Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
And a warning from Jesus in Matthew 18, “Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
As our modern American Church continues to descend into apostasy, we are now reaping what we have sown as we can see in the hearts and lives of our young people. Please understand, I’m not talking about ALL of our young people; I know many who have been raised by Godly parents in the fear and admonition of the Lord, and their lives reflect that. But these are most definitely the minority today. For the most part, parents and churches have failed in their duty to disciple the children and protect them from the fleshly enticements of this world and the lies of the enemy of our souls.
This is not a recent development. We’re now at least two generations past the time when God was truly reverenced in our land, in our families and in our homes. Today, God is all but forgotten in our modern American culture, and the Church, which was called to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, has become “good for nothing, except to be thrown out and trampled under the feet of men.” (Matthew 5:13). In total ignorance of God, our Creator, we now scratch our heads and wonder why so many are afflicted with madness, blindness and mental confusion, why we are oppressed by unjust and evil leaders. We wonder how it can be that so many people — young and old alike — are hooked on drugs, following false religions, involved in sexual perversions, addicted to pornography, confused about their very genders and committing suicide.
I grew up in the 1970s. That was still a relatively perverse time in our history, but for many, or even most, there was still a fear of God. We still had our consciences intact, even those who didn’t know the Lord or have the Holy Spirit within them. There was still a fear of God in the atmosphere. That’s gone now. I grew up in a conservative, fundamental church, and I remember fiery sermons preached from the pulpit that addressed the vital moral, ethical and yes, even the political issues of the day, right out of the Bible.
The pastor spoke with wisdom and authority. I remember, more than once, him pounding his fist on the podium to drive home an important point — or to wake up a tired farmer on the brink of dozing off. The sermons were relevant and instructive. We learned how to respond to the important current events of the day, biblically.
Sunday School was taken very seriously. Our teachers were knowledgeable and we learned world history from the Bible. When service time came, there was no such thing as “children’s church.” The kids sat with their parents and listened to the same teaching at the same time. We also sang sacred hymns of the Christian faith, full of biblical, theological wisdom. The words of those hymns brought conviction — and a true REVERENCE for God Almighty. That’s gone now.
Recently, Barna Research released a report on the beliefs of millennials. What Barna discovered is no surprise, considering the atmosphere in which these young people were raised. Barna found that half of young adults prefer socialism to capitalism. Also, for them, there’s no such thing as “absolute truth.” That’s been replaced by “moral relativism” as feelings and friends form their worldview.
Nine out of ten young people now choose a mixture of beliefs from different religions as a form of “virtue signaling” trying not to appear “intolerant.” Being “born again” no longer comes from repentance and faith in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Instead, they believe “born again” means being a “good person” by doing good deeds — and that’s how you earn a place in heaven.
I was surprised to learn that Barna found 28% still believe the Bible is the Word of God, though even among those 28%, almost none have ever read the Bible completely and most have not read any part of it in the last year.
Two out of three millennials believe they’re Christians, but almost none know much at all about Jesus and they certainly don’t follow His teachings. 75% actually believe all religions are equal, that there are MANY paths to “God.” A high percentage identify themselves as “DON’TS” — meaning they don’t know if God exists, and they don’t care. Only 4% now hold a biblical worldview regarding God, life and morality.
That’s where we’re at today. Indeed, what Barna discovered about the young people could also be said of their parents as well. Such is the deception we’ve fallen under and the delusion we live in every day now. It’s been said that the Church should be “a hospital for sinners, not a museum of saints.” Many church-goers would agree with that statement, but it’s entirely wrong, because it addresses the situation from a completely flawed starting point.
The Church is SUPPOSED to be a training ground, a spiritual “boot camp” for those who have come to know the Lord. Ephesians 4:12, “...for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ, until we all attain the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God...” But today, those that attend a church are NOT being equipped for the work of ministry or the building up of the body of Christ. For the most part, our pastors today preach on how to have a better life, a better marriage, how to be joyful, how great WE art, and of course, how we should all give our tithes ONLY to the church we’re attending. Perhaps a Bible verse or two is flashed up on the projector screen, but how are these soft-served “sermons” equipping anyone for the work of ministry?
We need to be equipped, always ready to give an answer to anyone who asks for the faith that we have. Unfortunately, that’s no longer happening in most modern American churches. Christianity is EXclusive, it is not INclusive. God’s love is AVAILABLE to all who seek Him in repentance and faith, but we are NOT all God’s children. Indeed, until we turn to Christ, we remain children of wrath. The wrath of God ABIDES on us. We are enemies of God. — until we become His children. When was the last time you heard THAT in church?
In an effort to be “seeker friendly” and “inclusive,” this essential doctrine has been deleted. One might say the “cancel culture” we’re seeing in every area of society today actually began in the Church long ago, when the Church “canceled” the preaching of fire and brimstone in favor of lollipops and rainbow unicorns. Don’t misunderstand: God is not willing that ANY should perish, but the Bible tells us that most WILL perish, as they choose the broad road that leads to destruction, rather than the narrow gate that leads to life.
Church has changed since I was a kid. Today, “Sunday School” and “Children’s Church” have become little more than play time — led by parents who are only there to babysit unruly and wild kids and make it through the hour until it’s over. There may be a Bible story or a video played — but these are no longer taught as absolute truth; they’re taught as STORIES. Where once Sunday School was taken very seriously, and Scripture was taught as HIStory, now we have “story time,” “color a picture time” and “snack time.”
When the kids are old enough to leave “Children’s Church” and join their parents for the regular service, they’re given “feel good” self-help talks. “Sin” has become a four-letter word, never to be uttered by the pastor who cringes at the thought of appearing intolerant, lest he no longer remain well-liked and popular among the people.
Today, we have churches ordaining homosexual pastors, flying rainbow flags with signs stating “all are welcome.” Today we have churches that believe God evolves in His thinking and the Bible is out-dated, as our culture devolves into depravity, so all manner of sin and debauchery can now be accepted. “Come as you are” is the call.” Unfortunately, even after years upon years of attending weekly services, most continue to be as they always were. They’ve never learned WHY they need a Savior, they’ve never learned WHAT Christ has done that they might be saved, and they’ve never been trained and equipped for ministry outside the four walls of that place.
So instead of the pastor preaching the whole counsel of God, shepherding his people to draw ever closer to the Savior, the Church being a gathering place for those who are soundly saved and IN the family of God, now we open the doors to any and all and require nothing of them. And instead of having the courage to call out sin and wickedness for what it is, our pastors allow the unsaved, unrepentant and ignorant to dictate what is spoken of from the pulpit. Of course, this means he can NEVER speak about current events, he can never speak about abortion, homosexuality, the rampant use of pornography, alcohol and drugs, he can never speak about the lies and propaganda of the COVID scam, the serious dangers of the jab, or the Globalist plans of the “Great Reset.”
So people are left to fend for themselves, and as Barna discovered, they draw their worldviews not from God’s Word, but from their feelings and their friends. But while cowardly pastors will be held doubly accountable for their lack of leadership, it’s not entirely their fault, because the church-goers actually like things just the way they are. Paul admonished Timothy as to what ministering to the lost should be. He said, “Preach the Word, be instant in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
The result is found in 2 Thessalonians 2: “Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” If I could think of any words that most accurately describe most Americans today, I guess it would be “strong delusion.” The lies of the enemy are evident in every government policy, every health order, every politically-correct diversity program, every elementary school, middle school, high school, college and graduate student classroom. To those with eyes to see, the lies of the enemy are evident in every mainstream media outlet, every television show, and every commercial and so-called “public service announcement’ on TV. And the people eat it up.
My wife and I were married at a small chapel many years ago. It’s very scenic and beautiful there. You walk across a covered wooden bridge over the Crystal River and come upon the Chapel in the Woods. We still go back there occasionally, to that place we were married. It’s also somewhat of a tourist stop, because it’s so beautiful there. The last time we were there, a small family was there too, taking in the natural beauty of the area.
They had a young son with them, probably 8 or 9 years old. When he saw the Chapel, he asked his mother, “Mom, what’s that place?” His mother answered, “It’s a Chapel...like a church.” “What’s a church?” the young boy asked. And his mother answered, “It’s a place where people go to pray to God — or whoever.” “To pray to God — or whoever.” This boy is probably 21 or older by now...and like so many, his eternal soul is hell-bound — UNLESS, somehow, someone somewhere managed to reach him with the actual whole Word of God. There’s no reason for us to wonder why our country is in the shape it’s in today. We abandoned God.