Watch Out For the Bible-Snatcher!

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I remember when I was growing up in the late 60’s and early 70’s; more than one evangelical preacher predicted the apocalyptic day when our Bibles would be taken from us Christians.  Believers were encouraged to memorize scriptures, goaded not by the Spirit of God, but by the intimidating threat that God’s Word would one day be unavailable.  Now, some three decades later, the plethora of Bible translations as well as Bibles on cd’s, dvd’s, downloads and the internet could easily generate a long and hearty laugh at those fearful prophecies of old.  Looking back, I don’t even know who was supposed to be the terrifying Bible-snatcher!

Our laugh, however, should not be premature.  I would contend that this fictional nemesis has, in many ways, accomplished a very real goal:  limiting the perspective of God’s Word in the lives of the present culture of believers.  Consider the following well-known Barna statistics:

  • Only 51% of pastors have a biblical worldview; this number drops to 29% among those pastors leading mainline denominations
  • Only 9% of born again adults have a biblical worldview (some may argue what “born again” is but that is not the discussion at hand)
  • Only 0.5% of those coming out of youth groups have a biblical worldview (Yes, that’s less than 1%.)

Can you imagine what would happen if a Fortune 500 company boasted similar numbers?  Heads would roll.  Experts would be brought in.  All major business channels would converge to cover such a dismal failure (e.g. Enron.)  A day of reckoning would be at hand.  Deep changes would be made in order to correct the downward spiral.

While the generic American church seems anesthetized in her struggle to survive, the homeschooling community is taking action.  We have witnessed first hand the continual attack on the first eleven chapters of Genesis and a literal seven-day creation, which suggests the Bible needs to catch up with science rather than vice versa.  We realize the word “tolerance” has been so redefined that Noah Webster himself wouldn’t even recognize it.  Political correctness through such liberal strategies as the homosexual agenda has muted the mouths of Christian leaders, fearing charges of homophobic or some other neurotic label.
These numbers strike the fear of God in our hearts, causing us to fall on our face before our Maker, begging forgiveness for the things that are happening on our watch and asking for grace to retrace loss ground.  We continue to take authentic inventory, asking tough questions like, “If these numbers represent this present generation, what will become of the next generation, or the next, apart from a supernatural move of God?”

The question I want to address today in lieu of these staggering statistics is, “What steps should a homeschool parent take, given the present day realities?”  This could be a lengthy reply, filled with dozens of suggestions, but let’s focus on only one.  My cleft note is found in Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth.  

“If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?”1 Cor. 14:7,8

Although Paul was contextually speaking about tongues vs. prophecy here, an indirect principle is also being communicated.  Whoever is bugling instructions on the battlefield better make sure he’s playing the right notes at the right time, lest confusion and annihilation take place.  What’s true on the battlefield, of course, is also true in our homes and culture.

I believe now is the time to be all the more distinctive in our faith and in our communication of that faith to our children.  There should be no apologies for the acceptance and propagation of black and white truth.  Similarly, we should bring an end to qualifier after qualifier after qualifier, which is a product of political correct thinking that keeps us from saying anything decisive out of fear of offending the one.  Basically put, these qualifiers diminish the conviction of our message.  Extreme caution should be advised when we become so accommodating to the 1% exception that we allow the 99% to go on toward destruction.  Like Jesus, we need to speak the truth, straightforward, with as much love as we possibly can.  Jesus did not say, “I am one of the ways to the Father,” or “Pray about it and go with what you feel,” but rather said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No man comes to the Father except through me.”  (John 14:6)  How’s that for distinctive?  While many were indeed offended by what He said, those to whom He had given spiritual sight began to understand how they were supposed to live.

Our present day culture is attempting to blend and blur every belief and value, suggesting they are all equal in worth and truth.  One size fits all.  One pastor stated, with pride, that Muslims and Christians worshipped side by side at his church.  What about light and darkness?  Bitter and sweet water? 

This blurring is not just in the religious realm.  Culture is religion externalized.   A football coach recently told his brother—who relayed to me—he sees his players in the locker room wearing pants that are cut just like girls’ jeans. He was highly concerned at the lack of distinction in the sexes.  My wife made a similar comment after an infrequent trip to the mall.  To the observant and spiritually sensitive eye, this comes as no surprise.  It’s not the first time in mankind’s history that this homogenization has occurred and God has given us His prescription for the problem.  When society is telling us to just go with the flow, that is the very moment in time that our message should be all the more distinctive and clear.  Consider God’s direction to Ezekiel:

“But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand.”—Ezekiel 33:6

Parents are the God-given watchmen over the souls of their children, and we will give an account for how/if we blew the trumpet according to the need at hand.  The societal expectation of drinking this mega-slushy, swallowing every last drop must be resisted.  Furthermore, we shouldn’t feel like we have to act like we enjoy it, pacifying the herd mentality.  It is putrid in taste and the results are sickening in the lives of our children.  It reminds me of a show where people drank some awful concoction but said they loved it in hopes of getting on a non-existent television commercial.  The purpose of the show was to demonstrate how people prostitute themselves to impress the powers that be. 

In blowing this directional trumpet, we cannot allow ourselves to be bullied, duped or marginalized in any way when it comes to imparting the truth of God through His Word.  It is inerrant, infallible and sufficient for all matters of faith and practice.  While the Bible-snatcher may come into some professing evangelical homes and steal away the preciousness of God’s Word from them, we in the homeschool community have no intentions of hiding the Word of God under a bushel but rather see it kindled as a fire in the hearts of the next generation.  

Homeschooling parents, people follow passion, genuine passion.  This is true for your children as well.  We must first discern the right notes to play and then blow with all our might.  The Bible-snatcher must not be allowed to minimize the power of God’s Word in the lives of our children.  Our great-great-great grandchildren are counting on us.

Kirk Smith
Executive Director, ICHE


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