"Another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what He had done . . . they followed and worshipped various gods . . . They provoked the Lord to anger." Judges 2:10-12
Who is raising your child? Has the TV become your family altar and the electronic baby sitter? Do you recognise the threat that the exploitative pornography industry poses to your child? Have you allowed Outcomes Based Education to use your child as playdough in their experiments of social engineering?
"My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. ‘Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you as My priests; because you have ignored the Law of your God, I will also ignore your children.’" Hosea 4:6
In rural Africa, threats to children often slither, sting or bite. Frontline Fellowship missionaries in Zambia, Virgil and Louise, have found scorpions in their bed and snakes in their house! One of their fears is that their inquisitive 2 year old will pick up a deadly green mamba snake.
In Sudan, parents have to warn their children not to touch unexploded bombs. Children walking to the well to fetch water have been crippled by landmines or even captured by Arab slave raiders. Most of the Christian schools in Sudan have been bombed by the National Islamic Front government air force. At one school in the Nuba Mountains, 19 children were killed and 3 were crippled in just one aerial bombing raid.
Those kind of threats to the lives, liberty and limbs of children are very visible and tangible. However, the more subtle threats to our children in the cities and towns are no less dangerous than those faced by Christians in Sudan. Do you recognise the threats posed to your child?
A booklet ("Talk About Children at Risk") written by the South African Police Services Child Protection Unit, revealed that South Africa was "fast becoming known as the premier sex tourism destination of the world, particularly because children’s bodies are plentiful and cheap. It is also common knowledge that this country is a world leader in the spread of HIV-AIDS."
The police report noted that: "In 1996 the Films and Publication Act was passed, legalising pornography for the first time in the history of the country. This made it possible for child abusers, rapists and paedophiles to obtain all the material they needed. Statistics tell the story as South African Police Service records show that child rape increased . . . over 400%"!
The police report further stated that: "Research with child sexual offenders reveals that all have used child pornography."
This is of course exactly what Africa Christian Action warned about in its submissions and testimonies before the Parliamentary subcommittee that was drafting the new Films and Publication Act in 1995 and 1996. Pornography plays a significant role in the occurrence of rape and child abuse. Pornography is the theory – rape is the practice. Pornography is a manual for rape and child abuse.
The tragic result of the SA government’s legalisation of the exploitative pornography industry is catalogued by the SAPS Child Protection Unit: "The commercial exploitation of children includes . . . rape, murder, abduction, bribery, false marriages . . . bonded labour extortion, mail order brides . . ." "One out of every twelve prostitutes is younger than 17 . . ." This wholesale sexual exploitation of children has flourished because of "corruption and collusion, the absence of or inadequacy of laws, lax law enforcement and limited sensitisation of law enforcement personnel to the harmful impact on children . . . and government officials who may, often unwittingly, be guilty through indifference, ignorance . . ."
An article in the Cape Argus (24/7/00). "Trail of Abused Kids as Sex Suspect Stalks Cape," reported in a matter -of-fact manner that the 50-year-old paedophile who had left a "sordid trail of child abuse" used pornography to lure his victims into his bedroom and to desensitise them to his perversions.
The National Institute for Crime Prevention (NICRO) has estimated that there are 380 000 rape cases in South Africa each year. Yet as the rape rate has soared, the conviction rate of rapists, has plummeted. Less than 7% of reported rapists are ever convicted! The crime situation has deteriorated so drastically that the government has now forbidden the police to release any current statistics on the incidence of crime!
"Why do people commit crimes so readily? Because crime is not punished quickly enough." Ecclesiastes 8:11
Our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters are precious and they deserve to be respected and protected. Any true man should be willing to do anything – even give his life – to protect his mother, sister, wife or daughter.
So why is our society guilty of such disgraceful abuse, exploitation and violence against women? It is hard not to be cynical about our government speaking about "womens’ rights" and declaring 9 August as "National Womens’ Day." It is their legalisation of the exploitative pornography industry that has led to the explosion of abuse, rapes and violence against women and children.
And even as the pornographers pour fuel on the fires of violence against women and children, a Bill is being brought before Parliament that would make women even more vulnerable to rape and murder. If enacted into law, the proposed new Firearms Control Bill would effectively deny the vast majority of citizens the right to obtain, own or carry a firearm for self-defence. The Bill would effectively ignore the basic human right of self defence and make it a privilege for a select minority (like government officials)! One doesn’t have to be a genius to see that criminals prefer unarmed victims. With between 4 to 9 million illegal firearms in South Africa, it seems unethical to disarm the law-abiding citizens who are potential victims of crime.
Nevertheless, a Dr. Van As of the Red Cross Children’s Hospital was quoted in the Cape Argus (17/8/00) as calling for "tougher gun laws." He related various heart rending stories of children wounded and even crippled in gang crossfire. However, upon investigation, I found that only 4 patients a month at Red Cross Hospital were gun shot victims, and almost all of those were from illegal guns in the hands of gangsters. Some of these patients are actually gang members themselves.
It does not seem logical to disarm the licensed firearm owners when they are not even the problem. Further research revealed that the vast majority of casualties admitted to the children’s hospital were for falls (2 338 cases in the last year), motor vehicle accidents (1 030), burns (532), assault with blunt or sharp instruments (208), and poisoning (452 in patients and 292 out patients). Even dog bites (91) were more numerous than firearm wounds (50).
Some people do use firearms for evil purposes, but far more people use firearms for defensive purposes to prevent crimes from being committed.
Vastly more children die each year in bicycle accidents, car accidents or drownings than from firearms. Children are 1450% more likely to die from a car accident than from a firearm. Should we outlaw all motor vehicles? No, the solution to the horrific carnage on the roads is not to ban motor vehicles, but to improve safety features in vehicles, educate drivers, promote the use of seat belts and severely punish drunken or reckless driving. As with motor vehicles, it would not be right to take away everyone’s freedom because of the criminal activities or carelessness of some.
Actually, vastly more people die of medical malpractice each year than from firearms. The American Medical Association recognises that 93 000 patients die each year due to medical malpractice by doctors. Another 110 000 patients die from unforeseen reactions to prescribed medicines. We could also add the number of babies killed by doctors through abortion. In the light of the fact that doctors kill more people each year than firearms do, it seems very hypocritical for a medical doctor to blame a cold metal inanimate object – a tool – for the evil that some people do.
However we recognise that doctors save far more lives than they take – and that is exactly the same for motor vehicles and firearms. Transport carries life-giving food and medicines to those who most need it and patients to hospitals where they will be treated. And every day countless crimes are prevented, hundreds of victims are protected and many tragedies are averted by armed citizens. Armed citizens save lives andparents need to be prepared to protect their children from all threats. It is criminal to interfere with a father’s duty to protect his children.
There are other far more subtle threats to our children. The theory of Evolution is often propagated by films, in some children’s books and in the state school textbooks. Evolution is an attempt to retroactively abort God. Evolution destroys all meaning, purpose, direction, justice and hope in life: "You came from nothing, you are going nowhere, life is meaningless!"
The Bible says: "The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no-one who does good." Psalm 14:1
Secular Humanist education attempts to kill God by eradicating Him from the classroom and from the minds of the next generation. By eliminating the Bible as the basis for all knowledge, humanists remove the very foundation of truth. They prohibit the only objective standard by which reality can be evaluated.
"See to it that no-one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." Colossians 2:8
Recently the Ministry of Education was reported to have admitted that their expensive Outcomes Based Education Curriculum 2005 was a "failure" and was to be "scrapped." In an official letter sent to every school in the country the Minister of Education complained about the habit of too many teachers coming to school late and leaving early to go to shebeens and brothels, often returning drunk or failing to return at all! The Minister of Education also warned against "the prevalent practice" of teachers forcing students to have sex with them! This was "demeaning" and "an abuse of authority" he claimed! That this child abuse was commonplace in government schools was a terrible indictment, but that the Department of Education was not firing and prosecuting these rapists and child abusers was, if anything, even more shocking.
By the time the average child graduates he or she will have spent 15 000 hours in school. What values and worldview will he or she have learnt during that time?
Are you allowing your child to be political playdough in the hands of social engineers in their OBE experiments? You can delegate some of the task of educating your children but you cannot delegate the responsibility.
Nearly 500 years ago the great German reformer Martin Luther warned : "I am much afraid that schools will prove to be wide gates to hell unless they diligently labour in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them on the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not constantly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt."
Another threat to our children comes through the entertainment industry. Superficial, sensational and immoral material predominates the modern entertainment industry and it is producing an increasingly superficial, selfish, mindless and immoral society.
In households with television, the average child sees between 15 000 to 30 000 hours of television before leaving school (Nielsen Media Research). By the time he or she leaves school, the average child will have seen up to 360 000 murders and up to 480 000 sexual acts or references to sex depicted on TV (US News and World Report and Media Research Centre). During his high school years the average student listens to over 10 000 hours of music – much of it filled with sensual, immoral and occultic lyrics.
The influence of parents and churches in the upbringing of most children today is declining at an alarming rate. The disintegration of many families, absentee parents and a general absence of discipline have created a vacuum. Violent and immoral films and videos, throbbing pulsating noise masquerading as music and pornographic magazines are filling the void in the aimless and meaningless lives of all too many young people.
The selfishness and short-sightedness of modern society is also seen in litter strewn, graffiti vandalised communities. The filth, pollution and destruction of the environment in which our children play and grow up in is also reflected in the self mutilation and body piercing of a growing number of confused young people. Pierced noses and eyebrows, tongue studs and belly rings along with acid rock and rap should be a wake-up call to any parent. But, incredibly, all too many parents seem oblivious to the sullen, self destructive, rebellious attitudes that go along with this kind of body mutilating, mind rotting and soul destroying sub-culture.
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?The solutions to all these threats to our children is found in the Bible. Deuteronomy 6:2-9 is one of the most important passages in the Bible. It contains one of the most important statements in the Old Testament: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." It presents the most important command: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." And it emphasises our first priority in obeying that command:
"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:7-9
We as parents are responsible before God to disciple our children. From the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep the Word of God is to govern our conversation and our actions. At home or on the road we are to talk about God’s Word. We are to teach our children to memorise Scripture – especially the Ten Commandments. Everything we do with our hands or think with our minds is to be ruled by the Word of God. And our goal is to ensure that "Your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all His decrees and commands." Deuteronomy 6:2
This passage of Scripture is monumentally important. It comes straight after the restating of the Ten Commandments. In the second commandment we are solemnly warned:
"You shall not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything . . . You shall not bow down to them or worship them: for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the sin of the fathers to the third or fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to thousands who love Me and keep My commandments."Deuteronomy 5:8-10
We must recognise the threat of idolatry to our children. Rock idols, pop stars, Hollywood idols, sports idols, even political idols are objects of reverence and obsessive adoration by all too many. The consequences of tolerating idolatry are devastating to the next generations.
Yet, if we will be faithful in loving God and obeying His commandments the result will be an unimaginable outpouring of God’s blessings upon our children, grand children, great-grand children – "to a thousand generations." What you do now will affect eternity.
"Know therefore that the Lord your God is God: He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands." Deuteronomy 7:9
1. Are you doing everything possible to ensure that your child or children are learning to love and obey God?
2. Are you discipling your children or grandchildren – by instruction and by example?
3. Do you regularly pray for your children?
4. Do you regularly pray with your children?
5. Are you regularly reading the Scriptures to your children?
6. Are you training your children in Bible memorisation?
7. Are Sundays special in your home?
The humanist philosopher, Voltaire wrote: "If you want to kill Christianity you must abolish Sundays." If you have allowed shopping, sports and TV to encroach on the Lord’s Day in your home then you are missing out on a powerful foundation for the discipleship of your children.
To install an early respect for God and His Word, and a joyful expectancy for the blessings of worship, Bible teaching and fellowship, it is important to begin preparing for Sunday worship on Saturday evening. Get to bed early enough to be fresh for the Lord’s Day. Wear special clothes for the special day of the week. Arrive early with an expectant and teachable attitude. Each member of your family should also take their Bibles to church. Encourage following the reading in the Bible and the taking of notes. Reinforce the message afterwards by talking with your children about its implications for our daily lives.
Habits and routine are a vital part of discipleship. We make time for those things that we deem important. That is why it is vital that we make Bible reading and teaching a regular habit built into the structure of our daily routine. For example you can make the Bible before breakfast a family principle – or before lunch or supper – whichever is the meal the whole family is gathered around the table for. Story time, catechism and prayer before putting the children to bed each night is an ideal time for discipleship training.
You might need to re-structure your priorities in order to make regular quality time for discipling your children. Invest in good Christian books for your family. Make reading time fun, memorable and regular.
"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15
Dr. Peter Hammond