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What Luther Says

Some Wise Words About Kids In Church...

Recently on Facebook, Rev. Hans Fiene expressed for his congregation what is true for many like it, and it's well worth the read for all of us who sit in the pews each week wherever those pews may be.

A quick word of encouragement for those who're struggling with their little ones in church... 
Imagine that a couple hasn't been able to get pregnant. For years and years, they pray that God would bless them with a child, and yet it seems that God is not hearing their prayers. Then, many years later, when they figured it was far too late, God opens that woman's womb and blesses the couple with a child. 
So when that child cries at night, waking up his parents, what does his cry sound like to them? It doesn't sound irritating or frustrating as it might to someone else. That baby's cry sounds like the most beautiful music ever written. Because when that baby cries, that's the sound of his parents' prayers being answered. 
For many years, there were no little children at River of Life Lutheran Church (LCMS). And throughout all those years, the saints of River of Life prayed that God would bless us to see families with little ones walk in our doors. 
So when we hear little ones squawking and fussing and crying on Sunday mornings, we're not irritated or frustrated. We're overjoyed. Because that's the sound of our prayers being answered. And I know my congregation is not alone in thinking this way. 
So parents, don't give up. The more consistently you show up on Sunday morning, the easier it will get. And the more you get to know the folks in your congregation, the more effective they'll be at helping you out. Keep coming. Keep fighting. It's worth it for their sake, for your sake, and for our sake too. 
This little appendix he adds may be helpful also... 
3 more things: 
1. This doesn't mean NEVER take your kids out. Most parents are too quick to take them out. But some parents fall off the horse on the other end and think they're displaying a superior adherence to Matthew 19:14 by staring sweetly at the chancel while their kids scream bloody murder. Don't be these parents. 
2. If any old folks glare at you or say something nasty, tell your pastor and he'll karate chop them. 
3. The struggle is not so much that kids are bad in CHURCH, but that they're just bad in situations where they have to sit still and listen. So don't exacerbate that problem by giving them your phone or an iPad all the time. Read to them more often. Talk with them in the car. When you have to spend ten or so minutes in the waiting room for a doctor's appointment, train them on patience. Stuff like this will help, not just in terms of church, but in terms of their intellectual development as a whole.

Personally, I think that's so spot on. I have a soon-to-be 13-year old boy and a soon-to-be 12-year-old girl and can attest to these truths. Besides, the alternative is disastrous and playing with eternal fire, in my humble opinion.

What do I mean by that? Well, as another Lutheran Pastor shared in the past year (in response to a related and specific image/picture)...

These kinds of children's activities in the chancel don't teach the children about the holiness of the altar and its sanctification by the Lord's sacramental presence. It teaches them instead to treat that which is holy as common. 
The verb for this is: "to profane." 
When we would visit other churches when Leo was little, there would sometimes be one of these kids' activities in the middle of the Divine Service, often with a pastor or even a lady assistant sitting with his or her back to the altar inside the chancel putting on a show for the congregation and purporting to preach a 'children's sermon.' 
When the children's "altar call" would be announced, Leo would look at us with a combination of horror, revulsion, and the plaintive withering look of, "I don't have to do this, do I?" 
We would look at him with a discreet and reassuring gesture to stay put, and he would be filled with relief. He knew that this was simply wrong. 
Interestingly, I often find that the people who like 'object lessons' eschew things like bells, vestments, icons, candles, and incense. I often find that people who like 'hand motions' and bodily gestures for children don't teach the little ones to cross themselves, bow, or genuflect. 
This is why our Lutheran confessions so often repudiate 'novelty' in worship. We need to teach our children not to participate in spectacles like this. 
-- Rev. Larry Beane

This is most certainly true.

The natural progression from an approach, behavior, mentality, and practices like these are things like so-called "Youth Ministry," "Youth Pastors," and "Youth Groups" not to mention "Youth Sundays" and "Youth Led Worship Services" even! Sadly, these doctrines of men are not helping, but hurting the Body of Christ and are some of the reasons why our children are leaving Christ's Church.

Proverbs 14:12 (ESV) There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

Here's a novel and radical idea: Teach your kids the truth at home first and don't give in to the peer pressure to participate in such things, which is becoming far too common within our churches today (it's not "cute" and "harmless fun" either).

Better yet, pick up a copy of Pastor Gaven Mize's "My Little ABC Liturgy Book" too.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, these are some very wise words about the importance and necessity of having kids in church and about having them be a part of the Divine Service properly and respectfully as is age appropriate.

NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just your average everyday Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to "Confessional Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 4 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavily influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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