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    A Plan for All Seasons as Churches forfeit their role



    Rev. Dan Prout, Sierra Ministries International

    As parents and grandparents, teachers and pastors, business men and business women, we have collectively deprived our society of the most essential source of life-sustaining truth. Somewhere along the way in recent decades, we slowly slipped into thinking the Bible is for church, Sunday School, and youth group. We casually thought a couple of hours here and there each week with dedicated teachers and youth workers would be enough to inoculate our kids to the ten thousand ideas and foreign philosophies swirling about in an increasingly secular culture.

    Putting up a meager defense for ourselves, I can acknowledge we may have relaxed in the confidence the foundational truths of our American society were so strong the nation could withstand the philosophies of the modern movement because such ideas were so clearly false to those of us with the advantage of biblical founding. I, for one, must confess I held to this misunderstanding. I had supposed that each of us talking about Jesus and praying at home were enough. Yet I underestimated the power of the culture and its institutions to affect children, schools, courts, and political officials.

    Martin Luther, the Roman Catholic priest who is known as father of the Protestant movement, penned the following insight: “Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt.” What he saw 500 years ago is just as true today because the truths of God are, well, true. Without the biblical, moral founding of our national ethic, we see before our eyes the pending collapse of a nation which is heralded by millions as the beacon of hope around the globe.

    Luther went on to advise, “I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the scriptures do not reign paramount.” The question, then, for us is, “Does the Bible reign supreme in our households?”

    Since God is apparently removing our ability to count on local church gatherings for our religious instruction and experience, it is the perfect opportunity to recapture the mantel of spiritual authority we are to carry for our homes, our clans, our tribes. In this New Year, the first of this new decade, plan to read the Bible aloud with your household. Start in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke – and keep going. Get cooperation of other adults around you. As you read, explain what may seem simple and obvious to you. Do not expect that others in your home are understanding what you do. And pray with your family, as awkward as a new pattern may be. Pray out loud. Children will learn how to pray by watching and hearing you. Yes, it may be uncomfortable, perhaps inconvenient, yet necessary nonetheless.

    Blessing on your family in this New Year of opportunity. May His kingdom come and His will be done in your household.

    The Rev. Dan H. Prout is president of Sierra Ministries, a Christian teaching and training organization. He is the founder of Pray Nevada County and one of the founding organizers of the state-wide coalition Pray California.  Dan serves with North State Pastors Regional Team, a trans-denominational fellowship promoting prayer and unity in the Body of Christ. Dan is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary.

    The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.

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