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|eBook for Cell Phone - What My Parents Church Should Have Taught Them|
My parents grew up in the Depression and were imprinted during their teen years by WWII. Like many of their generation, they had an assumption that if you went to college and did what everyone else did, you would have a happy life. My mother was from a blue collar background and my father was from a white collar background. Their early married life was spent in the military. Like many who entered suburbia in the 1950s, they had expectations of happiness that were never realized.
I could have written this as a “What I think is Wrong with Churches” book, however, I am taking this in a more personal direction. In the end, parental and church deficiencies can have a very personal effect on one.
I once worked with a guy from Palestine. I asked him if he was a Muslim and he said he was. I then described four levels of religion. At level one were those who were completely involved in their religion and would die for it. At level two were the children of level one who knew every aspect of their religion and would put up with a lot of discomfort for it. At level three the children of level two were familiar with some of the more significant aspects of the religion and were willing to suffer an occasional inconvenience for it. At level four one could find those who had become secular, switched to another religion, or were even hostile to it. I asked him what kind of Muslim he was and he said he was level three.
As a level one Christian I have always wondered how one can insure that their children are also level one. My parents were level 2. My own journey was level one as a child, level four as a teenager, level three as an adult, level two as a parent, and level one as a senior.
The fact that both my parents turned to alcohol as the only way they saw to cope with a life they felt they couldn’t understand or control speaks volumes to the ignorance they had about life. While their own parents were particularly ignorant and thus negligent in teaching their children, their church was even more to blame. While a priest is supposedly an intermediary between God and man, a pastor (shepherd) presents himself as one who cares for the “flock” of Christ.
Perhaps the single greatest flaw in modern churches is inadequate teaching. It fails both in how teaching is done and what it is that is taught. Paul writes the Ephesians that pastoring is done by teaching;
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; - Ephesians 4:11
A closer examination of the verse shows a grammatical connection between the word pastor (shepherd) and teaching such that pastoring is accomplished by teaching. The article translated “some” is singularly applied to apostles, prophets, and evangelists, but is used to combine pastors and teachers.
Some pastors feel that their obligation to teach is accomplished in a weekly half hour sermon-lecture. While this conforms to traditional and common practice, this book will attempt to show how this is woefully inadequate.
I am 72 years old as I start this book. It is my hope that it will be of use to my children and their children. It would be rewarding if this book was useful in changing churches to better instruct their members. While a few might attempt a small change or two, the changes described in this book are so extensive and many that I suspect that the best that can be hoped for is that my children will find in it some use to compensate for whatever inadequacies they find in the churches they attend.
My father grew up in a Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod). His grandfather was the son of a German immigrant and became a pastor of a very large German Lutheran church in Wisconsin from the 1880s to the 1930s. Most of the deficiencies of his church are common to most churches regardless of denomination. While the impact of denominationalism will be addressed later, it can be helpful to consider that denominations (divisions) are called symptomatic of immaturity when Paul writes the Corinthians;
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? - 1 Corinthians 3:1-3
Most churches hire a pastor to continue to maintain things the way that they are. Occasionally a church may hire a pastor to be bold and do things a new way (usually to compete in the marketplace for new members). Seldom it is to make the church less worldly and the members more godly. Even if it was the desire of a church, seminary graduates are seldom instructed in this direction. As a result, churches are unlikely to change. The second part of this book will be directed to things individual Christians may wish to experiment with to compensate for what churches usually fail to do.
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