I’m not going to link to a couple of articles that really pushed my buttons, but there were three of them and they all pushed buttons. Each one was speaking to the “children of the congregation” in various ways, each one hitting a real sour note with me.
You do not want to leave me with a sour note, or I shall never shut up about it…..
Hence “Children of the Corn,” the name of a cheesy B rated horror movie, but not unlike the same flavor of what Jesus Himself said when he pointed out in Matthew 23, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”
Perhaps we mean well, perhaps we don’t know any better, perhaps we lack the eyes or the vision to see it, but when we preach to kids this kind of works based salvation, this idea that suggests it’s a good idea to always question whether or not you are saved, we set them up for failure. Perhaps we don’t mean to, but dang, we speak down to kids like they are bloody idiots. “What must you do to be saved?” Get good grades, learn to sit still in church, eat your vegetables, don’t drive your parents, (or really any adult,) crazy…..
Poof, be good and you shall be saved, children. And that is a complete lie, one so many see right through after they are about oh, about 12 or so. Is it any wonder so many young people walk away from our faith?? It isn’t a wonder to me.
“Do you love Jesus,” is hardly any better of a litmus test. Sometimes we get really angry at the people we love, or even indifferent. We aren’t saved by how well “we” love Jesus, we are saved by how well He first loved us.
So if I were in that position, which I am not but I shall say it anyway, I would answer those questions, “what must I do to be saved,” by asking “what makes you think it is all about you??”
And “what makes you think it is all about you” is probably the very question a great deal of kids today need to be asking themselves anyway, but not just kids, more than a few pastors and some parents, too.
Especially those who have to the gall to try to provide this handy dandy checklist of good salvation behavior, behavior that just so happens to align with your own parental world view. Like no kid is ever going to go, well shoot, God sure looks a whole lot like all these dysfunctional adults in my life? I’m starting to believe He just might be a figment of their imagination, someone they invented just to try to control me…..
And that is precisely what many people who have left the church, left the faith even, tell me. And I can see it now, I can see how those lies and deceptions are built on a foundation of perpetually sinking sand.
So kid, how must you be saved? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. It’s not about you or what “you do” or what you “dew,” or how well you perform in public, it is just all about Him.
So stop it, just stop it. Stop preaching good behavior as if it were some kind of litmus test for salvation…
And one last thing, the three men who wrote these article are three men who have me blocked on social media. So listen, when you pull out Psalm 141 in regards to children, (children!) ya’ll be hypocrites. Like apparently you don’t really believe those words or you’d actually be listening to me. What kind wounded soul would ever think to preach to kids, “Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness; let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head.”
What kind of wounded soul? The kind that has apparently never read the rest of the verse, “Their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs, and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken.”
Yeah, that ain’t a Psalm being sung to the “children of the congregation” that’s a Psalm being sung to YOU. That’s your kindness, that’s your rebuke, that is the oil on YOUR head.