By Lonnie Berger of Every Man a Warrior
My friend Tom asked me to kick off a Discipleship Bible Study with about twenty five men from his church. They were good guys, ready to grow and wanting to learn. As I started my message, I asked this simple question, “How many of you have children and want them to grow up to follow the Lord?” There was immediately 100 percent buyin; they all raised their hands in agreement.
I gave them a second question. “How many of you are willing to sacrifice for your children and do the work necessary to build this godly character into their lives?” Again every hand enthusiastically shot into the air.
Last question; “How many of you know three verses from the Scripture on raising children?” There was a hush in the room, and not one hand went up.
In Matthew 22, the Pharisees were trying to trick Jesus and came to Him with a thorny theological question. His answer stunned them—and it scares me. “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures” (Matthew 22:29). Is this true? You and I are in error, you and I mess up, you and I make bad decisions and wonder what happened, all because we do not know the Scriptures.
Unfortunately, as men, our errors, wrong thinking, and bad decisions affect those around us, the ones we love the most. Our wrong internal programming gets passed down to the next generation unless we can discover the truth and correct the error.
A pastor and I were discussing the problem of fathers who were not leading in the family and children who were raised in church, yet later in college rejected its truth. He was bemoaning the fact that our culture, advertising, television, and educational systems have become secular and thus were corrupting our families and undermining the teaching of the church.
But is that the real reason? Culture has been antiChristian for 2,000 years. The darkness is just being dark. The real question is, “Why is the light of the truth of the Scripture not significantly piercing the darkness of our culture through the people of God?” Could it be that a major portion of the problem is that we as men “do not know the Scriptures”?
A church that supports my ministry has me preach once a year when the pastor is on vacation. One year I had an exceptionally funny anecdote. The congregation really laughed.
The following year I was greeted by an usher in the church who remarked how he still got a chuckle from that story and repeated it back to me. As we talked further it became shockingly clear that the joke was the only thing he remembered from my sermon. The vast majority of teaching takes place in our churches in a lecture format. It’s unfortunate that this teaching method carries with it one of the lowest retention rates.