The Church is one generation from extinction.
I have heard this quote many times. So, today, I did a few web searches to try and determine the source of this quote. I found web sites from various denominational sources and various doctrinal positions all attributing this quote to someone from their camp. Regardless of who said it first, there is an obvious truth encompassed here. Yet, in spite of the proliferation of this message, there are precious few who have embraced this message and are actively discipling the next generation to carry the torch. A quick glance at the sites I brought up may give a reason why. It seems that the emphasis associated with this quote is on evangelism. Now, I’m all for evangelism, but I maintain that our primary “targets” for evangelism should be those children in our own homes. Evangelism means more than just simply soliciting an altar call conversion from someone, adding a notch in your Bible, and moving on to the next hunting ground. Rather, true evangelism will lead someone to discipleship. It will involve years of study and a pouring of one’s self into that person whom God converted through your witness. Our children are our main field of evangelism. For it is through them that we can actually spend all this necessary time. It is almost impossible (though with God all things are possible) to spend this same amount of time needed to thoroughly disciple someone not in your family. Men have done it (Paul and Timothy for example). You may be called to do this. Yet, we know from Deuteronomy 6 that God requires this of fathers toward their children. Why is it then that we fail in this endeavor so often? This phenomenon is not new by any means.
And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.
Here we see a description of mighty Joshua, one of only two spies under Moses’ authority who brought back a good report on God’s ability to deliver Canaan into Israel’s hand. Joshua and Caleb were the only two of their generation allowed by God to enter the Promised Land. The “up and coming” generation that did enter the Promised Land received their instruction from Joshua. They learned to trust Jehovah God from him. Joshua taught them the Law of Moses. He instructed them concerning the Providences of God on their behalf. However, what Joshua failed to impart into this people was the absolute necessity of carrying on a multi-generational heritage. The result of this was devastating to Israel. How can we miss this?!
You may have a heart that seeks after God. You may serve him with your whole heart. Yet, if your children do not carry on your vision, your family, your church, and your country will be shattered. This is what happened with Joshua. This is what happened with Eli. This is what happened with Job. This is what happened with David. And this is what happened with our American forefathers. We are kidding ourselves if we think it can’t happen to us. We must be deliberate in passing our values on to our children. We must be explicit in explaining our doctrine and the things of God to them. If we neglect this duty, we allow them to “explore on their own” what they will believe. I believe in the Sovereignty of God. I believe that He will lead them according to His will even if we neglect our duty. However, to the extent that we are obedient in His mandate in instructing our children, I believe that God will honor our commitment and preserve our children in the way of righteousness. If my children rebel and embrace heretical teachings, it will be in spite of my instruction, not due to my neglect of it. I pray this will never happen. Yet, while praying, I will do all I can to teach them rightly. I urge you to do the same. Solid Christian fathers, committed to obeying God in their duties to raise their children according to His precepts are the only hope for our declining nation.