Thoughts on Christianity, politics and life in general from a more reformed and Baptistic viewpoint.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Evangelizing Our Children
Last night during our evening walk, my wife and I were discussing some of the methods and approaches we as Christians use to evangelize children. Evangelicalism assumes a view of man that seems at best sub-biblical. With this sub-biblical view of man, we have created a people that do not have a proper understanding of regeneration or conversion. We have placed these doctrines squarely in the hands of the sinner.
I was once asked by a Christian in a debate, "What is the difference between the natural man and the spiritual man?" The fact I was asked this shows the difficulty of the subject and Evangelicalism's ignorance of this distinction.
Much of Evangelicalism's methods of evangelization is simply appealing to the natural man. By remaining ignorant of natural man's ability to believe almost anything, including Christian religious beliefs, we have simply added Christian beliefs to the natural man's repertoire. Therefore we have churches filled with people who are able to say they believe in Jesus, because of the context in which they have learned about him.
To use an example, all of my children believe in Jesus. The reason is simple. That is all they have ever heard. One day my children will go to college and be on their own. It is then that we will see their true character on display. It is quite often that we see our children "falling away" from the faith they once professed. When this happens most Evangelicals will intuitively say something to the effect of, "They were never really saved." This is quite right and is a solid reason why theology matters.
We also use different forms of entertainment to teach about Christ. We use Hollywood style methods. Are we simply looking more like the world? This is a difficult question because the last thing Christians should be is boring. Being creative is important. Yet using worldly means to get someone to profess faith in Christ is still sinful and dishonoring to God.
Another example of evangelizing children that I have personally witnessed is telling them about hell. Now there is nothing wrong with explaining to children the teachings of the Bible, but as with any subject, we must do so in an age appropriate manner. Taking a group of young children and telling them about hell and then asking if they want to believe in Jesus to escape hell is just manipulative. What 5-year-old child is going to stay behind while all of the other children go to heaven? What child is going to say, "I want to burn." Then after we get their professions of faith, we pat ourselves on the proverbial back because we, as adults, for the moment really believe we converted sinners to salvation.