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New Bible Translation Isn't the Answer

To the Editor:

             I would like to take this opportunity to comment on a statement from an article concerning a new translation of the bible by Zondervan Publishing which appeared in the Bridgeton News (2/5/05).  Zondervan claims that young people are “spiritually intrigued”, but are leaving the churches in large numbers.  The gist of the article is that by printing yet another translation of the bible, one that appeals to the age 18-34 demographic, this will somehow draw them to God.  Hogwash, I say.

            First of all, I believe that young people are leaving the church for reasons that have little or nothing to do with the translation of the bible that is being used. Perhaps most compelling is that parents have been grossly negligent in the spiritual education of their children for years. Unfortunately, it is the people who claim to be Christians who are often the worst offenders.  They are often seen dropping their children off at Sunday school so the children can get some “religion.”  They are the ones with their Bible open on Sunday morning, but not on Monday.  The Sabbath has no longer any connotation with the Lord’s Day, but has become the day where they “clock in” for a 60 minute worship service, then proceed to the grocery store, shopping mall or sports arena because it is their day “off.”  Parents have taken the Lord’s command to train their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and in a cowardly act of disobedience, have passed it off to the Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, and pastors.

            Parents need to be living a godly lifestyle before their children’s eyes.  This includes spending time daily in God’s word, prayer and applying it to their lives and the lives of their children.  They need to be in Sunday school, not only to provide an example to their children, but to be grounded and educated themselves in spiritual matters.  Christian parents need to bring their finances under God’s direction, and this includes tithing at least 10% of salaries to His work in the local church.  God will provide for our needs, and to neglect the command to tithe is not only disobedience, but a missed opportunity to show our children the awesomeness of a God who does indeed provide for us.

            As far as our churches go, there too, lies blame.  The pastors and Sunday school teachers do not stress enough the importance of living of a godly life.  Are the Ten Commandments taught thoroughly in either adult or youth Sunday school classes?  Judging by the number of people rushing to shopping areas and sports arenas after church, I would say no. When was the last time a pastor preached a series on holy, godly living?  There is plenty of material in the Bible on such a topic, so why is it neglected?  Is it because the parishioners or perhaps even the pastor is uncomfortable, and would be convicted by such a message?  How many churches found their evening services cancelled, or having below normal attendance due to the superbowl? Does the hype of a risen Savior have any comparison to an Eagles victory?

            Finally, it is appalling to see how children and parents interact in supposedly Christian families.  Disobedience, harsh and hurtful words and a lack of respect are just a few of the problems plaguing the families who occupy church pews. This goes for the parents, as well as the children.  If children are not loved, treasured, disciplined in a godly manner, and taught by their parents to love and respect God’s word, it is highly unlikely they are going to want to have anything to do with the God their parents claim to love and obey.  

            It greatly saddens me to see the damage that Christians do to families when scripture is not taught in its entirety and parents are neglecting their children.  If you want children turning towards God, then encourage the fathers to turn their hearts to their children.  When the children are genuinely loved and taught by their earthly fathers, then they will be far more willing to hear the words of their heavenly Father. Of course, that too is in the Bible. Read it for yourself.   

 Joyce A. Meyers

February 6, 2005