27 October 2009

Already Gone (Ken Ham) - (Pt 2)

I finished the book I began discussing previously, but rather than posting additional posts as I went along, I decided to blow through it and give a recap. A couple of findings they discovered with the survey was:
  • Only 11% stop attending church during college years (most of us assume it is college that shakes their faith)

  • Almost 90% of those leaving the church, do so during the middle to high school years

  • Not much variance between those in public school, or those in Christian or home schools

  • "Sunday school is actually more likely to be detrimental to the spiritual and moral health of our children."
The book is filled with statistics, and breakdown charts of statistics, and can boggle the mind in trying to keep up, but in the end, the point is made. There is an issue, and it stems between a worldview teaching of the Bible's authority and validity versus modern science.

The issue seems to boil down to a two part mindset. Church teaches us moral and spiritual issue and stories. Science and school teach us relevant life facts. Sunday school and youth programs have given the parents the door to shrug off much of the spiritual instruction of their children, and what little they do get in church tends to be Bible stories and Biblical morality.

In many cases, when we look at what is being taught in the Sunday schools, we're just teaching on an inspirational or moral level.

In many cases, they are getting two lessons on a Sunday, and neither are really relevant to them. It's not just Sunday school, it's the sermon, the VBS, it's most of the teaching programs - they are not helping them in the postmodern culture where it is becoming the norm to attack and marginalize Christians. They are not coping - they are not able to cope - they haven't been trained to cope.
If you look at some of the "hard" questions people in the world ask, you have to see that most churches are not educating the children to answer them. There is no real concerted effort to bring our children up with the ability to combat the attacks on the Bible and it's history. Are your children able to answer and defend against questions like:

  • How do you know God exists>

  • Where did God come from?

  • Hasn't science disproved the Bible?

  • What about ape-men?

  • How did Noah get all the animals on the ark?

  • What about carbon dating?

  • How come dinosaurs have nothing to do with the Bible or church?

  • How can the earth only be a few thousand years old when it "looks" so old?
After a while in school, on the edge of adulthood, there begins this disconnect:
The facts are relevant; faith is not. If you want to learn something that's real, important, and meaningful, you do that at school. If you want to learn something that is lofty and emotional, you do that at church. At school, they teach you about everything - fossils, dinosaurs, marriage (different views, gay marriage, etc.), sex, the origin of life, what is "right" and "wrong," different religions - they learn about everything!
The issue boils down to an issue of authority - biblical authority. If the Bible is held as authoritative, then our view of things outside of it have to be in conformity to the authority of the Word. We need to be teaching our young children about this authority, and give them clear answers to the challenges the world seeks to attack with.
In our survey, we asked the thousand young adults who have left the Church if they believed that all the accounts and stories in the Bible are true and accurate. Of those, 44 percent said no, 38 percent said yes, and 18 percent didn't know...

...82 percent of those who said they did not believe all accounts and stories in the Bible are true and accurate did so because of doubts about the authority of the Bible.

Responding to these attacks on the Bible should be at the forefront of our attempts to restore relevancy to the Word of God and make our churches relevant to this generation.
Some very good points are made when examining what modern churches do to stay "relevant" and appealing to the younger masses, but it is all just a band-aid that does not heal the deep issue that exists. It is a short term fix in most all cases.

The education in church tends to be more Bible stories, than application of it to the world, science, etc. We send our children out without the ability to defend their beliefs, and they get shredded and turned away.
True spiritual growth and a healthy church all start with an individual - with you -accepting the Word of God for what it is - the absolute authority - and treating it accordingly. The Bible from Genesis to Revelation is the living Word of God. The written, uncompromised Word of God in your mind and the presence of the Holy Spirit of Christ in your heart is the pure essence of Christianity. When you gather together a group of people with that, "church happens."
Other issues examined are the church's "relevance" as an institution, and the many issues that turn people away from the church on the corner (hypocrisy, political strife, etc.). Much more is covered, and I found this to be a good read. It fired me up to take action, to desire to teach my children and others, the deeper things outside of simple Bible stories.

We must take a position to be in the Word ourselves, always ready to give an answer for our faith, and we must pass that on to our children. Don't simply allow Sunday school to be our children's only exposure to biblical teaching, it won't be deep enough. For those who homeschool, step up the depth of study when it comes to conforming the biblical teachings with the world of science.

A couple of the suggested resources in the appendix of this book include: and many more.

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