What If We Couldn't Go to Church
I recently released a new book: OLD PATHS AND ANCIENT MARKERS, Guarding the Treasure of the Gospel. I wrote it to be instructional and inspirational in particular to parents and their families. I did not see it at the time as prophetic and yet . . . it has turned out to be just that. The writing of the manuscript was concluded in the waning days of 2019. After several weeks of editing, it was finally released to the public in late March––just as the COVID 19 Pandemic was gathering momentum. I want to draw your attention to some paragraphs from Chapter 10 of Old Paths which is entitled: We Must Restore the Home.
“One practical means by which we can restore the home as the spiritual center of the Kingdom is through the family altar. Going back to Jonathan Edwards, ‘Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, and wholly influenced and governed by his rules.’ We must recapture the things that cause our families to become a ‘little church.’
Some years ago, in our own church, we began encouraging men to prepare themselves to teach their children the Word of God. Our argument? No preacher, no sermon, no Sunday School teacher can have such a great spiritual impact upon children as hearing the Word of God taught to them by their father. We provided materials, instruction, and encouragement to parents who were serious about being the source of biblical instruction and discipleship for their children. I will not claim that we have achieved complete success, but our commitment remains firm to that end.
My rationale is simple: If circumstances prevented you from attending church every week––who would teach your children? If our nation fell to a pagan nation that, like many do today, forbid public assembly and public teaching of God’s Word––who would teach your children? If there were no church, no Sunday school, no VBS, or children’s church––who would teach your children about God? All over the world today there are Christian families who grow and flourish in faith without a church building, without Christian children’s clubs, without Sunday Schools, even without safe access to Bibles. Who teaches their children, and where do they learn who God is, and what He is like? They learn from their parents, their grandparents, and their older siblings.
We disobey God when we are not faithful in instructing our children in godly things. Further, we rob our children of a true understanding of faith and relationship to God. They simply don’t learn these things in an endless stream of meetings and ‘Christian events.'” (Old Paths and Ancient Markers, Guarding the Treasure of the Gospel. Chapter 10, page 120)
I did not know at the time I wrote these words, nor could I possibly have known about the impending pandemic that would see most of America locked away in their homes, unable to attend public meetings at a church. However, for years I have “known” such a day was coming and that our families, for the most part, are woefully unprepared for such a time. This may be the first of many crises that will come upon us. I pray that one wonderful outcome from this will be that fathers and mothers will use this lesson as motivation to equip themselves to teach their children the Word of God, to pass along to them the treasures of God’s Word and that never again will we become so dependent upon other agencies to teach our children the faith. We have clearly lost a generation of children in America that do not know God, and I believe (and expresses this belief with passion in OLD PATHS AND ANCIENT MARKERS) that the reason we have lost a generation is that the home, and particularly fathers have abdicated their providentially assigned responsibility to be the primary spiritual leaders in their children’s lives. It is the way God designed it.
These recent weeks of quarantine, if they do nothing else, teach us that we will not always be able to assign the role of teacher and mentor for our children to someone else.