise their children by the Bible and they based there actions as so why is it called detrimental. to the tem?
As has been stated above, some people chose to raise their children as independent thinkers per se.
Who is it that wants us to be independent thinkers? Think about it. Satan.
Genesis 3:1-6King James Version (KJV)
3 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
God wants someone that will honour Him and Him alone. No other one.
Even though we have of choice of free will now, because God did not kill Adam and Eve in the garden, that is not the plan for the human race. GOD WANTS US TO SERVE HIM AND HIM ALONE and not to serve no other one.
He wants us train and indoctrinated (brainwashed) by His Words
God does not want His Saints offering another choice for their children to follow or achieve.
I was train and indoctrinated early in my life to Serve Jesus Christ. I was saved when I was 9 years old.
My father wanted our family to know the Bible/ He wanted us to know so much that he would reward us for reading chapters and explaining it to him what it meant.
We had no TV in the house.
We were not allow to listen to rock ‘n’ roll and very little country music.
We did not purchase any secular music to have in the house. We were indoctrinated, train to serve Jesus Christ. We went to church every Sunday and wednesday. And went to revivals every night for 2 and 3 weeks in a row.
Incidentally we didn’t go to children’s church we stay in the auditorium and listen to the preacher preach. .
We were Pentecostals. We were Holy rollers as they said. But we loved Jesus.
We children when we were younger was so enthused with church, that we played church when we were at home.
My Daddy was Minister and he would run revivals and some of my friends on Facebook remember when we came to there house to spend a weekend. We went out in the Barn got two bales of hay. One of them was an altar and the other a pulpit and we played church. I was 10 years old at the time.
I raised my children in church and we regularly had visiting ministers come to our house and our children would sit and listen to the adults talk and they would even ask questions. My oldest Son love a couple of preaches that he would tape their messages at church. And then write them off on paper.
Did they stray, yes but not long and my children are Christians.
I failed in a lot of ways raising them, but I am thankful that my family is serving Jesus..
This is a walk by faith. The church has and continues to make many mistakes. It is always sad when one walks away from the faith. I can understand leaving a particular meeting place to meet with others though if you believe that God would have you make that move. Tom your understanding of brainwashing seems to consist of any knowledge that is not of yourself, and it is way to broad of a definition. You numbered off all my statements and called them suppositions when every one of then is drawn directly from scripture. It is very disturbing and sad when i see someone that is reeling from the negatives of the apostate church that they no longer want to see the forest from the trees.
Many things like fear, peer pressure and faith are good depending how they are applied, but you seem to want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Is fear of touching a hot stove good? Even though you’ve never been burned as a child would you call it brain washing if your parents warned you about it or brothers and sisters told you about it? By your definition of brainwashing a child shouldn’t even be schooled. Your pride in independent thinking has turned on you and bit you in the derrier. Life itself in every way says we are interdependent, not independent. If you truly want to be independent then you must become a hermit and never speak nor contact anyone again because when you do your not independent anymore. So my question to you is, do you really believe what you seem to portray, or are you truly looking for understanding?
First, let’s address the “supposition” thing. Just to be clear, that post didn’t contain a supposition. It posed a question: “Is there any age that Christian cultists would acknowledge as being minimally developmentally capable of independently understanding and embracing the Christian belief system?” I understand your answer: “How old do you have to be for those things to happen? The scriptures say that when the heart turns the veil will be taken away. The salvation experience has nothing to do with understanding.” I interpret that as meaning that there is NO minimum age required since salvation doesn’t need to be understood. However, my question remains. I didn’t ask at what age “salvation” could be granted.
Regarding “brainwashing” I’m not sure the semantics are the issue here. Whether you choose to call it brainwashing, indoctrination, inculcation, mind control, etc., the intent and the techniques are nearly the same. While indoctrination of this kind can and does occur in a religious setting at all ages, it is particularly despicable when applied to young children whose incomplete cognitive development makes then especially susceptible.
You attempt to conflate simple parental survival instruction (don’t touch that hot stove; look both ways before crossing the street; never put your fingers in the toaster;) which no one would condemn, with indoctrination in belief systems (Jimmy, how would you feel if the angel Moroni gave you golden tablets just like he did to an amazing man, Joseph Smith?; or, Suzy, once upon a time there was a very bad person named Xenu;). Surely you see the difference between protective instruction and the subtle manipulation of belief. And there is no difference between the Mormon and Scientology examples I’ve given and the better known Christian, Jewish, Muslim indoctrination stories. You likewise conflate schooling (learning to read, write, do math, understand science and documented history) with the cynical manipulation of immature cognitive abilities in order to create an unquestioning religious adherent.
So, no, I’m not saying that brainwashing occurs with the transmission of “any knowledge that is not of yourself”. Instead, I’d urge development of critical thinking skills, informed decision making, and the ability to discover evidence-based knowledge. And, of course, that assumes development of those skills both independently and interdependently.
I’d urge you to read a lengthy essay “Who owns the soul of the child?” from the Georgetown Law Center. While much of it is centered on the legal thinking involved in variouis court cases it addresses this whole issue of religious brainwashing.
Regarding the “suppositions” you’ve cited being “drawn from Scripture”, please remember that using a holy book to identify truths is a ruse available to anyone with a book he deems holy and who chooses to abandon thought processes to the repetition of dogmas and creeds.
An minister J. D. Walt posted this in a blog today.
I thought I would share this on this blog today also. It seems to go along with raising children.
Sowing a Salvation Garden
Today’s Daily Text is a reprint of one of the twelve short monthly studies I authored for the 2016-17 Seedbed Sower’s Almanac. This is the July entry. Learn more about the Almanac here.
September 4, 2016
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
The life of faith is an every day life. The Word of God is an every day word. The life of faith and the Word of God are not meant to be compartmentalized into one day a week or even one portion of every day. They are intended to permeate the whole of our lives, our every day ordinary lives. I like the way The Message Translation renders James 1:21.
In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life. James 1:21 The Message
Step one in keeping life’s greatest command to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength,” is giving priority, preference, and place to God’s Word every day. We must move from compartmentalizing our faith to unleashing our love. Read the text again. Does God seem more interested in our taking a few minutes out of our day to focus on him or that we would be reminded at every turn to return our focus to God all day long? As James has it, God wants his Word to shape our days and landscape our lives.
1. What might it look like to creatively post the Word of God around your home? At work? At school?
2. In addition to making appointments with others on our calendars, what if we made calendar appointments throughout our days with particular verses of Scripture?
3. Count the number of Bibles in your home. For each Bible, write a different verse of Scripture on a Post-it note and put them in creative places around the house, car, etc..
I am adding question 4. In closing as I was out driving today, I noticed on a church marquette a sign cheering the local high school football team on.
4. Are we more interested in sports than we are the souls of our church members?
I see lots of young people reading Richard Rohr and Rob Bell. I think that is a good thing, fundamentalism does not define Spirituality or God’s truth anymore. I believe we have entered a new Renaissance period that will rival the time of Martin Luther.
Richard Rohr Teaches a false doctrine, such as this about Homosexuality. This is from Wikipedia.
He often refers to his position as being on the “edge of the inside”, as a prophetic place from which to challenge and encourage the Church. In a critique of Rohr, Fr. Bryce Sibley writes that Rohr asserts that God is neither male nor female, supports the mission of homosexual advocacy groups, asserts that the Crucifixion of Jesus was not necessary for the redemption of mankind, and criticizes Catholic rituals for a lack of efficacy. Rohr has been notable for his support of homosexual causes, attracting criticism from some Catholics. In 1996, Rohr presided over a ceremony for a lesbian couple, which has been referred to by a commentator as a “wedding”, during one of his retreats. In 1997, Rohr spoke at a symposium of New Ways Ministry, a ministry to homosexual people which was later condemned by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for not teaching in accord with the Catholic Church’s moral teachings regarding homosexuality.
Richard Bell also propagates some false teaching: This is wikipedia also.
Bell also questions “evacuation theology” which has Christians focused on getting to heaven, instead of focusing on God’s renewal and transformation of this world. Bell argues that Jesus (and the wider Jewish tradition of which he was a part) focused on God’s ongoing restoration of this world, not getting individuals to heaven.
What about this Scripture that Bell appears to overlook.
Titus 2:12-14 King James Version (KJV)
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Rob Bell’s stance on Homosexuality is also false>
On March 17, 2013, in an interview at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Bell said, “I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man…And I think the ship has sailed. This is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”
I would not recommend following these speakers at all in the Christian Circles.
This would lead our children wrong.
Scotty, by “false teaching”, it sounds like you really mean teaching that doesn’t agree with your own theological stance. If reading Rohr or Bell encourages our children to be more loving, I would call that a win.
Pentecostal belief has caused more destruction to families than any other form of belief in modern Church history. Adultery and divorce are a given, almost a prerequisite within the leadership. Belief in magic and fortunetelling/soothsaying take the place of true Spirituality. Often most of it, if not all of it, is just made up on the spot to give the the originator the perception of divine power to bully and maintain control over others. One of Jesus’s most powerful teaching’s in all of Scripture warned about this ” By their fruits you will know them” I advise all young people to stay away from such Church’s at all cost.