Saturday, 3 May 2008

A Great Deal Of Things

It's been an interesting couple of days, and I'd like to write a bit about some things I learned/had time to mull over in my mind, so please bear with me as I skip from topic to topic.

On Friday night I went to a seminar at Victory International Church. Needless to say, it is not my home church, but I was interested to see how things are run there. Every consistent church-goer knows that each and every church is run in different manners from each other, so I was intrigued to see what the talk on this church was about.

First, the church itself, which is held inside a building that almost looks like a factory/shipping & receiving area, is very aesthetically pleasing. The bathroom are swanky, with each stall having complete privacy (doors with handles!), and a full-length mirror hanging on the wall. There is a dessert cafe the is run prior and following each service, the sanctuary itself is of modern decor, with a waterfall behind the pulpit. The church which is featured Sunday mornings on CTS has excellent A/V (as would be expected). The people there are extremely friendly, and many came up to me, greeted me, asked me my name and what church I normally attend. The worship was "oldies", music from before my time, that is nonetheless still praise.

So the reason I was at Victory on Friday night was because there was a children's seminar being hosted by Becky Fischer who established and runs a children's ministry in the States. This is her ministry she currently operates.

The name of her seminar on Friday night was "Kids Are Hungry For The Supernatural". It focused mainly on the phenomenon of "indigo children". Indigo children are defined as the generation born after 1970 that "represent a higher state of evolution". (For more information, go here.) At any, Fischer proceeded to elaborate on the function and state of these indigo children, who are reportedly marked by a "blue aura". She then proceeded to state the colour blue in Bible terms represents "revelation", thus believing that these children with the blue aura will reveal many things to the existing church. Prophecies made by several Assemblies of God/Word of Faith pastors/ministers have stated that these children, this generation will profoundly impact the coming years, the end age. The children will be gifted with healing, prophecy, tongues, interpretations, dreams, dream interpretation, casting out demons, and many other gifts of the Spirit. (You can read her entire article on indigo children here.)

Frankly, I found many aspects of the lecture alarming. Where do I start?

Yes, I do believe that the children of this generation, specifically the ones attending churches, should be held to higher standards, and should be fed theologically, emotionally, and mentally. Every aspect of a church service needs to be taught to children, but at a different ratio.
Let me elaborate:
Obviously adults will be able to spend more time listening to an in-depth theological discussion or sermon than children, mainly because of a far more extensive attention capacity. For that matter, adults are able to sit still longer, and participate in worship at greater periods of time, without getting bored.
So our children need to be taught with curriculum that is age-appropriate, and that can reach them where they are. True, many Bible stories can become watered down and boring with constant re-telling, but that is the joy of being a CE worker...finding a new way to teach the children old truths.

The fact is: children do not have the same mentality that adults do. This is not discrediting them. They are far more open spiritually and sensitive to things around them because they have not become hardened with age, nor exposed to things of the world. However, they cannot make informed decisions like adults, and do not possess the same leadership qualities. There is an extremely fine line to walk when it comes to the discussion of the Holy Spirit filling children, and how it is acted out in their lives.
Let's put it this way - nowhere in the Bible does it say that children were filled with the Holy Spirit and laying hands on people, healed them.

Yes, the Bible calls us to be trained as warriors, to be prepared for the coming days, to suit up in faith, hope, and righteousness. However, children won't face the same battles as adults, and thus, why should we push them to prepare in the exact same manner? We need to remember there is a great distinction between adults and children.

I like the idea of leading children to become warriors of the faith, teaching them by example, and pointing them in the direction of godliness. Yes, children need to be taught to recognize God's voice, but the question remains...what are we teaching children in Sunday School? Are we teaching them that they have power beyond imagination through the Holy Spirit, and that they may use it as they choose to? Are we teaching them trite Bible stories that have been heard before? Or are we teaching theologically sound Biblical truths, and prophecies that have been tested and tried by Scripture itself?

The fact many adults seem to lack discernment in the church today, they will pass on that attitude to their children, and it will go from generation to generation. Slapping God's name onto "spirituality" does not consist of Christianity. Speaking in tongues is not the sole purpose of Christianity, and saying that someone is "spiritual, discerning, sensitive" does not equate godliness.

This is a time, an era, where people are more open to spiritual things than ever before. Our society encourages humanism, a spiritualistic approach to things, new age, and general feel-good movement. The "do whatever makes you happy" mindset has damaged the church because of the new seeker sensitive movement. You fellow Christian, need to stand fast in your theology that is founded on God's word alone.

Interested in this topic? Take time to read this article by t.v. evangelist Creflo Dollar. Ask yourself - are the Scriptures quoted here used in context? Do they properly support the teaching put forward?

In conclusion.
Victory International Church holds great potential to strongly impact the surrounding community. I only worry that they take what is taught them without examining it, for erroneous teachings can appear oh-so-right many a time. It's a dangerous ground to enter...My words of advice? Measure EVERYTHING against the Scripture.
The only other complaint I would make about VIC is the somewhat rowdy worship that took place toward the end. But that could just be my Baptist background and sensibilities screaming in protest.

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