Disturbing Things My 17-Year-Old Daughter Shared About Her Own Experiences in Children’s Church and Youth Groups…
My 17 year old daughter (who recently turned 18) made some comments to me, a couple of months before my most recent spinal surgery (which happened on September 2, 2014), about what she learned, and experienced, in her own lifetime of attending Children’s Churches and Youth Groups in the Word-of-Faith, Non-denominational, and other Seeker-Friendly “churches” we attended over the years (we no longer even darken the doorway of those types of places). What she said was STUNNING, to me!
Before I tell you what she actually said (she did give me permission to share her thoughts on my blog), I have to say that this REALLY hit me HARD, as a parent, and starkly pointed out MY OWN SHORTCOMINGS and SINFULNESS of not teaching my children about WHAT I believed, and WHY I believed what I believed (which, really, could be a blessing, as it would have just probably confused them)! It also made me realize my own lack of ever being properly discipled, or catechized (which has only happened much more recently), in the infancy of my own faith in Christ .
How could I have even taught them, that which I could not explain, myself?! I really did not know WHY I believed any of what I believed over the years…! I really was living on the “blind faith” that what I was taught must be true, because the people I was trusting, made it seem like it was right, and they called themselves Christians and Pastors (which, by the way, is NOT the Faith spoken of, in God’s Word).
First, my daughter told me that, up until a couple of years ago, the only things she could remember, that she knew came from the Bible was, “a story about some lady, who put a red ‘something’ on one of her doors, or a window, or something, for some reason” (this would most likely be a reference to Rahab, the prostitute, who was part of the lineage that pointed to Jesus). She also said she remembered “a story about some guy, at some time, that tricked his dad into thinking that he was his brother, by putting fur on his arm. The end.” Wow, that was really something helpful to know…
Also, up until about 3 years ago, she did not even know that there was more than one book in the Bible (she just thought it was all one big, confusing book, that others could understand, but she could not)!
Next, she told me that pretty much everything else she remembered was playing games, making crafts, watching various videos, singing fun feel-good songs (and plugging her ears because it was always too loud), temporarily learning some Bible verses – with no context or reason for why she was learning them, of course (none of which she even knows what they were), having snacks, and being picked on, teased, or just plain ignored (because yes, she is a bit “different”, and it does show, especially in larger group settings that have way too much sensory stimulation).
That’s it! That is all she got out of being in Children’s Church, and Youth Groups, all these years! What a waste of precious time, and energy (it is NOT easy getting 3 kiddos, that have special needs, out the door to get to church on time)!!! Not to mention all of the MONEY wasted and volunteer time wasted, at these churches! And we wonder WHY we are LOSING our children to the secular world and/or false teachers (whether these teachers call themselves Christians, or not)?!
These are the “impressions” that these “seeker-sensitive” models, of the visible “church” are giving so many children. NOT anything that the Holy Spirit can even work through, because they are not even hearing actual Bible passages that are related to each other (and their significance to Christ explained), or being called to repentance of their sin (by hearing God’s Law), and then comforted by the Gospel! My kiddos, AND myself and husband, should have probably just stayed at home, slept in, and enjoyed some family time together…! We would have ALL received more from that, than we did in ANY of these churches. Sad, but oh so very true.
Just in case you are wondering, this is no longer the case with her, OR any of the rest of us in the family! We are now in a SOLID church. The Pastors have actually spent one-on-one time with us at the church, at hospitals, and even in our own home (all within the last year, and we have only been members since March of this year)! Also, we learn a LOT in the Sunday Bible Class (in which the two teens attend the Adult Bible Class, with us), after the Divine Service (which is filled with people in ALL the various stages of life, from infancy to old age, and is also filled with Bible teaching and receiving God’s gifts to us every week).
Our Pastors have helped us to read the Bible for what it actually plainly says, in its own context. If the Bible is silent on something, they are silent on it also. No more “dancing around” our questions, or ripping verses out of context to just “paste them all together” to make them say what is wanted (and not what is actually needed), or just plain ignoring or avoiding our questions altogether (which has happened at pretty much all of the other churches we had attended over the previous 19 years).
Again, I praise God for calling us OUT of these places, and keeping us THROUGH the fires of testing!
2) your Pastor does not comfort you with the gospel of what Jesus Christ did for you, after he has hit you with God’s laws.
3) your Pastor puts his own “vision” for your church above what God’s commands are for a New Testament church.
4) there can be no distractions in church in order to hear the words of the teacher/preacher, rather than whole families in church to hear the reading & teaching of whole passages of Scripture… in their original context!
5) the Pastor teaches you his own “vision” and rules, as if they were God’s law (ask to see it in context, in Scripture).
6) you are pushed into signing “commitment cards” for things not found in Scripture (usually after emotional manipulation in a “sermon”).
7) you are pressured into “serving the church”, even if it means detriment to your vocations in life at this present time (father, mother, husband, wife, daughter, son, citizen, employee/employer, student, etc.)!
8) your “pastor’s” emphasis is pretty much on having your best life now (what will your afterlife be like..? ***shudder***).
9) your “Pastor” takes the Lord’s name in vain (ie. “OMG”) without even skipping a beat…!
10) you rarely seek, in times of distress, comfort from others in your church, out of fear of having a “negative confession” (this is what was previously known as superstition)!
Just some thoughts as I watch what is happening in much of the “visible” church in this world… I feel a possible “series” of posts coming on, after my LONG hiatus!
First, let me say that I am not here to be calling out any names, or to try to “bring down” any ministries, right now! I only hope to provide information to shed some light on teachings that are in error, and to show people the real Jesus Christ, of the Scriptures of the Holy Bible.
I do need to say some things, to my brothers and sisters in Christ, about some misconceptions of so MANY of the people who are caught up in the Word Faith movement and/or Prosperity Gospel, because that is exactly what it is – they have been “snared”!
We really need to have a loving heart for those caught in that deception… It is, many times, like being raised by a highly dysfunctional parent!
Most get caught for one or more of the following reasons:
1) they were raised in a dead church (not teaching GOD’s Law and GOD’s Gospel) that did not emphasize, or teach them how to properly read and study the Word of God, OR
2) they have never been taught what a Christian has historically believed since the time of the resurrection, and ascension of Christ, and WHY they believed it (they need to know what they believe, and why they believe it! DOCTRINE DOES MATTER!), OR
3) they are still an unbeliever who wandered in to a WOF church – got caught up in all the emotion (the whole experience in one of these churches is a highly charged, emotional experience) – and just stayed, waiting for the next emotional “high” (or a promised “prophecy” to come to pass), and never learned anything else, OR
4) they are brand-new Christians floundering, by themselves, and looking for direction (which was my case), OR
5) they were born and raised in it, and know nothing else, but what they have been taught for their whole life.
Many of these church members really do not know anything else! They really do NOT need to be made fun of, or belittled. What they need is sound doctrine, instruction, to be shown the Truth, and MERCY!
You see, I did not have the luxury of even knowing the Scriptures, yet, or that I could really even understand them if I were taught properly (I just couldn’t seem to figure out how the teachers I was listening to, at that time, were able to figure out, and come to the conclusions that they did in their sermons. It was all highly confusing to me, but seemed to “make sense” when they taught it), back when I was snared…
I was a brand-new Christian, floundering on my own, coming out of neo-Paganism and New Age teachings. I was previously a witch, tarot card reader, into yoga, entrenched in ISA (previously known as EST), into clothing-optional gatherings, dabbled in Buddhism, dabbled in Reiki and crystal healing, read and believed much of “A Course in Miracles” (before it was made “popular” by Oprah), I was a jewelry maker of “commitment bands” (which I sold to gay couples) and crystal jewelry (I “charged” those with spells and sold them at new-age and pagan festivals), into all the positive thinking stuff, HATED Christians and what I perceived as their belief system, etc., etc., etc. Then this, sadly, was the first kind of “church” I ended up in… See, if you do not have proper teaching in Christian doctrine (which is the state of MOST of the people in this movement), it is very EASY to get sucked into it…!
I remember the first service I attended, and sitting there thinking, “Cool, I used to do this stuff for Satan’s team (the positive thinking stuff, visualization, tongues, positive confession, “listening” for messages to share, etc.), but NOW I am on the RIGHT team, and I can do it for Jesus!” ***sigh***
We were never really encouraged to read, and properly taught HOW to read the Word, and how to pick a GOOD, actual, translation (it was given lip-service, but there was never any instruction on how to even begin). We just flipped from scripture to scripture, along with the pastor during emotionally-charged meetings and teachings, and the way he did it really made it seem “right”! I read all the books the pastor said to read (which, of course, were sold in the book store that the church had), got all the tapes he said to listen to, and listened to all the teachers on TBN that he said were good to watch.
It was not until I had some run-ins with some of the “leadership” (in the children’s church), the pastor, the pastor’s wife, and some of the “ushers” (more like “bouncers”, in a bar), and some emotional abuse done to my two eldest children, that we finally quit going to that church. You see, I realize looking back, I was not a really “good” cult-member (I began questioning things, and saying “no” to them). One of the “ushers” even kept calling my house, and coming to my door (always during times when my husband was not there – I did not answer either one), after we quit going. You see, that is one of the ways that they “get” people, and “counsel” other family members to get a “backsliding” family member to “get out of sin” (sin usually being – questioning anything the leadership in the congregation says or does), and “keep” them in the church (and keep getting their tithes and offerings, of course)…
I first proceeded to wean myself OFF of the books, tapes, and TV messages… Also, I began to read and listen to the Bible, IN CONTEXT! Wow, were MY eyes opened up to the depth of the deception I had been in, and how the scriptures had all been taken out of context, and twisted around to sound “right”! Then, I began to be able to (by the Grace of our LORD, and the help of the Holy Spirit) get out from under ALL of it (the Paganism, the New Age thinking, AND the Word of Faith teachings – which are ALSO “New Age” teachings)!
This change has NOT happened overnight, but The Lord has been FAITHFUL in the “renewing of my mind”! It has been a LONG journey, and I cannot even pinpoint the moment I really realized that I was getting OUT of all of it… There was, and still is, a LOT of JUNK, in my mind, to get rid of!
Also, please note, one of the BIG teachings (mentioned in almost every sermon) in WOF is to “touch not, the Lord’s anointed” (taken out of context, of course, and construed to mean the leadership of their church, or one of the big-name celebrity leaders/teachers), thus, conveniently making it close to impossible to question ANYTHING that the pastors, or visiting pastors, might say or do, because if you do, you stand the chance of being CURSED BY GOD, and who in their right mind wants THAT to happen…?! These are just SOME of the ways in which these churches are very cult-like, and spiritually abusive… They are even very careful (which would not be a “bad” thing, IF they were Orthodox) about the wording of the songs they sing in church (even sometimes changing the words in good, solid, traditional hymns – like getting rid of the word “wretch” in “Amazing Grace”!), so as to not accidentally have a “negative confession” of some kind, about themselves, in the song…! Continual bondage, not Grace! 😦
If you run into WOF people (most will go on the defensive, and actually be AFRAID to even question what they have been taught), and IF they begin (Lord willing) to REALIZE that they have been deceived, PLEASE know that they will need to go through a mourning process! This can take a very short, or very LONG amount of time. They are really hurting!
It HURTS to find out you’ve been believing in a “false Jesus” (more like a genie, magic 8-ball, or a Santa figure…), and that you may not even be a Christian! There can be sadness, anger, anxiety, euphoria (I had that, after I realized I did NOT have to worry about every single little word coming out of my mouth having the possibility of CURSING my whole life, or to make SURE I tithed on every PENNY that came into our household, even to the detriment of being able to pay our bills! There is SO MUCH BONDAGE in the WOF!), withdrawal, fear of being deceived again, etc.
Please remember the following verse, and realize that most people coming out of this type of teaching usally need the MERCY part, but sometimes they need to be snatched out of the fire, so as to not possibly lose them PERMANENTLY!
But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25 ESV)
Okay, I guess I am done, for now…
Below, you will find three talks that are really very good at explaining what WOF preachers teach, how they teach it, and explanations of how they use the scriptures, and twist them around. He is NOT a crazily raving, rabid, speaker. He teaches it in a very matter-of-fact way, so that you can know what people in this movement are talking about, and possibly find ways to talk to them about what they are being taught.
Over 22 years ago I came to know Jesus Christ of Nazareth as my Lord, and my Savior! From that time forward, I believe and profess the Trinity of the Father, the Son (Jesus of Nazareth), and the Holy Spirit: 3 persons-in-1 God! I believe that Jesus is fully God and fully human, sent by the Father to become the perfect sacrifice (propitiation) for my sins, and then was raised from the dead, to sit at the right hand of the Father, until He returns!
Before that time, I was a prideful, full-out witch/pagan/new-ager (literally), a blasphemer, rebellious, a fornicator, a persecutor of Christians, a liar, an adulteress, and a thief (need I go on?)! I repent of, renounce, and turn my back on those DETESTABLE things!
Sadly, in my Christian infancy (and naivety), the first church I became involved with, was a Word-Faith church… So, for more than the last nine years (at the time of this writing), I have been gradually working through those false teachings that were ingrained into my conscience, during that 7-year period.
I have now realized the full freedom that Christ bought for me, at the cross, and the very sober, but also joyful, responsibility in how I live in that freedom in my vocations to serve my neighbor. I will no longer take any chances of following any other gospel, but the true Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Since that time (over 22 years ago) when Jesus of Nazareth originally hit me alongside the head, and brought me to Himself, I later married my best friend, on this earth, and we have now been together for over 21 years! 🙂 We have three wonderful children (2 young adults and a 14yo teen)! We school them at home, and deal with a myriad of special-needs in our home (including my aging mother, who also lives with us). I would not trade ANY of these precious people for ANYTHING in this world!
Our main issues are Asperger’s, ADHD, Celiac Disease (or Sprue), allergies, asthma, diabetes, Tourette’s, spinal issues, and being a multi-generational household. I Praise God for my Savior, for my life, and all of these special blessings, each and every day!
Amen and Amen!