“Forbid them not to come unto Me”
For the first 30 years of my life I never read the Bible. I grew up Roman Catholic and was never encouraged to read it. But after I understood and accepted by faith alone the gospel of salvation--that Christ paid the full penalty for my sins on the cross-by my act of faith through grace I received the gift of eternal life. Now, day after day, I continually hunger for God's Word, His specific communication to me and to all of humanity.
The only time I get more excited about the Bible is when I hear Dave talk about it. He's been studying it on his knees for more than seven decades, and I can sense his joy every time he tells of what he has just learned from God's Word. That's just one of the tremendous qualities of the Bible: the better you know it, the more exciting it becomes.
Perhaps the most exciting subject of the Bible is prophecy. We know it is important because nearly a third of the Bible relates to prophecy. In it we can see God directly involved in human history, fulfilling what He said He would do, hundreds and even thousands of years after He had declared it through His prophets.
Where are you and your children in all of this? Especially your children! I recently attended three prophecy conferences, two here in the U.S. and one in Hong Kong. The two here had very few people under age 30; in Hong Kong, the more than 600 young people were by far the majority. The latter were a note-taking, totally rapt audience as they listened to Dave Hunt through an interpreter (one session went for 2 hours and 48 minutes!).
I wondered why there was such a difference between these young people and the ones in the U.S. The answer should have been obvious. Those Chinese youth had been taught the Bible from a very young age. They had been nourished on the pure milk of the Word and were ready for, even excited about, the meat.
Most of our American evangelical youth get their so-called biblical content through entertainment, whether from talking vegetables and Christianized characters imitating Batman and Robin, or Luke Skywalker, or the latest Saturday TV power figure. That seems to be the spiritual "Ritalin" for biblical Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Calm them down and keep their attention with Veggie Tales et al.
The result will be the need to keep on amusing them throughout their years because the junior high group has to be more thrilling than the elementary group, and the high school group has to be even more fun than the junior high, and don't worry about biblical accuracy and literacy as long as the attendance numbers are satisfactory. This, of course, leads to a generation of biblically illiterate, shallow "christians," ripe for every kind of false teacher and religious deceiver.
The antidote is simple (although not without discipline on everyone's part): parents need to really teach their children the Word of God, the Scriptures, with emphasis on the words when their children near reading age. This is the primary responsibility of the home, with the support of the church.
It is vitally important for our next generation that we "suffer little children to come unto [Jesus]" by giving them the Word. No matter how sincere, we must not "forbid them" (Luke:18:16) by turning them to amusement.