Thursday, December 2, 2010

What Should We Teach Our Children?

Recently an individual approached me with the following question?

In your opinion what is the greatest challenge that the church faces?
In my opinion the greatest challenge of the church today is the passing down of biblical truths to the next generations. We are seeing an eroding of our biblical mandate to be distinct as the people of God from the our present day society. This is being happening in all area's from actions, words, thoughts, and appearance. This is happening because of the failure of parents to assume the responsibility to teach their children the Word of God. Today's parents are trying to place this on the church when in reality it is their calling (Deuteronomy 6:1-7). When we look at the biblical mandate of Deuteronomy 6:1-7 we see that the parents are to teach. What are they to teach: First they are to teach Doctrine (Vs 4), especially of One God which is the theological mark of the people of God. Secondly they are to teach a passion for the things of God (vs 5). This passion is represented by the thought of "love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might! This is to be done "diligently" (vs 7) that is, when ever there is an opportunity (vs 8) when you are interacting with your children!
The importance of these verses can be understood by the response that Jesus gives to a scribe when He is asked the question of "Which commandment is the first?"(Mark 12:28) He responded with the scriptures we have quoted above in Deuteronomy 6:4-5! It is interesting that He does quote one of the "Ten Commandments" of Exodus 20! In fact He will state that all of the Law the hangs on two principals: The first is that " God, who is one, is to be loved with the total being" and "to love your neighbor as yourself"! (12:32) There are no commandments greater! (12:31).

It is not the first generation child of God who is coming out of a life that was influenced by a world of Godless values, by fleshly desires and sin who are struggling with understanding the importance of being a distinct individual from this societies values. But those who have been never been involved in a life of sin, who have been raised in the church are turning away! This was the same problem of Israel when they desired to be like other nations and have a king (1 Samuel 8:5, 20). They are replacing the leader of their nation from the King of the Universe who has unlimited wisdom and power to an earthly human king who very limited in wisdom and power. Thus the battle has not changed!

What is a nation? They are groups formed on the basis of political or social interests or on kinship /Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (1527). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House./. The people of God wanted to be defined as a nation by their political ruler! They wanted a ruler who would be visual! The people of God desire to be like other nations not understanding they are to be not like a nation (people) but like God (1 Peter 1:15-16; Lev 11:44-45)! When we are like others we feel that we will be accepted by them! We do not understand to be accepted by God not people is what we should strive for!

What should we being our children? Parents should be teaching their children the doctrine of the church and what passion for God looks like!