The churches of Christ have long realized the importance of "speaking
where the Bible speaks and being silent where the Bible is silent...
calling Bible things by Bible names... doing Bible things in Bible
There is no other way to live and conduct the work of the church
except by doing what is in harmony with Christ's authority (Col.
3:16-17; Matt. 28:18-20).
Be the Lord's Church
Evidently some are not satisfied with the simplicity and glory
of the churches of Christ (Rom. 16:16). How impressive, to the
lover of truth, are the worship, organization, and plan of salvation
the Lord gave. How sad to hear of house churches, cell churches,
underground churches, restructured churches, and children's churches
- all without even a whisper of divine authority.
We ask, "What happened to the Lord's church?" It appears
that some have a serious heart problem (Matt. 15:8-9; 22:37-38)
and are not satisfied with God's Word and the institution Christ
bought with his blood and set in order. These want to be like
the nations (denominations) around them. That which was born
and bred in denominationalism, variously called Children's Church,
Junior Church, Youth Worship, Junior Worship, and Youth Assembly
should not be adopted by God's people.
Some have suggested that these arrangements are only methods.
If so, since we cannot find any authority for them in the Bible,
we must conclude that they are not scriptural "methods"
but are additions. Instrumental music is not a "method"
of singing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16-17) but an addition to what the
Lord commands. The "children's church" is, in the same
way, an addition to the assembly of the saints.
What Does the Bible Say?
Some scriptural objections to "children's church" are
- There is no authority in the Bible for "children's church"
(I Pet. 4:11).
- The Lord ordained that we meet in one assembly for worship
(I Cor. 11:17-18, 20, 33-34).
- Children's church is an unauthorized separate assembly, which
is a forsaking of the assembly the Lord authorized (Heb. 10:25).
- No assembly of God's people for worship in the Old Testament
or the New Testament separated the children from all others.
- Parents should not turn over to others the precious time available
to them to train their children. The child learns by what he
hears, sees, and experiences in the worship assembly (Eph. 6:1-4).
The child absorbs valuable lessons from the discipline of public
"From a Babe"
Some contend that children cannot learn from public preaching.
Let me exhort you, Do not be fooled by this argument. I still
recall many lessons preached by my faithful father in public worship.
My dear mother made me sit still and pay attention. If someone,
in misplaced zeal, had taken me out of the assembly, I would have
missed hearing and remembering many great preachers, men like
Foy E. Wallace, Jr., C.R. Nichol, J.D. Tant, L.N. Moody, Horace
W. Busby. In my preaching, I still use many of the doctrinal
points and illustrations of these men. The influence of the solemn
service and the impression of seeing my parents engage in an activity
that was important to them created an impression on my mind that
will never fade. A very small child looks up to the man in the
pulpit, admires him, and may be encouraged to become a preacher
Beware of Robbers!
Parents, wake up, stand up, and think up! You can stop this addition
made by man, even when others will not listen to the Lord. Please
accept the exhortation not to feed up, color up, or play up your
children ... but "train them up" in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord. Remember Timothy's mother and grandmother
and the great work they accomplished from Timothy's youth. Do
not let anyone rob you of the precious time to train your children
in acceptable worship to Almighty God (John 4:24).