Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Anti-Family Church, pt. 4- Children

"Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, 'Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.' "
-- Luke 18:15-17

Perhaps one of the most startling occurrences in churches today is the neglect of children within the body. We shuffle them off to classes to color scenes from Bible stories, watch movies, and play- while the adults hear the Word of God. Not all children's services are bad, of course, and some instructors are very invested in bringing souls to Christ, but they seem to be in the minority.

It begins at a young age, when parents are encouraged to drop their infants off in the church nursery. And what if you dare to bring your child to service with you? Be prepared for scowls and scoffs if your child makes a peep- churchgoers are no longer accustomed to having their service interrupted by the very ones Jesus drew near. It's a sad testament to how much the world has influenced the Church's view on children.

What does the Bible say about children?

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."
-- Psalm 127:3-6

We are to rejoice in the children God gives us, to be thankful He chooses to expand our families. This goes against the popular belief that more than two kids is "too much". I've encountered this belief personally in more than one church, and have heard from many other women who feel pressured to limit their family size because of the opposition they meet in the body of Christ. Shame on those who would dare insinuate children are not of the Lord, and would act as if they are burdensome. Easy? No, children are not easy. Blessings? Yes! Children were consistent blessings for those in the Bible, and why should we reject such a blessing from the Most High?

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."
-- Proverbs 22:6

It is the parent's responsibility to train up their child, to teach them the ways of the Lord. The responsibility rests on no other, and parents should be called to disciple their own children instead of just assuming that the youth pastor will do it for them.

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him."
-- Proverbs 22:15

As parents, we should not fall prey to the popular secular belief that a child should be allowed to do as they wish in order to develop who they are. Children need direction and correction. How else will they learn right from wrong if the parent does not teach them? It does a disservice to our children to act as if they are blameless, for they are just as sinful, wicked, and depraved as any other human being, and our desire should be that they come to salvation, not that they have good "self-esteem".

And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 'Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.' "
-- Mark 9: 36-37

We are not to turn away the smallest among us, lest we reject the teachings of Jesus. We are to embrace those children, teach them, raise them to love the Lord. By following Jesus' teaching, we are following what is right and true, and pleasing God.

"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord."
-- Colossians 3:20

This is pretty self-explanatory. We are to raise children to respect us, not only because we desire it, but because it pleases the Lord.

The whole modern concept of children and their place spits in the face of the biblical model of children and the family. Then we sit back and wonder why our children rise up and curse their parents in rebellion. We have no one to blame but ourselves. Ultimately the responsibility lies with the parents of the child, but the Church should be doing the job of discipling the parents in such a way as to make them able to raise their children in a biblical and godly manner.

"God has designed your family- not the youth group, not the children's ministry, not the Christian [or Government] school, but your family- as the principle discipling agent in your children's lives."
-- Voddie Baucham

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