I have always had an interest with the coming of age ceremony for young jews. They call it a bar-mitzvah for young men, and bat-mitzvah for young women. This coming of age ceremony, or passing into adulthood, may be nothing more than a birthday party, or it may be regarded as a major part of a young person's life,where they are fully aware of their heritage and know Judaism completely. Their training is so intense that they know by memory, the Torah, (the first 5 books of the Bible), in their language, and in Hebrew. Although Judaism, like Christianity, is divided into sects that range from conservative to liberal, most all jews know about their heritage.
In protestantism, this endoctrination of young men and women from their youth has faded to becoming nearly non-existent. Many churches have omitted Sunday School for various reasons. This, I feel, is a major mistake for that is where those basic principles of the faith are learned. In fact, the lessons learned in the impressionable pre-teen years, are the lessons never forgotten. Many churches are satisfied to throw anyone in a class to just babysit while the adult service is being held. We then have a entire community of believers who are unsure of what their belief is about. Knowing that today's youths are tomorrow's church leaders, we had better prepare them to know what we believe, why we believe, and why knowing matters.
My early years in Sunday school was informative, and unforgettable, but there was much I did not know about the Bible and the faith. I learned the Beatitudes, the books of the Bible, and stories of Jesus, the disciples and apostles, and patriarchs of the Old Testament. Yet, I was ignorant in foundational truths that may have very well made a difference in the outcome of my life, including education, fatherhood, and knowing how to conduct myself throughout my life. If Christian education, at home, and on Sunday in church, was taken as seriously as Judaism teaches their youth, you would not have to worry about some godless professor in a secular college deprogramming young adult believers. They could change the professor's way of teaching.
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, and when YOU lie down, and when YOU rise up. Deut.6:6-7 (NKJV)
If we take the faith we believe, and teach it to our children, ahead of sports, ahead of music lessons, and ahead of Kings Islands season passes, their lives will not be average, and they will not accept mediocrity in any area of life. If we neglect to fully endoctrinate our children in belief in God, and in knowing just how reliable the ancient documents of scripture are, believe this, the secular world will certainly endoctrinate them into their disbelief. Your children will question every written word of scripture, and even if their faith doesn't completely turn away from God, they will not be able to answer the critics and disbelievers. That leads to compromise of the truth, Christ is truth.
We should re-think this elimination of Sunday school "basic training," and see it's value to the young. If you have young children to early teens, while they still look to you for answers, provide them, teach them so their young minds will be full of the knowledge of God and His ways. Parents must not fully rely on what Sunday school teachers teach, and should always ask, "what did you learn about this morning?" after every class. If you are a parent but lack understanding in your faith, take a little time each day and read, study, and pray for God to grant you knowledge. We only have the window of opportunity for a few short years. We also must understand the importance of eternity, and what forever implies to every living soul.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith