Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

Carey Conference Day 2 Session 2

Our second session of the morning began with Andrew King interviewing two Nigerian men from his church. We then heard Ian Fry on working with the the young.
His four points were to do with building on the Bible, building on the past, challenges and implications. it was very helpful indeed.

1 Building on the Bible
From Bible he drew six broad biblical principles that should provide a theological framework which will inform our vision for and ministry to the next generation.
1. The young mattered to Christ
2. The young are born into families The most noticeable fact about the young in the Bible is that they are nearly always seen in the context of their families. Thus Deut 6:6-9, 11:19 picture fathers in conversation with their children, teaching them about the Lord and his ways, while the first nine chapters of Proverbs are a model of the content and approach that parents should take with their children, with particular but not exclusive attention to boys. This continues in the New Testament in which Paul instructs parents and children in Col 3:20-23 and Eph 6:1-4.
3, The young are born into community Another striking feature about the references to the young in the Bible is the number of times in which they appear to be part of celebrations and acts of repentance among God’s people. They were present to hear the law read or when God was speaking to Israel through kings and prophets (Deut 29:10-15; 31:10-12; 2 Chron 20:5-13; Neh 12:43). This pattern is repeated in the only part of the New Testament in which children are directly addressed by Paul in the circular letters to Ephesus and Colossae: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honour your father and mother' - which is the first commandment with a promise - 'that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.' Fathers do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." (Eph 6:1-4) "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." (Col 3:20)
4. The young need to be born again While the young are less experienced sinners than adults, the Bible makes it clear that they are afflicted by the same terrible disease as everyone else - the replacement of the rule of God by their 7 own self-rule, sin. Undoubtedly their sinful patterns will be affected by the adults around them, but this is not to suggest that their young hearts are essentially any less sinful. The young, therefore, have inherited sinful natures (Rom 5:12,19; Pss 51:3, 58:4) as well as corruption. They are God's enemies (Rom 5:10), unable to please God (Romans 8:8) or to assess things properly (Jer 17:9), spiritually dead (Eph 2:1-2) and in slavery to their sinful natures (John 8:34). That is why Prov 22:15 declares that folly is bound up in a child’s heart: "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him." Folly in Proverbs is defined as the outright denial of God’s existence. Children need the same new birth which Jesus told Nicodemus that he needed (John 3:7).
5. The young need to be discipled Much dedicated, sacrificial and valuable outreach work among the young has been done down the years, as is discussed below. Interestingly, the Bible passage most often cited to support this is Matthew 28:19-20 - the aptly named Great Commission: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." The call of the Lord Jesus to his disciples then, and to us now, is to make disciples, not merely converts. Of course, the one precedes the other, yet the discipleship note is dominant, reinforced by the words Jesus uses to amplify the instruction - "teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."
6. We must have a vision for the young
2.  Building on the past
This brief section simply reminded us of the concern for the young among all the best teachers.
3. Challenges
1. Attack on families

  • Cultural focus on the young
  • Educational pressure
  • Secular schools
  • Secular educational theory
  • Deskilled parents
  • Pressured parents
  • Demanding parents
  • Indulged youngsters
  • Neglected youngsters
  • Pressured youngsters
  • Misdirected youngsters
  • Damaged youngsters
  • Pressure on those working with the young
There was also a brief section on The Benefits of Vision-Driven Ministry to the Young 
4. Implications
1. The young are born into families, where men are expected to lead
2. The young are born into community
3. The young need to be born again
4. The young need to be discipled
He concluded like this
When he was 22 years old Jim Elliot wrote a letter to his parents who were struggling with him becoming a missionary in the unexplored forests of South America. Here is part of what he wrote:“The Lord Jesus ….told the disciples that they must become so infatuated with the kingdom and following Him that all other allegiances must become as though they were not. And He never excluded the family tie. In fact, those loves that we regard asclosest, He told us must become as hate in comparison with our desires to uphold His cause. Grieve not, then, if your sons seem to desert you, but rejoice, rather, seeing the will of God done gladly. Remember how the Psalmist described children (in psalm 145)? He said that they were as an heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So, with the strong arms of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly - all of them, straight at the Enemy's hosts.”
Our children are like arrows. Our privilege and calling is to prepare them to be fired into this world to make a mark for the Lord Jesus Christ.

No comments: