By Rob Pue
Today’s children are growing up in a world that most of us parents cannot easily relate to. Its a world far removed from the ideals of Mayberry and Leave it to Beaver. Such television shows of yesteryear portrayed solid families, with solid morals and values. There was such a thing as absolute truth, absolute right and wrong. Was the world really ever like that? Perhaps not, exactly. But no one can argue that American culture has taken a severe deviation from the course we were on just a generation or two ago. Indeed, if our grandparents (known as the “greatest generation,” who lived through World War II and went on to rebuild America) could see the world their great-grandchildren are growing up in today, they’d likely not believe their eyes. Moreover, they’d likely have something to say about how we, ourselves, are living – and about how we are raising our kids. I dare say, they would not be too proud of most of us.
As I look around, I see teens and even pre-teens brashly displaying tattoos and drastic, hideous piercings — sanctioned – and often paid for – by their parents; in the name of “art” and in the name of “freewill.” These same teens are bombarded on every front with filth and debauchery – from the television and cable programming piped directly into their brains an average of six hours a day, to the anti-Christ teaching drilled into them in state-run schools, to internet pornography, to video games that exploit and victimize women, dabble in the occult and addict young “gamers” to the degree that they find themselves unable to stop playing; sneaking away at every opportunity to feed the beast of blood lust in a myriad of games whose objective is to kill, steal and destroy.
If this is not enough deviance, take a look at what has come to pass for “music” in our progressive, new world. Much of what I have heard is not “music” at all – but rather a raucous, rebellious expression of rage, with leather-studded maniacs screaming obscenities, fueling even more rage among the teens. Yes, I am old, but I believe I have been given the gift of acute discernment – and to me it sounds like demons straight from the pit of hell. What’s more, SOME of this stuff – this STYLE of “music” – is known as “Christian.” They call it “Christian Death Metal,” “Christian Punk Rock,” or “Christian Alternative” music. But call it what you like, if you heard it, I think you’d agree: this stuff is utterly demonic in nature, making a mockery of everything holy.
More and more pressure is placed on our young people today, to have premarital sex. Illicit sex in our culture is commonplace, and our children are becoming sexualized at younger and younger ages all the time. Think I’m exaggerating? Have you SEEN some of the clothing styles youth are expected to wear nowadays? Out of frustration at trying in vain to find suitable school clothes for her young, elementary school daughters, one commentator coined a phrase to describe our modern youth fashions. She called it “Prosti-tots.” Modesty is out. Vulgarity and outrageous, inappropriate sexualization of our children seems to be “in.” Instead of expecting purity — and anything less rightly declared shameful — today, we are “progressive,” “realistic,” “sensible” — to the point that we not only expect our kids to have sex, but some parents even allow it to take place openly in their homes, using the excuse of, “well at least they’re not out in the back seat of a car somewhere.” Oh, now THERE’S some wise parenting!
What in the world has happened? How did we arrive at this point? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I cannot understand how ANYONE can make it through the maze of this world without God, the salvation and love of Jesus, and the firm foundation of biblical literacy. But THIS is exactly what has caused our current societal breakdown into madness.
Somewhere along the way, church and God came to be viewed as irrelevant here in America; an abstract idea designed by institutions to control the masses. And the masses did not want to be controlled. Thus, they rebelled, and in their rebellion, they turned their backs on God, threw Him out of the public square and chose a life of secular humanism where they need never heed the Word or will of God, but instead follow the deceptions of demons, glorifying and worshipping self: self-will, self-desires, self esteem. Immediate gratification is the order of the day, and we need deny ourselves no worldly pleasure.
Ironically, in our zeal to be free of the bondage we imagined ourselves shackled with by the confines of Christianity, behind the Iron Curtain, Christians were (and still are) persecuted and killed for their faith on a daily basis. In reality, THEY are the ones controlled and in bondage to an institution – the institution of a wicked worldly government that esteems – of all things – secular humanism. These dear, faithful ones of God daily risk life and limb for just the chance to study His word, but instead find themselves controlled by the institution of government. THEY have no choice. But WE CHOOSE this bondage on our own. We step, willingly, into the trap we set for ourselves.
I’ve watched the American Church devolve over the past few decades into something largely unrecognizable today. As the Greatest Generation passed on, we did not carry the baton forth honorably. We have allowed the very foundations of our faith to erode, and it has happened because we tore down the solid foundations of our forefathers and replaced them with shoddy workmanship on sinking sand.
In 18th century England, Robert Raikes began the first Sunday Schools, as a way to educate the poor children of factory workers, who otherwise would receive no formal education. Using the Bible as their textbook, Raikes taught these children to read and write. Thus, the children received not only instruction in literacy, they received spiritual instruction for life. It was taken very seriously.
Today, many Sunday School programs are a sham. They offer no grades or transcripts and keep little or no record of performance for any given week. Attendance is often tracked only as a way to encourage children to attend regularly, with “awards” of candy or other treats given as “bribes” to keep them coming. What’s worse, many Sunday School teachers really have no business teaching; nor do they have much interest in it. I have been in churches where the entire class consists of a very short “story time,” where the truths of Scripture are not imparted to the youngsters reverently, but more like a fairy tale…and it must be short, lest the class become unruly. This is followed by snack time, and the rest of the class is spent babysitting as the kids color a picture, while the “teachers” wait restlessly for church to let out and the parents come to pick them up. Worse yet, I’ve seen entire Sunday School classes consist of nothing more than the “teacher” putting in a VeggieTales video and allowing the kids to “Veg Out” in front of the tube. So much for solid biblical instruction.
At the same time, our churches have seen a fundamental shift, from sound biblical preaching to “seeker friendly” and “emergent” “talks.” They are no longer called sermons, they are called “talks.” These talks must be kept short, lest people become restless. And they must leave the congregation feeling better than when they came in, or they may not come back again the next week. Most importantly: never, never NEVER say anything that would make anyone uncomfortable!
So our kids begin with Veggie Tales and candy, and when they’re older, they move up to the “adult” church service, where they’re fed more candy-coated anecdotes during the non-offensive “talk” given by the cool pastor in blue jeans.
Oh, how things have changed! There really was a time in America where the Bible was mandatory reading as a textbook in public school. Sunday School was taken very seriously and the children were respectful and reverent. We remembered to keep the Sabbath holy; which often meant no television, radio or other worldly pursuits. Prayer was a part of everyday life in the home, and not just at dinner time. Families attended church together regularly, and received sound instruction in the Word of God, which was seen as valuable beyond measure — for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).
How sad that we have torn down these foundations. Foundations so vital, not only to our family units, but to our marriages, our children’s’ development of moral character, and most importantly, our eternal salvation, and reverent, right relationship with God.
Do I blame the churches? Not entirely. The churches, as institutions, have simply given the people what they wanted. You see, we really DO want God. But we want Him on our terms, with no responsibility or obligation on our part — or at least as little as possible. We want to feel good about ourselves, thus we have heaped up a great number of false teachers to tell us what we want to hear.
Instead of heartfelt worship of our Creator and Sustainer, who rescued us from sin and damnation, we choose instead to sleep in on Sunday. Or, we send our kids to Sunday School and youth group and feel we’ve done our Christian duty. I believe it is the men in our families who are most directly responsible – men who refuse to be godly husbands and fathers, who refuse to set an example, who refuse to live the faith they claim they have in Christ. These are the men who will abdicate their responsibility as spiritual leaders in their homes. Instead of TAKING the family to church, they SEND the wife and kids to church. God is never mentioned in the home. Sunday, for these men, is a day of rest, a day of football, worshipping their favorite team on TV.
The wife and kids return home from a morning of candy-coated, feel-good, fairy-tale style stories, and see that it really doesn’t matter enough to Dad to make the effort. Soon these children will be grown, having developed a worldview devoid of a solid theological foundation, ready to be swayed and manipulated by left-wing new agers and “free thinkers” in the state-owned colleges, where God is ridiculed, along with anyone “stupid” enough to believe in Him.
THIS is how we have arrived at the place we now find ourselves. You know, America is at a crossroads. Never before, in my lifetime, have I seen our country so polarized. Madness seems to reign, as we embrace every religion, including the false and utterly violent religion of Islam, calling it peaceful… we embrace every religion and weird idea to come along; but we refuse to take God our Creator seriously.
Now we find ourselves in another election year. Inevitably the bleeding-heart socialist liberals will trot out the old mantra, “We must do it FOR THE CHILDREN!” to justify yet more government control, more government spending, more tossing aside of our American freedoms. It’s their favorite phrase: “Do it for the children.” How could anyone argue with that? Of course, we must stop at nothing when it comes to our children. Many will go along, willingly placing their wrists in the handcuffs that imprison them – handcuffs we will certainly pay for on credit, like everything else.
If you really want to do something FOR THE CHILDREN, then stop the madness. Learn the truth, know the truth and stand up for the truth! Put your money, time and talents where your mouth is. Are you a Christian? Then learn to discern. Kick out the false teachers and false prophets. Get out of that social club they call a church and begin to worship the LORD in reverence — and sanctify yourselves, a peculiar people, set aside for His purposes. The Lord our God truly is our only hope. IF He still has patience toward us stiff-necked people. He’s longsuffering and patient. Hasn’t He suffered our insolence long enough?
“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Rob Pue is the publisher of Wisconsin Christian News