Thursday, June 29, 2006

Gifts or Idols? Part VII

Question #7 from the post that started this series asks, "Could the answers to these questions also have anything to do with the huge number of young adults raised in Evangelical Christian homes walking away from their faith?"

Really, this is the bottom line of all our efforts at parenting, isn't it? If our children are successful at everything the world offers them, yet walk away from the faith because they don't know Christ Jesus...then we have failed. Exactly what good is it for them to gain the whole world, and yet lose their souls? (Yes, I am fully aware of the implications of Reformed Theology and that God must be the One Who changes their heart. But our part in the equation is to acquaint them with Jesus, both through word and through action. We are to disciple them!)

If you took the time to listen to the sermon by Voddie Baucham as linked in my earlier post you will hear him delineate the problem just within the 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention. And if it's a problem can guarantee it's a bigger problem almost everywhere else. Pastor Baucham points out statistical surveys have shown that between 75% and 88% of SBC young people (depending on the particular survey) walk away from their faith by the end of their first year in college. THAT ought to frighten every true Christian parent down to the depth of their souls. The implications of that are that at least three out of every four of our sons and daughters are destined for an eternity of horror in hell unless God intervenes later in their lives...something that other surveys show isn't all that likely. (Of course, I am not about to constrain God's actions by surveys...but currently there are very, very few adults who turn their lives over to Christ, which indicates that here in America, God doesn't often move in the hearts of adults as compared to the hearts of young people.)

True Christian parents understand the depths and horrors of hell, and to contemplate even for a minute that their children might be destined for an eternity in hell should shock them out of their societal mindset and cause them to give considerable thought to what part they should be playing in giving their children every possible opportunity to embrace Christ in all His glory. are responsible for this discipleship and you cannot hand it off to anyone else, including youth groups and Christian schools (although certainly your wife, your helpmeet, can stand in your stead when you aren't available...but overall, it's still your responsibility). Ephesians 6:4 says, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Psalm 78:1-8 says, "Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, 3 things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. 5 He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, 6 that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, 7 so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; 8 and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God."

Over and over again we see the example of generations of Israelites falling away from God in spite of the previous generation being close to God. What is the lesson? The older generation didn't pass down the faith, they didn't tell of God's wondrous deeds. Psalm 78 tells us twice that the fathers are supposed to do this, and it also illustrates why: " that they should set their hope in God...."

If there is to be any hope for our children, we as parents...and especially dads...must disciple our children. We must consider why we do the things we do when we are raising them. We must not just go along with raising them according to the culture of the day...even according to the Evangelical culture (with a 75% failure rate...why in the world should we even consider doing what they do?????).

Please...parents...please turn your eyes to eternity and consider your children. Please look critically at what our culture is saying about how to raise our children and what it means to "be successful." Please have the strength to rise up and "buck" the culture...for the sake of your children and their eternal souls. Please don't define success in worldly terms; define it in "Christ-like" terms. Again...what does it prosper a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose his soul?

Or more to the point here, what does it prosper a parent to raise a child who is successful in the world, and yet lose his soul for eternity?


Anonymous said...

Hi Charley. I've read through your Gifts or Idols series. I agree wholeheartedly. Good stuff! God created us to worship Him, after the Fall, it didn't come naturally anymore. Yet, the need to worship was still there, it just became 'self' worship instead. To "put on" Christ requires effort. Setting the example for our children and discipling them to do the same requires effort. Laziness and complacency have insidiously crept in. Do you think this is why there will be a great falling away?

Charley said...

Amen to that. The worship of "self" within the American culture is epitomized by the rise of the self-help movements and the "theapeutic" culture (Al Mohler speaks/writes a lot about this).

I'm guessing you are talking about end-times issues with the idea of falling away. I'm not very well versed on end-time timelines or theology (I know...I should be!) I suspect the biggest reason there is a falling away right now is that the "faith" most folks practice really isn't "faith," but rather something of the self-help variety that is "sold" and "marketed" to them by the seeker-friendly churches of our nation and by the myriad of "Christian" self-help books out there. That "faith" doesn't stand the test of time and suffering.