Oh, the tension parents must feel who have left the established church. For they may have left the control and hypocrisy of a powerless religion, yet now face the possibility of their children being swept away by the all of the invasive noise of the world’s teachings. There are many good and bad reasons to walk out of a church, but we must love our children enough to do everything in our power to give them a firm foundation in the Word of God.
Scripture tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he grows older he will not abandon it.” Pr. 22:6 Church or no Church, this is still our mandate. So often I hear of parents that try not to force religion on their children. They say things like “We want them to make their own decision.” What kind of example does that set? Does that not show our children that there are other options of equal value and merit? Is that what we believe? May it never be…
Jesus Christ is the only door to heaven and His way is a narrow one that excludes the world’s answers about God and eternal life. If scripture is our Truth, why would we lead our children to believe that it is beneficial to explore answers outside of His Truth before understanding our own faith? Are children capable of distinguishing Truth from idolatry? If we are being honest, without a firm foundation in the Word of God, a child will build a spiritual foundation comprised of many other things. And when the storms come, that faith built upon the wisdom of the world will fall short of peace, joy, and salvation.
So what is a parent to do? To begin with, we need to embrace the responsibility given to us from God to raise our children in the Way of the Lord. No matter what we choose, we will be judged on the foundation we provide for our children. For if we can not even love our own flesh and blood enough to save them from sin and death, how much more could we love anyone else. Paul wrote saying, 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 1 Cor. 13:2 The truth is, if we cannot love our children in showing them the Truth, we simply do not possess it.
Therefore, after we take on the responsibility for the foundation of our children’s reference of Truth, we then are free to decide how to best raise them in the Lord outside of the established organizations of religion. If you are a gifted teacher and spend the time and energy properly setting the cornerstone of your family’s faith, maybe you don’t need to seek out a Christian teacher or fellowship. However, in most cases, (if we are honest), most of us fall short in our ability to adequately teach theology and faith. No family is an island and that is why Christian fellowship is not only very valuable in the development of faith, it is prescribed to us in the scriptures.
How can I put this simply? I understand the pains and the struggles many of you have dealt with as you made the tough decisions to leave organized religion. Many have been stabbed in the back, others are just done attending rock concerts with no real power and presence, while others have fled their religious heritage as sexual immorality and compromise have fundamentally changed their denomination into something they could no longer remain in. I know that many of you do your best to help your children have some type of family instruction in the Word. But you don’t have to do it alone. New tools for ministry are being developed to strip the religion and tradition out of our fellowships and to once again be a place of healing and spiritual growth.
Just as a credit union is not a bank, so are these new ministries that are being developed as the Church enters a time of great reform. Nothing that I can say will sway those in pain to set aside the walls and defenses they have constructed around their spirituality. My only hope is that with the short time these families have left, they will have the humility enough to seek the help of others in giving their children a fighting chance to seek eternity in this life. There is one fact that cannot be easily dismissed. If Christian fellowship is not a priority in a parent’s life, faith will not be a priority in a child’s life. For whatever reason, these things are connected.
So what will it be? Do you love your children? If you do, find a way to worship and fellowship with other lovers of Jesus Christ. Be it a weekly Bible Study or a “credit union” type ministry that may function like a church in its worship, yet be drastically different than organized religion. But whatever you do, don’t put it off! The older a child gets, the more of the outside world influences their beliefs. Once a child becomes an adult, it becomes extremely hard to come back to faith without that foundation. Remember, that most parents of today still have a foundation from their youth. Many of this generation have never even opened a Bible.
May God bless all who have left ministries of compromise and hypocrisy. Just remember, God will not call you out of something without leading you to something else. When you are ready, we are here. We have shared your pain and have cleared a path for healing and restoration. We are building houses of worship that have no walls, traditions, or doctrines. We are the Church, and we are looking for others who are ready to embrace a new journey as the next great reform begins. If you truly believe you have left the church yet remain in Christ, then seek out the fellowship of those in Christ that share those beliefs.
This month we are starting a youth ministry. If you are open to allowing your children to have a safe place to fellowship with other Christians and to be taught how to study the Word of God, we will do our best to show you that we are a safe ministry that you can trust. We don’t need your money and we don’t need to control you. We only seek Christian fellowship, and that is what we have to offer. You are not alone…