Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Children really being saved?

This is something constantly before my mind and most of this is something i had wrote as a email to some elders. If you are a parent, a childrens' worker, an elder then this applies to you- please read with care:

It appears that in every child, although the age varying, that there comes a time where he no longer is restrained by the influences of his parents and expresses himself in a completely new light. Children naturally are given to imitation and are often carried by the faith of their parents. Children of godly parents tend to display more morality than children of the world, and thus many are filled with much self-righteousness before conversion. As with all men, children are influenced by the greater majority of those they are associated with; this is often mistaken as fruit of salvation, such as singing worship music, a form of prayer, memorization of scripture, pointing out things that are wrong, and a love to go to church among other things. It must be understood that one can have these and many more and still be lost. I am truly perplexed that these things are not taught when addressing parenting, yet it was commonplace among the times in church history where family devotions were imitated.
Many have termed this change in maturity ‘age of accountability’. To be put in clearer terms, the age at which a child is able to comprehend right and wrong, that he must turn from sin and turn to God, with this understanding will come true remorse. It is the fallacy of the day (obscure to 100+yrs ago) that a mere imitation and repeating of a prayer means that a child has been saved; this leads to the countless numbers of testimonies of people coming to Christ then ’backsliding’ for 10, 20, 30+ yrs: and if the church was not so naive and truly tested things by the word then it would become clear that this ’time’ of falling away began (shortly after the influence of the parents was changed. Yet I believe if the true gospel (spelling out the truth before people, convincing them of their wicked heart, emphasizing what is least comfortable; SIN) is preached, taught, and tested then many would avoid much heartache over loved ones; as a result many parents would be convinced that they must not stop short of true fruit and continue to warn their children to flee from the wrath to come.
The church has adopted a ‘convenient theology’ when it comes to practical application; in it’s declaration of sin, hell, false conversions, false teachers and church discipline. Evangelism stops at the point of the (Christian’s) conscience being appeased, not at the full counsel of God being declared.
Children in the past were taught theology (many had to learn to sit in service and listen) and Sunday school teachers were tested and taught how to declare God’s full truth to children. Unfortunately the flooding of unnecessary programs has led to such a need for workers that the prerequisite for many is simply to volunteer (this is unscriptural); many a church would do well to completely remove every ministry and then to add what seems to be most vital, most fruitful, and most scriptural and even divinely equipped by God.
Has no one noticed that it is not commonplace to see children in the scriptures or older biographies (Spurgeon, Wesley, Edwards, Whitefield, Bunyan, etc), and even (the most renowned and respected) revivals come to saving faith. Yet we are wrongly told that it’s commonplace today and in fact the easiest time to reach them. Yes with the sort of gospel that’s being told today it would certainly make sense that many are coming to such professions. I witnessed this and was also an advocate to this in two big inner-city children’s ministries, where several hundred children week after week were told the seeker sensitive gospel or even the “carnal Christian” (Jesus as Savior now and Lord later or never) gospel, then countless numbers would be testified of coming to Christ yet as time went on it was plain that nothing had truly happened. Oh but one would say my testimony says something quite different” what does your experience mean compared to thousands of years of truth; I too thought I was saved at a young age but it was a Christianity that was only imitation and lasted only when I was around the influence of the church, yet it was like the morning mist Hosea 6:4, but perhaps you may be one of the few exceptions. Of course because we are creatures of habit and our minds are filled with ‘patterns’ of thought we naturally reject what confronts the things we have always accepted. Yet search the scriptures and you will not find a special kind of faith for children, or a special kind of fruit for children; even search your memory of the many people you have watched this major shift (more like a manifestation of what was there) in young people and as they are given more freedom have used it to reject the fellowship of the church .
I am truly so concerned with this in regard to my children that I would (and should) do all in my power to guard my children from a man centered, non offensive, soft (faulty) theology, veggie tale gospel. I would curse the day (if true fruit or true understanding is not accompanied) someone tells me one of my boys got saved and were ‘assured’ that they will now go to heaven; nothing could be more detrimental to a person than a belief in a false profession. I believe this is also why many including myself (previously) have viewed (wrongfully) the sacraments as insignificant, due to the fact that warnings are so few and far between, in regards to baptism not many are really examined, and so that which is so beautiful and significant has lost it’s awe (fearful amazement which leads to worship).
My purpose in writing these things is surely not to impress or to receive any acknowledgement for there is nothing worse to a preacher than to be told ‘great sermon’ and then nothing is taken in or followed. I beg my brothers in Christ to examine the truth (to ignore all prejudices against age and intellect) and pray that God may reveal what applies in our lives and in our churches and then to respond by acting on that truth.
I believe that the only solution is a full reformation, not simply a couple teachings: for we are confronting something that has greatly influenced many churches, books, and missions.

Unfortunately it's too common to hear people professing the salvation of their children at even 3 or 4 yrs old, yet these children grasp nothing but "who wants Jesus to come inside your heart?"
Can you explain the gospel? I remember reading i believe Spurgeon on 'soulwinning' and he made the point that if you can't explain something to a child then you don't really understand it; in other words: you don't find children's truth, but you explain and re-explain solid truth until they can grasp it.
At the conf my wife and I attended in Sept, Paul Washer explained how one night he stumbled upon his child crying (5yrs at the time) and asked him what was going on: Ian replied that he didn't want to go to hell, well after Paul had talked to him, it seemed clear the boy was merely scared but not repentant. YET what would have most parents done? or most ministers? They would have said some pitiful cliche' and led their child in a FALSE profession which they would never again question! THIS IS CHILD ABUSE, I BEG YOU LEARN THE GOSPEL AND LEARN WHAT THE FRUITS OF SALVATION ARE. Consider also the many reasons a child may not be sincere: *a desire to fit in *a desire to please the parents *wanting to go to DISNEY heaven. Don't be so anxious that you are blind to what's really going on, be patient and continue to explain the gospel. I'm not limiting what CAN happen, but asking you to be looking for what is ACTUALLY happening.

1 comments:

Anonymous

Julius,

This is very well stated and I believe that what you have stated is a great concern for churches today and is something that needs to be addressed.

Chad

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