Sunday, November 12, 2006

Moralistic vs. God-Centered

I was listening to a podcast version of The Albert Mohler Program (link on the left), and the topic was "Youth Ministry." One of his guests made a phenomenal distinction that I thought was worthy of some consideration here.

He said (paraphrasing), "Most of what we do in the church today with young people results in 'moralistic' adults instead of 'God-centered' adults."

That's huge.

Recognize what is at stake here. A person who is "moralistic" is a person who lives by a set of rules that most would consider "moral," which means they probably have their basis in the Bible. That person IS NOT SAVED!!!! He will be a very nice person, and he may very well attend church on a regular basis since that is part of his "moral" rulebook. But he does not know Christ. Dr. Mohler stated that so many youth ministries have only two real points: Come to church and don't have sex until marriage. This results in a moralistic outlook on life, and could very well be why 75-88% of evangelical young people walk away from the faith in their early twenties.

How tragic.

What we really want are young people who know Christ, who are radically God-centered, who take the demands of the Gospel and run with them with all their heart. This results in young people who are mature both in their faith and in their countenance. They aren't going to be what the Harris brothers on their Rebelution Blog call "Kidults." They are ready to rise up and take on adult responsibilities early. They recognize the narcissistic, fun-oriented teen culture for the vacuous waste of time it is.

So how do we parent our own children so they are God-centered and not just moralistic? Discipleship!!! By whom? By the parents, with Dad taking the lead. They need to learn their Bibles, learn doctrine and apply it to their own lives, learn at an early age that, if they are indeed born-again, their lives are not their own because they have been bought with the priceless blood of the Lamb. (And if they aren't born again...That MUST be the focus, for the rest is for naught without it. That is exactly what leads to moralism.) They must learn at an early age the necessity of growing in Christ through the obedience to God's commands. They must learn to be different from the culture around them, and understand that difference is GOOD! They must learn to love the people with whom they come into contact. They must learn to focus on the good of others above their own pleasure.

These are all examples of things that would happen as a young person matures in the faith at the feet of parental discipleship. Of course, it's not an exhaustive list...but it's a start! What kind of impact on our world would a large group of on-fire Christian young adults have if they had matured in this manner? It boggles the mind with possibility!

Praying for God-centeredness in our children....

1 comment:

The Principal said...

You know with the "character education" et al in public schools you see the same sorts of "moralistic" training happening there. Perhaps different flavors, but with the same effect. Clearly the church can do better than that! You've made a great point here. You definitely will not find God-centered teaching in public schools. Let's pray we see it more in our churches.