Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Dear Church

 

Dear Church…

B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, August 19, 2020

Introduction

News flash – kids are walking away from the church, with few returning. No surprise here. We’ve known this for decades. This trend already hit England and it was a plague of devastation. Church attendance for the Church of England (Anglican) in the UK is less than 2%[1] and 25% of these churches don’t have a single kid in their pews.[2]

By and large, what is the church in the USA (and other parts of the world) doing to counter this? Very little. In fact, most churches are doing business as “usual”, which is what the Anglican church has done as it spiraled down into oblivion.

So what is the “usual” business at the church? You know…have some music, some announcements, teach some Bible, some theology, some morality, and the gospel (this part is optional in some churches—sadly). Is there anything wrong with teaching some Bible, theology, morality, and the gospel? Not at all.

So why am I being critical here? It’s what is missing. Let me put it to you like this.

How many of you have gone to church and used the Bible to learn philosophy and logic (formal and informal)? How many have gone to church to learn the technicalities of Flood and post-Flood geology? How many have gone to church to learn about literature and its styles from the pages in the Bible? Or apologetics surrounding astronomy, genetics, or biology? Or refutations of Zoroastrianism, paganism, Epicureanism, and agnosticism? And so forth? 

Most of you would answer that the church doesn’t teach these things;  furthermore, some might even answer that this is not even the purpose of the church. But consider the Great Commission:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)

Should the church be teaching all subjects? The Word of Christ from Genesis-Revelation hits on virtually every subject. So yes, we should. Churches should be regularly refuting false doctrine and false teachings (e.g., Titus 1:9).   

Does Jesus have authority over Zoroastrianism, paganism, Epicureanism, and agnosticism? Yes. Jesus has authority over all false worldviews. Does Jesus have authority over geology, biology, and astronomy? Yes, all sciences are subjected to the authority of Christ. 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16, NASB)

Is the Word of Christ useful for teaching, correction, and training in righteousness? Yes, thus logic, literature, and every school subject (history, reading, science, apologetics, vocations, math, etc.) is under the authority of God’s Word.  But consider this glaring issue. We are not teaching these types of subjects in churches. 

Listen, I get it. The church only has a whopping 2-3 hours for teaching each week (combined with music and other stuff) so most of these subjects are left behind. Do you realize, that most churches wouldn’t consider having a biology, logic, or literature class—even if they had the time. Why? More importantly, these other subjects are seen as secondary to “important” teachings like theology (often dubbed the “queen of the sciences”) or the gospel.

So where do people go to learn these other subjects? Elsewhere—not the church.

If local churches don’t realize the problem quickly, they are going to go extinct. They need to hit the issues head on. I’m not going to sugar coat this—to make the necessary changes, it is going to feel like passing a gall or kidney stone.

A brief history lesson of why the church doesn’t teach all subjects anymore

The church has been doing the same things they’ve done since 1840 (or you pick the date). Now all of a sudden in the past semi-century kids have dropping like flies. What changed?

Let’s go back to 1840 and see how that time and teaching was different from today.  In 1840, the Bible was used in the classroom at public schools (“public” schools in America mean “state-run” schools, not private schools). Public schools and public universities, were essentially an outreach of the church, which had grown from Sunday schools that were originally founded by Robert Raikes in 1700s in Gloucester, England.  

In 1840 and for a hundred years prior, the church didn’t need to expend massive resources to train to kids at church to learn about math, literature, science, logic, history, apologetics, and so on. Even the Bible was taught extensively as part of the public school curriculum. So local churches pulled back from those teachings since there was no sense in being redundant.

Instead, they put their focused teachings on their distinctive theologies [which separates them from other denominations], moral codes, and the gospel. So they essentially gave the majority of teaching (~40 hours per week) over to the public school system to train their kids. Initially, this was acceptable since the schools were, as mentioned before, essentially an outreach of the church and a subdivision of it.

But all that changed... It was slow and subtle.

Jumping forward to 2020    

Suddenly, we find that public schools are no longer an outreach of the church, and is solely taken over and run by the state. The state/governing authorities, which was established under the authority of our Divine Creator and Lord who is the Almighty God,  Supreme and Sovereign Being and Ruler of the universe,[3]  has now separated itself from the church as well, being a secular humanistic-dominated institution. Thus, the state largely promotes and teaches the religion of secular humanism (e.g.,  atheism, agnosticism, secularism) in classrooms and other state-funded projects and media.

The Bible has been systematically removed from the public school classrooms. So has prayer, creation, Christian songs, Christmas songs, nativities, Christian morality, the Ten Commandments and generally anything that has to do with Christianity. Therefore, the Bible is no longer used for logic, philosophy, history, science (e.g., biology, geology, astronomy, etc.), music, art, literature, and so on.

Instead many public school classrooms, whether teachers, administrators, or textbooks, actually oppose the Bible and Christianity. Some even attack it with fervor.  

Teachings, like secular view of origins including big bang, millions of years, and evolution, are taught. Secular morality now dominates the classroom with children taught to have free sex at earlier ages regardless of marriage, pro-homosexuality, pro- gender fluidity, pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, pro-evolutionary racism, and even pro-secular philosophies of politics like Nazism (i.e., national socialism), socialism, communism, and fascism. 

These things are reinforced when the kids go on field trips to secular humanistic institutions like natural history museums or secular science museums and read and do projects with secular magazines and websites or other media. Kids get extra credit for joining in secular protests and engaging themselves in secular activities and secular clubs. 

By the time most kids from Christians homes graduate high school, they have been thoroughly indoctrinated to follow the religion of humanism—all with the unwitting blessing of the church (and parental congregants)—who are merely doing business as usual.

To bring this closer to home, I was one of those kids. I went to church and got the basics. But I was also indoctrinated heavily at state run schools and had it shoved down my unsuspecting throat from early grade school through college. 

What has the church done in response?

What has the church done to counter this trend? First, by and large, church members still send their children to the public schools for an education (about 85-90% of them).[4] Let’s hash this out in more detail. Christians are sending their children to be indoctrinated in the religion of humanism for nearly 40 hours per week in earth science class, biology, history, ethics, health, sex education, etc.

Kids are constantly being engrained in secular morality by teachers, textbooks, and peers. The kids are influenced to have sex at incredibly young ages and if they get pregnant they can go have an abortion and their parents don’t even need to know. If parents ask—just lie about it—Christian morality doesn’t exist in the classroom—and don’t be deceived in thinking it does.

Second, most local churches are teaching the same few things for 2-3 hours per week—some theological distinctives, some moral teachings, some Bible, and some gospel. Of course, this is after music, announcements, greetings, offerings, communion, and specials are subtracted from the precious little time the church actually has with its local congregants. 

So who is going to win the hearts and the minds of the next generation? The secular world. And stats prove this. About 70% of kids in church homes are leaving for secular religions and not returning.[5] This makes sense when about 90% of kids in church homes are learning the secular religion for the majority of their childhood.[6] 

What is the church to do?

Get ready for the kidney stone to pass…teach all subjects biblically. This sounds simple enough, but we know that this is a huge task. After all, most Sunday school teachers or small group leaders are teaching because they were available. It was not because they were trained in apologetics, biology, astronomy, geology, logic, etc. So yes, this is a huge task—even the teachers need to be trained extensively.

Next, encourage Christians in your churches  to get kids out of this secular humanistic system. No more excuses.

I hear people say, “our school system is still good—we even have some good Christian teachers in there”. It’s time for a reality check. Not one pro-Christian textbook is used in public school. The gospel is not there. Jesus and the good news of the gospel is not presented in school books. If teachers are teaching the gospel, they will likely be fired. Jesus said in Luke 11:23, "He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.”

Don’t get me wrong, there are good Christians teachers and administrators (and they need our prayer by the way), but they stand side-by-side with teachers and administrator who are openly opposed to God’s Word and mock it in the very next classroom. Christian teachers are extremely limited in what little they can actually say and do in state-run schools. But secular instructors have a green light to teach their religion.

Can your kids in church properly  and gently articulate presuppositional apologetical defenses and offenses to fend off direct and subtle secular influences through an AIP methodology? Yes I did ask this on purpose to show that kids are not yet trained to withstand and deal with these attacks. I wasn’t and my witness was clearly affected in my college years. In other words, your kids are not equipped to be salt and light yet. They themselves need to be seasoned and enlightened with proper training.

Dear Christians, when you send your kids to an educational system that opposes Christianity, even with a few Christians in that system with their hands tied, you are still sending them to a warzone.  I suggest that they are not ready for the battle or the war, and you, as a parent or a church, are not at the school to help them. They are on their own when they hop on that bus or enter that door of that school.

I don’t say this lightly—it happened to me. I went to public schools and was taught humanistic views from the word “go” including secular immorality, secular history, secular science, etc. This was over 35 years ago. The schools haven’t become more Christian in 35 years, but just the opposite.

Let me put it this way—if a Muslim or Hindu school opened near your house, would you, as a Christian, send your children there to be taught the Islamic or Hindu religions for 40 hours a week? Would you assume that the local Sunday School lessons would be sufficient to refute those religions? 

I suggest churches encourage either homeschooling or Christian schools—even some Christian school you have to watch out for and vet. Many of them use secular textbooks or have non-Christian teachers who still oppose God’s Word and clear teachings in Scripture. If it were me, I would love to see every church have their own school and/or co-ops to assist homeschools.

Churches should meet more than 2-3 hours per week. And teaching shouldn’t be a mere “feel good” message or brief segment on Scripture, but much more.  Refuting false doctrine, dealing with relevant issues in the church and in the culture, expositing Scripture while not neglecting topical teachings, refuting false religions, teaching good science like chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, geology, etc. (most fail to realize that science is predicated on a biblical worldview).

Teach philosophy and logic, and so forth.  And teach creation and general apologetics—how to defend the Christian faith from all opposition. Teach the AIP test (how to refute false arguments by spotting arbitrariness, inconsistencies, and preconditions of intelligibility).[7] 

Do you think Christians in the first century sent their children to the pagans around them for an education? Not at all. Do you realize that secular humanism (based in naturalism and evolutionism) is merely a form of paganism—Epicureanism, to which Paul argued against in Acts 17?[8]

Christians often look at the Old Testament and criticize the Israelites for mixing their godly religion with the pagan beliefs surrounding them (e.g., Baal and Ashtoreth worship, etc.).

But Christians today are doing the same thing. How many Christians are happy with calling God a “woman” (this would technically be Wicca or Witchcraft at this stage) or geological evolution (millions of years) or biological evolution (single-celled organism-to-man) or astronomical evolution (big bang)? Far too many. They are mixing their Christianity with the various forms of paganism of today. 

Be honest with yourself, has paganism crept into your local church? Has it crept into your beliefs? It did with me.

Dear Christians, it’s time to repent and ask the Lord for forgiveness and return to the clear teachings in the Bible beginning with Genesis. It’s time to learn and teach every subject through the lens of Scripture in our churches and homes. If we don’t address it head on, then the church is heading in the same direction as the Anglican Church in England—extinction. And your kids are heading down the false path of paganistic humanism. 

Deuteronomy 11:18-20 says, "You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (NASB)  

 Responses

1.       “Our church is doing fine, we have a large church and many kids.”

But how many of their congregants didn’t go to another church prior to their conversion by the Holy Spirit? Most larger churches grow at the expense of smaller churches in their area who cannot offer as much. The key to seeing the decline is to look at the smaller churches in the area. Where are the kids in their 20s?  They are largely missing. 

2.       “My kids are like missionaries in the school system.”

No they aren’t—stop deceiving yourself. According to stats, 70% come out as unbelievers and you won’t know about it until they are over the age of 18. That means that 70% of your missionaries leave the faith. The few that do make it through with their faith intact, still has their faith on shaky ground. That was my situation. It was struggle for many years. The majority of kids in my church and youth group when I grew up are secular pagans now.

When you send your kids to public schools, by and large, they are in training to be disciples of anti-God teachers (one after the other, with the rare Christian thrown in from time to time). If you really think your kids are ready for this battle then, why waste time with school—instead, drop them off at the local Sikh Temple, Satanic Temple, or the local mosque to be good witnesses under their lead teachers for 40 hours per week for 12 years and see how goes.

3.       We go to the public school because they can offer sports, music, and other programs, smaller Christians schools and homeschools just can’t do.

I’m going to be frank here…is this risk of a few years in pagan education worth the potentiality of your kids going to hell—just to play some ball or a clarinet? Mark 8:36 says,  "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”

Conclusion

The point is that we, as Christians, keep letting the world train the majority of our children, teens,  and college age kids. And we wonder why they walk away from the faith? This better be a wakeup call.  The eternal souls of your kids and grandkids are at stake. Don’t be a parent, who 10 years from now, suddenly asks why their kids, who are finally brave enough to say something, are claiming to oppose the Bible, hates the church, and has no love for Christ.

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.  (Proverbs 22:6, NKJV)



[1] John Bingham, Church of England attendance plunges to record low, The Telegraph, January 12, 2016, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/12095251/Church-of-England-attendance-plunges-to-record-low.html.  

[2] No children in quarter of Church of England congregations, BBC, October 23, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-41720994.

[3] Per the Four Organic Laws of United States of America (Declaration of Independence, Northwest Ordnance, Articles of Confederation and the Constitution) and each US State Constitution.

[4] Ken Ham, How Is AiG Reaching into Public Schools?, Answers in Genesis, March 30, 2015, https://answersingenesis.org/religious-freedom/how-is-aig-reaching-into-public-schools/.

[5] See: Ken Ham and Britt Beemer with Rodd Hillard, Already Gone, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2009; and Ken Ham with Jeff Kingley, Ready to Return, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2015.

[6] Ibid.

[7] For more on this see: Jason Lisle, The Ultimate Proof of Creation, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 20XX.

[8] Bodie Hodge, If Paul Were Around Today, Would He Argue Against Evolutionists?, Answers in Genesis, June 14, 2010, https://answersingenesis.org/apologetics/if-paul-were-around-today-would-he-argue-against-evolutionists/.

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