Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In The News: Choosing My Religion

inthenews

An article in the Tuesday, August 15th issue of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram carried the above title, with the subtitle: “Shopping around for a family church—when the parents aren’t regular attendees—can be intimidating, but experts say it’s never too late to start keeping the faith.” The author of the article, Gaile Robinson, related a cub scout field trip that sent herself and her son to a Catholic mission, with a group of other little boys. The site of a larger than life cross with the Christ figure upon it, with the crown of thorns complete with painted blood, led to an awed silence among the boys, but caused her son to ask, “Whoa, what happened to that guy?”

Other similarly embarrassing moments mentioned in the story was of a girl reading a list of essentials for summer camp asking her mother, “What’s a bibble? (Bible); and a child pointing at the building where her family attended services and saying, “That’s our church, the one with the plus on the top.”

The author began her article with the premise that it was time to choose a church for the purpose of “religious education.” In researching her article, she talked with “church spokespersons” from congregations ranging in size from 30 to 2500, including several non-denominational churches as well as congregations in the Unitarian, Baptist, and Lutheran denominations.

What is amazing about the article is the view held by the author as well as the “experts” that the premise of the search itself was valid. Nowhere in the article was there any mention of the need for redemption, of whether a congregation was standing firm on the truths of scripture, or of where God would want them to be.

Rather than asking, “Is this church a church acceptable to God?”, the question is, “Is this a church that will help me become a better person?” Rather than asking whether a church is truly a fellowship of Christians, the question is whether a church (or synagogue or mosque) gives a person a sense of community.

The article suggested that one talk to the “education directors” of a particular congregation, even though there is no mention of education directors in the New Testament. Further, the experts suggested that a teenager who is “struggling with issues” be trusted, and allowed to explore other churches to find one that suits him. This, instead of calling a rebellious child to repent, and become what God expects him to be.

The author goes so far as to emphasize the importance of class size. “Some children don’t have the experience or socialization skills to slide into a new group with ease. They might prefer a smaller group. When they get older, they might want to be part of a large group.” Again, there is the indication that the child should be catered to, rather than directed.

Instead, what should have been emphasized is finding a church that teaches the gospel of Christ, for it is “the power of God unto salvation” (cf. Romans 1:16). It must be the unperverted gospel, because no other has the power to save (cf. Galatians 1:6-9). The church should be one that is faithful to God, in doctrine, zeal, and work (otherwise the church is unacceptable to God, cf. Revelation 3:14-22). The church should assist parents in raising their children in the “training and admonition of the Lord” (cf. Ephesians 6:4), because if a child is brought up in the way he should go, “when he is old, he will not depart from it” (cf. Proverbs 22:6). Though it should be understood that it is the parents’ obligation to supply “religious education” not the church’s. Parents who aren’t regular attendees should start attending regularly (cf. Hebrews 10:24-25), and take seriously their most important of responsibilities to supply spiritual guidance to their children. Ultimately, it must be understood that the most important thing is finding the church God wants, not the one we want.