Bible Teaching Newsletter

of Biblical Doctrine & New Testament Assembly Life

Volume 2, No 5 September 1, 1995

Train Up a Child...

by David Dunlap

"Train up a child in the way that he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. " -Proverbs 22:6

         Our children may be the only earthly asset, transformed by the spiritual investment of time and effort, that we can take with us to heaven. The scriptures exhort us to nurture and labor to train up the children the Lord has given to us. Parents are called equip themselves for the struggle in holding unflinchingly to the word of God. The proverb before us has been a treasured promise to many who have competed in the arena of child rearing. Many a seasoned saint has fallen disheartened upon its softness. Yet this proverb may be viewed as a dual sided coin - one side containing a promise and the other a warning. Firstly, concerning the warning Jay Adams writes, "The verse stands not as a promise, but as a warning to parents that if they allow a child to train himself after his own wishes (permissively), they should not expect him to want to change these patterns when he matures. Children are born sinners and, when allowed to follow their own wishes, will naturally develop sinful habit responses. The basic thought is that such habit patterns become deep-seated when they have been ingrained in the child from the earliest days." (1) This warning should stir the thoughtful parent to evermore caution in the shaping of the lives entrusted into their care. Worldly toleration and lax permissiveness represent two ends of a cord pulled tightly, choking the spiritual potential of a young life. The failure to protect and instruct children may lead to irreparable damage. The scriptures are unmistakably clear that raising a child is a full-time responsibility. The careless neglect thereof will only result in a heart full of sorrow and pain. Nevertheless, there is a promise contained in this proverb. The hopes of two generations rest upon this precept. Firstly, the generation of when he is in the way he should go, and then the generation of when he is old. Everything in life and godliness hinges upon his childhood training. The word "train" in Hebrew is a rare word; it is used only three other times in the Old Testament. It is variously translated "start up" and "teach". It means "dedicate" and its noun form is the name of the feast Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication. (2) Unless we are dedicated to training a child in the principles, truths and examples of the scripture, we leave him utterly helpless. Two ways lie before him-the way he would go, headlong into a life of sorrow; and the way he should go, a path which leads to "fullness of joy" and "pleasures for evermore." May we be "trainers" of children, that when they are old they will walk in the right way-and that they in turn may become" trainers" themselves of young lives entrusted to their care.

(1) Jay Adams, Competent to Counsel, Grand Rapids, MI:Zondervan, 1970, p.158
(2) Robert Alden, Proverbs, Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Book House, 1983, p. 160

Twelve Rules for Raising Delinquent Children

1. Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. In this way he will grow up to believe the world owes him a living.

2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. This will encourage him to pick up 'cuter phrases' that will blow off the top of your head later.

3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait till he is 21 and then let him 'decide for himself.

4. Avoid use of the word 'wrong'. It may develop a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for stealing a car, that society is against him and he is being persecuted.

5. Pick up everytihing he leaves lying around-books, shoes and clothing. Do everything for him so he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility on to others.

6. Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on. Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let his mind feast on garbage.

7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of your children. In this way they will not be too shocked when the home is broken up later.

8. Give a child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as YOU had them?

9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink and comfort - See that every sensual desire is gratified. Denial may lead to harmful frustration.

10. Take his part against the neighbors, teachers and policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.

11. When he gets into real trouble, apologize for yourself by saying 'I never could do anything with him.'

12. Prepare for a life of grief. You will be apt to have it.

Taken from the Houston Chronicle, "Twelve Rules for Parents for Raising Juvenile Delinquents, Jan. 12, 1960

Bible Clubs Flourishing in US Public Schools

         LONG BEACH, Calif. - Bible clubs on high school and middle school campuses across the nation are drawing thousands of teenagers to regular meetings, a sign of flourishing interest in religion. Throughout the nation, Bible clubs have been growing rapidly, mirroring what trend-trackers like Gallup have called a nationwide spiritual revival. "Almost every week this year, a club has gotten started or is about to be started," said Al Seibert, executive director of the Greater Long Beach chapter of Youth for Christ. The Greater Long Beach chapter helps support nearly 50 campus and off-campus Christian clubs that meet weekly.

         Club leaders say the groups help provide moral guidance. "There are a lot of needs kids have but can't find the answers to in public education, because public education is so neutral, morally, and in a sense amoral," said Chuck Klein, national director of Student Venture, a youth division of Campus Crusade for Christ. Ashley Vittitoe, 18, a senior at Long Beach's Wilson High School, who leads the Lost and Found club said, "the club's activities are centered on the Bible. It opens some people's eyes." Vittitoe is an athlete and student government leader who maintains a 3.5 grade-point average. Andrew Poe, 17, of Los Alamitos has led the Cross Bearers Bible Club at Los Alamitos High School for the past two years. "We pray and preach and have a good time," said Poe, student body president.

         Getting religious clubs on public school campuses has not been without controversy. Schools in the Northeast tend to be less open to religious clubs than in other parts of the country, said Student Venture's Klein. On Long Island, N.Y., for example, teachers and school officials have torn down fliers announcing Bible club meetings and challenged the clubs' right to use school facilities, said Eric Dennie, project coordinator for Youth for Christ in Long Island. "One of the roles YFC plays is to inform kids of their rights," he said. The Equal Access Act gives Bible clubs the same status as other non-curriculum clubs such as Students Against Drunk Driving and Young Republicians. They are allowed to invite guest speakers, use the public announcement system to alert students to meetings, and put on special events. The clubs must be student-led and initiated, must meet when other non-curriculum clubs meet(at lunch time or before and after school), and cannot discriminate against students based on political, philosophical or religious distinction.

          "When the EAA was passed by Congress in 1984, it was supported by a wide range of organizations, including the Parent Teacher Association and the Jewish AntiDefamation League", said Jack Crabtree, executive director of Youth for Christ/Long Island. "But what happened, especially on the East Coast, is a lot of schools still denied student rights," he said. "So in June 1990, the U. S. Supreme Court upheld the Equal Access Act as constitutional." Doug Honig, public education director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Seattle, said the ACLU is wary of religious clubs at public schools. In 1993, the Renton, Washington, school district forbade Lindbergh High School students from praying and studying the Bible before school, citing the state constituton, which forbids religious activities on school property. However, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Equal Access Act took precedence over state law.

Taken from - Jov Thomnson. Kni!!ht-Ridder Newspapers, Sunday, June 11, 1995

Emerging Sunday-School Avant-Garde

The below article serves to illustrate the departure of evangelical churches and some neo-brethren assembies away from a strong emphasis on the Word of God.

         Lights flash and rockets flare as you catapult through the galaxy in your small space capsule. The planet Apollyon, the only planet in the galaxy that does not know God, lies ahead. With a little turbulence, you penetrate the eerie atmosphere. Your ship chooses a city, a different one from last week, and you once again meet the strange yet familiar creatures on this planet. This city has a big problem: stea1ing. The forces of good and evil at work seem peculiarly like those on planet Earth, and for good reason. You are acting out the scenario in a Sunday-school classroom at the Cedar Ridge Community Church in Lanham, Maryland and Apollyon is really an elaborate stage prop that includes a strobe light.

         In recent years, some have asserted that Sunday school is an obsolete concept; others cite statistics to show Sunday school is still a force. Regardless, most church experts and publishers agree that the way Sunday school is conducted is changing. Some larger churches are writing their own children's curriculum, others are substantially adapting current curricula to meet their needs better.

         "Because of attention spans with TV and schools, we have to move through our elements quicker," says Tim Ayers, a director of outreach at Alpine Chapel a church of about 400 in Lake Zurich, Illinois, with Plymouth Brethren roots. More telling is the complaint that traditonal cirricula are "designed for the kid who already knows the Bible story" as Ayers said. The church is writing its own children's Sunday school curriculum. The class begins with a story and moves to puppets, videos, and music. A "master storyteller" shares with the entire group before they break up into small groups. "Kid's want a 'Sesame Street' atmosphere...break it down to the basics and get it across" says Ayers. The class also involves worship music from a stage, live drama, crafts and occasional guest speakers.

Linda Midgett, taken from Christianity Today, January 11, 1993



The US Bureau of Labor and Statistic reported in 1990 that "73% of mothers with school age children work outside of the home. Nearly 1/4 of all children 18 years old and younger live with only one parent. By the time the average child finishes Elementary school, he or she has watched 8,000 murders on TV."



The Police Department in Houston, Texas drew up a list of "Twelve Rules for Raising Delinquent Children." Running through the list is the theme of parental example.



"Throughout the Nation, Bible Clubs have been growing rapidly, mirroring what trend-trackers like Gallup have called a nationwide spiritual revival."




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