Tuesday, August 07, 2007

destroyed for lack of knowledge

When my parents left the European shores for the Americas, they also left behind a copy of the magazine Gospel Advocate (GA). So I picked it up and read it. Just for the record, this was the first GA I've ever really perused, and I have discovered that I do not agree 100% with what the magazine presented in this particular issue (see issue # below). Or perhaps it's better to say that I don't agree 100% with the methods and the attitudes reflected in some of the authors' writings.

That said, however, I found the following to be accurate, illuminating, and disturbing. The trends which Renfroe (see below) presents in his article are realities of which the church today needs to take note. If we don't, we're in for some rather nasty surprises in the very near future.

"...I can't help wondering, in the midst of the current [technological] craze, if any room is left for God. Do the movers and shakers of the technological revolution have any place for a 2,000-year-old book? Indeed, does anyone even read anymore? In our quest to gain academic prowess through tech savvy, have we failed to instruct regarding the most important knowledge our children will ever need to acquire--the knowledge they need to save their souls (John 8:32; 1. Timothy 2:4)?"

"Parents naturally want their children to succeed, obtain advanced degrees, and secure high-paying jobs believed to ensure not only financial security but also the ever-elusive happiness that evades so many...

"During Old Testament days, parents were to teach their children about God and His marvelous works at every available opportunity (Deuteronomy 6:7; 11:19). Today, some parents are asleep at the proverbial wheel. We clamor for our kids to be in the best schools and taught by highly qualifed professionals. We expect them to play sports--the big three, at least--and would not think of their missing practice. (They might get a scholarship, you know.) But are we failing them where they need us most?

"If we could muster the same enthusiasm toward our children's spiritual education that we do for their secular activities, it would be far less likelly we would see a generation that, in many quarters, is 'destroyed for lack of knowledge' (Hosea 4:6 ASV)..."

--Brandon Renfroe
"21st Century Kids Are Wired"
Gospel Advocate, June 2007, Vol CXLIX, No. 6

Some of my thoughts as I read this:

Why is it so important to us that our children Get A Good Education?

Do we really believe that it's more important for our children to become Christians than it is for them to Get A Good Education?

Are we teaching our children to spend at least as much time studying the holy words of God as they spend studying textbooks written by humans?

We hear kids say, "When I grow up, I wanna be a teacher/rock star/fireman/astronaut/vet/police officer/etc."
We encourage them in these dreams. And rightfully so.
But how much encouragement do we give them in developing a dream that when they grow up, they "wanna be a faithful servant of God"?

I've never heard a kid say, "When I grow up, I wanna be what God wants me to be."
Why is that?

Are we studying the Bible with our kids and worshiping God with them at home? Every day?
Or are we leaving that part up to the "Sunday school teachers"?

When did Sunday morning Bible Class replace parental responsibility?

Renfroe says that we make sure our kids never miss sports practice.
Are we making sure they are present every time the church assembles to worship God?

Are we ourselves present every time our Christian family is together for worship?

Or are we ourselves skipping worship because this or that activity "is only this one time," which just "happens to be" during worship time?

Are we ourselves skipping worship in favor of attending secular activities?

Are we teaching our children to "go to church" because that means they're being good?

Or are we teaching them to be the church because being the church is the only scriptural concept? (After all, where in the Bible do you find the concept of "going to" church?)

Where are our own priorities? Yours and mine?

Is God truly the center of our lives?
The apex?
The only constant reality?

Or are we lying to ourselves?
And are we raising our children on a diet of these holy-seeming lies?

Are we teaching our kids, by our example, that God's word, the Bible, is not binding?

What do you think?


Bri said...

Amen, Amen, Amen!
It's about time to ask these questions!!! Since having children I have become more interested in these questions (of course) and find myself, in my concern for their spiritual welfares and futures, thinking WAY outside the box in terms of their education. We are becoming (maybe too slowly) more determined that our children will first know the bible and God's will for them--and all the rest is secondary. And when the "secondary" stuff is taught, it will be taught with the primary goal in mind. God will always be a part of our children's education, even if that means they have to be homeschooled or if many sacrifices have to be made to send them to a Christian school.
Parents need to realize that this is priority NUMBER ONE--quit being lazy--get up and do something about it--TEACH! We've been given a big responsibility and it's not all fun and games. Okay, okay, looks like I'll have to write my own blog entry and quit taking up yours.... love you Court ;-)

Mgam said...

A belated reply since I'm a procrastinator....

Great thoughts. It seems in this day and age the middle-class Christian mindset is generally to find a way to fit God into our lives. The whole "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world be be transformed by the renewing of your minds" (Rom 12) idea doesn't seem to exist. I recognize that I am calling myself out on this but where does it end? If I don't choose to make teach my children (if I ever have any) to follow God and fit my life into his plan, then will they teach theirs? Is it more important to have a nice house and a good job and send my kids to summer camp, let them excel in football or go to a Christian college or for them to live sacrificially and serve God. What if my kids grew up to be a homeless person who had bad teeth and loved the unlovable? Would they be a failure or Jesus to a dying world? These are tough questions because I have a home, a good job, semi-good teeth, and not enough love for people not like me.

Court said...

Bri: GREAT thoughts, thank you so much for sharing! It really is all about priorities and being honest with ourselves about what our true focus is. Too often we deceive ourselves into believing that God is our center, when he is really only on the fringe...and our actions prove it.

You can take up my blog entries as much as you want, if you're going to be saying things like this. ;o) You're welcome anytime, Bri! Love you, too!

Matt: I'm calling myself out on these things, too, Matt, even though I don't have kids yet. But these are central truths that all of us must face if we're Christians, no matter what our familial situation is. I don't have enough love for those who are different from me, either. When I consider the possibility of my future kids growing up to be the theoretical "bad-teeth" people you describe, my first reaction is to cringe.....but I know that God measures success in a completely different way than I do.

It's all about changing our will to fit his, not the other way around. We can pray that we will grow into this kind of faith and not away from it.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! And don't worry about being "late." ;o)