Monday, April 02, 2007

The Principle of Spiritual Reproduction

It has been said that every nation in history that has fallen has done so because of the inability to understand the importance of teaching and instructing the next generation. Today America and her families are facing such a crisis. The values and morals that were once so powerful in our society are being eroded away by so called doctors and psychologists who neglect the absolute authority of the Word of God.

Without the Bible as an absolute we are told that our children need to be given choices and not be burdened with our ‘dogmatic and authoritarian religiosity.’ This philosophy is in direct opposition to the Principle of Spiritual Reproduction; which without the application of our children will not have the strength to withstand being swept away by the false teachings of our world.

King David understood this Principle of Spiritual Reproduction in relationship to his son, Solomon. David is shown many times in the scriptures admonishing Solomon in this way or that.

David gives Solomon planes for the temple; instructs him in what he should desire of God; charges Solomon while he lays on his deathbed; and even invites Solomon to important meetings with military advisors and heads of state. Solomon’s life was full of instruction from his father.

King David was a man who understood the Principle of Spiritual Reproduction. David knew that if Solomon was to rule- he must be trained in diplomatic affairs and spiritual affairs. So powerful were David’s teachings; that historians of Hebrew culture view Solomon’s reign as “the golden age of Israel.” David had applied the Principle of Spiritual Reproduction to Solomon’s life, and the effect has lasted through the ages.

The Israelites were headed out of Egypt when Moses gave them a commandment concerning the keeping of the Passover that is still observed today. After finishing his instruction about the Passover he said, in Exodus 13:9, “On that day, tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.”

Early on in scripture Moses was establishing this Principle of Spiritual Reproduction for the newly formed Nation of Israel. Many times in scripture- particularly in the writings of Moses- you will find similar verses to the one in Exodus 13:9. Verses that command parents to talk to their children about what they believe and why they do the things they do. This idea of passing on knowledge and truth from one generation to the next is the Principle of Spiritual Reproduction.

Before we dive into the specifics of the Principle, let’s make sure we realize why this Principle exists in the first place.

In language we express statements and ideas so that others may ‘know’ what it is we are trying to communicate. When the Israelites where instructed to ‘tell’ their children why they were doing what they were doing, we can imply from what we know about language that it was so their children would ‘know.’

This may seem a little elementary at first glance, but bears saying. The whole purpose of the Principle of Spiritual Reproduction is so that our children will ‘know.’ Without the Principle they will not ‘know.’ If the purpose is to know, then why is there a need for knowing?

Our children need to ‘know’ to be able to; Give an answer “for the hope that is in [them]” as stated in 1 Peter 3:15; Not be “tossed back and forth be the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men…” as stated in Ephesians 4:14; and be active participants in the Purpose and Plan of the Kingdom of God by ‘continuing steadfastly’ in the Apostles doctrine, and fulfilling the great commission.

Since we cannot argue the fact that there is a Principle of Spiritual Reproduction, and since we cannot argue why there is one, we need to know whose job it is to apply the Principle.

The Apostle Paul was overjoyed at Timothy’s heritage because of his grandmother and mother. They had lived a life of faith, and somehow they had passed that faith on to Timothy.

In the first passage taken from Exodus 13:9, Moses said, “On that day, tell your son…” Obviously he was speaking to parents in that passage. No one can deny that it is a parent’s responsibility to apply the Principle of Spiritual Reproduction. Before we place the burden on parents alone, we need to read further in the scripture.

In Deuteronomy 4:9-10 Moses is again speaking to the Israelites about the Principle of Spiritual Reproduction. He says, “…teach them to your children and to their children after them.” In this text, it is obvious that Moses has moved past the parents and is now also addressing grandparents. In other words, he has moved outside the immediate family unit and is now placing a certain amount of responsibility on the extended family. Again, we need only look further in scripture to find the responsibility does not end at this level.

In the book of Ephesians, after the church as been established, Paul tells the Church that she has been given apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to edify, minister to, and equip the saints. In other words, the Church must also bear some of the responsibility in applying this Principle of Spiritual Reproduction.

From these three accounts, we see a Principle that is first, and foremost, applied in the home, buttressed by the extended family, and further supported by the family of God. With the church forming the outer ‘shell’, the families are cocooned and enveloped in support while they apply this Principle to their children.

Hillary Clinton once said that it takes a village to raise a child. She is correct. There are so many people who play such important roles in our development.

A very discouraging trait by many parents, a trait fostered by the humanistic ideas of our day, is one in which parents defend their child’s every move- no matter how wrong or misguided. They allow no one else to correct their child and often make adversaries of ‘over-protective, intrusive’ pastors, youth pastors, and children’s ministers who have their child’s best interest at heart. This type of attitude only hinders the process of Spiritual Reproduction because it tears away and undermines the spiritual support system of the home: the church.

Now that we know whose job it is to apply the Principle of Spiritual Reproduction, we can discuss the Principle itself in depth. The Principle of Spiritual Reproduction is that children must- learn, experience, and continue.

Experts in the field of Child Development tell us that, “learning increases understanding and acquisition of distinct abilities.” In other words, learning what to do and how to do it helps us understand and gain new abilities in relationship to what we are learning about.

Parents teach their children a number of different things in life without someone telling them when and how to teach. Children are taught to walk, to talk, to ride a bike, and to lace a shoe. Children are taught to hold a fork so that they do not drop food all over the table when they eat. They are taught to scrub themselves when they bath so that they smell better than the family dog. Parents understand that by teaching a child these simple things, they are gaining new abilities that will help them understand and function successfully in life.

It would be hard to find someone who would not agree that children must be taught certain skills; however, all too often we do not feel the same way about spiritual things. Many children are never really ‘taught’ to pray by the testament that they simply do not ‘know how’ to pray. Many parents believe that children will somehow ‘learn’ spiritual truths although they have not taken the initiative to ‘teach’ those same truths.

Parents assume children will learn to pray. They assume children will learn to read the Bible. They assume children will learn Bible stories if exposed enough times in Sunday school or at church. Many parents abort their child’s spiritual learning by refusing to take place in spiritual teaching. One cannot take place without the other.

In the Hebrew language the same root word is used for teaching and learning. In other words- we are not teaching our children unless they are learning. True Biblical teaching is only accomplished when someone responds by learning what has been taught. All of us agree with and understand this principle to be true.

We would not say that a child has been ‘taught’ to lace a shoe if he cannot tie shoes. They very act of teaching implies that a necessary response of learning is taking place. A child who has been successfully ‘taught’ to walk demonstrates her ‘learning’ by actually walking. Often times- lessons of learning must be repeated frequently.

Today’s Parents, Youth Workers, Teachers, Pastors, and anyone else who works with children are being indoctrinated with the idea that children must have many different choices in every aspect of their life so that they may learn the importance of making good decisions. Families are being fed the idea that children must come into a ‘spiritual awakening’ or realization of values by the choices they make. This is a lie and should be unmasked wherever found.

In Luke 11:1, Jesus’ own disciples asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Even the disciples understood that spiritual learning could not take place without spiritual teaching and that there would be no magical time of ‘awakening.’ In the same way our children must be taught spiritual practices and truths if they are to learn them.

A parent applying the Principle of Spiritual Reproduction knows that a child must be taught truth, how to pray, and how to read and understand the Word of God as vigorously as taking a bath, learning to walk, lacing a shoe, or holding a fork.

The second aspect of the Principle of Spiritual Reproduction is that children must experience what it is they are being taught. David also knew this part of the Principle as well.

In 1 Chronicles 28 David brings Solomon to a very important meeting with all the officials and military advisors in the kingdom; for if Solomon was to be king, he was going to need real life experience in leadership.

We know from studies that the more portions of certain areas children are experienced to, the more successful a child will become in that particular area. The more times you and your family take your child out to eat in a fancy restaurant, the more experienced your child will become at using proper manners when eating out at fancy restaurants.

No one argues the value of experience; however, once again parents somehow believe that when it comes to spiritual things there is little they can do in the way of experience. Many parents have bought into the idea that children must ‘experience’ religion on their own and in their own time. Again, this is a doctrine and spirit of the age.

If as a parent you want your child to do well riding a bike, you buy them a bicycle and allow them to experience the process. If you want your child to be good at praying, you set up a prayer time and allow them to experience the process. If you want your child to be good at reading and studying the Word of God when they are older, you buy them a picture Bible before they can read and allow them to experience ‘reading’ it while you read yours. As parents, you must make time for your children to ‘experience’ living for God.

Although the process of experience is not always what we would hope it to be- not all prayer times are filled with a powerful anointing of the Holy Ghost and not all daily Bible reading passages are interesting enough to suppress a yawn; all aspects of each of these spiritual ‘life-skills’ need to be experienced by our children.

In the book of Judges we are told that God Himself left certain people in the land of the Israelites so that they could “experience” warfare. God did not want the nation to be unable to defend itself and be conquered from lack of experience in war thus preventing the ‘Spiritual Reproduction’ of God’s people by the continued ‘learning’ of truth.

The final component to the Principle of Spiritual Reproduction is that ‘reproduction’ must be continuous.

Webster’s defines continuous as being- “joined together closely; to remain [fixed] in a state or place; to be durable; to be steadfast; to persevere in time.” All of those phrases give the idea of permanence and solidness.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

In this passage Moses was telling the children of Israel that they should instruct and teach their children continually. Every moment that presented itself was an opportunity for instruction in Spiritual matters and was to be used as such. They were to be teaching when they woke up, when they laid down, when thy walked, when they stood; all moments of the day were open to spiritual instruction.

So powerful is this idea of a ‘teachable moment’ that Moses could not help but repeat himself five chapters later. In Chapter 11:18, Moses writes again, “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates…”

So seriously did the Israelites take this command, that they literally wore their most sacred truth in a small leather packet on their arm or forehead. These small leather packets were called phylacteries. In them was written the truth about the God they served, “Here, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” No matter where they were or no matter what mundane activity they were engaged in there was a constant and continuous reminder of what they believed.

All too often, a child’s Spiritual Instruction is anything but continuous. Many children are instructed in spiritual matters for forty-five minutes each week on a Sunday morning and instruction is all but stopped every other day of the week. Instruction certainly is not when the lie down, when the rise up, and each possible teachable moment in between.

It has been said that “You don’t just trip and fall into a puddle of skills”; a humorous but true statement. Children are not just going to develop spiritually at some magical age. They are not going to wake up one day and suddenly know how to pray, to read and study the Word of God, to fast, and to have a personal walk with God. These things will take continuous experience and learning.

If we are to see our children successful in the Kingdom of God we must apply the Principle of Spiritual Reproduction. Nations, churches, and families have all been lost because fathers and mothers have forgotten that they must teach their child through continuous experiences about truth and the nature of living in the Kingdom of God.

Never before have parents felt so intimidated by psychologists, so-called doctors, false teachers, and other ‘learned’ individuals who say that children must discover and seek out truth for themselves. While we do not negate the idea that an individual must have a personal relationship with God- humanistic philosophies have taken this statement to an unhealthy and unbiblical extreme. Apostolic parents should never allow anyone to take their power and influence as godly parents away.

It is imperative that we understand the importance of applying the biblical idea of teaching to our child’s spiritual development. It is our responsibility to make sure that our child experiences living for God as continuously as any other vital life lesson. Our children, even our Nation, depend on our ability to grasp and practice the Principle of Spiritual Reproduction.

6 comments:

bouellette said...

You make me feel bad for not teaching enough. You do write beautifully. Love you bunches.

JulieK said...

Wow this is awsome Bro. Joseph! As your mother said so beautifully written. Thank you for the reminder of our responsiblity to our kids.

Lynn said...

OKAY! Now THAT is EXTREMELY LONG!!!! Good.... but LONG!!!!

Keith and Carla said...

AMEN!!! This is a great post.

Kenny & Karen Prince said...

What a great post! We as parents must MAKE time in our busy lives to tend to the matters that are eternally important. I am thankful that my boys love God, love the church, but I still feel a need to do more for their spiritual development.

Joseph James said...

This is basically my notes from the Parent Talk. I have been wanting to post them but just haven't found the time. So... if anyone missed the meeting here is my small slice of it!

You would do well to also see if you can find what Bro. Elms and Bro. Andrew spoke about. They both did very well.