Family Integrated Worship – God Ordained and Safe

Today I received the monthly Newsletter from Family Talk, the radio ministry of Dr. James Dobson. I receive this newsletter and have made good use of Dr. Dobson’s books in the past. He has a very Biblical view of parenting, especially concerning discipline, which I appreciate.

This month’s newsletter reflected on the tragic allegations of child abuse against former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky and urged parents to keep a watchful eye on their children. Dobson shared that the danger was not just in sports, but anywhere that adults are alone with children, including church.

The letter shared some alarming statistics concerning school and church. We all are familiar with the sexual abuse scandal that rocked Roman Catholicism over the past decade. Yet, how many of us knew the following statistics (all from the Jan. 2012 newsletter)? Over the past decade, clergy from 130 separate Southern Baptist Churches were arrested, convicted, or sued for the sexual abuse of boys or girls. Since 1992, at least 112 Connecticut school teachers and coaches lost their teaching credentials for misconduct. On a national level, 2,570 teachers had their teaching credentials revoked, denied, surrendered, or sanctioned just from 2001 to 2005. Here’s a shocker – more than 4,500,000 students were subjected to some sort of sexual misconduct during their education. That statistic is from the US Department of Education. The same sort of risk is found in juvenile detention centers and foster care facilities. I confess, the statistics that alarm me most are the ones concerning the abuse of children by religious leaders. I had no idea – let’s be warned.

OK, so now that I have knocked the wind out of you, I want to make a point.

Christ set up His church with family integrated worship. This means that there is no segregation of children away from their parents. Christ also did not place any youth groups within His Church. In Christ’s Church, mothers, fathers, and their children all gathered together to worship and learn of God. Families worship on the level of the “house,” meaning everyone is gathered together. Christ’s body, His Church, is not divided. Therefore, worship should not be divided. Not only is this a superior form of worship on a purely spiritual level, but it is an exponentially safer form of worship. When a family presents themselves to worship (as we are commanded) and attends as a house, a unit, there is little to no opportunity for Satan to send a wicked servant into the mix to harm a child.

This is not to say that parents should be extra suspicious of preachers, coaches, and teachers. Most are good, honest folks who just want to influence children for the better. Yet, it only takes one evil, wicked person to harm a child with a wound so painful that it will torment them the rest of their natural life. The Apostle Paul himself warned that “grievous wolves” will “enter in” among God’s people desiring to kill and destroy. Certainly this falls under that category. As parents, we must do ALL that we can do to provide a safe, nurturing environment for our children.

So, what’s my point? My point is that Christ’s way is superior. It naturally removes the risk of incidents such as this. It builds stronger families and maintains a safer environment. Friends, Christ’s way is better. Let us be satisfied to “contend for the faith once delivered to the saints,” to seek Christ in the Old Paths, the Good Way.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:9

Originally published January 2012

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