Truth Versus Tradition.
When I was about 13-14 years of age two of my cousins and I went spelunking in a cave located on a neighbor’s farm. A distinctive cliff, or rough rock wall can be found about one mile deep into the cave. It is was our first trip into that part of the cave, and we had heard that going deeper into the cave would involve crawling on hands and knees a bit after climbing the wall. Not desiring that challenge, we turned back at the wall to exit the cave. I led the way back, but soon found that we were walking in mud. Walking out in mud is one thing; noticing that there were no incoming tracks was something else. We were on the wrong path, and LOST.
Almost immediately we decided to sit down, turn off our flashlights, and talk about our situation. While sitting in the pitch-black environment we concluded that we should try to re-trace our steps back to the rock wall, and then proceed slowly back out looking for signs written on the walls and any other clues that might take us on the correct path to get out of the cave. It worked.
Following the steps of others can be a tricky. If the path is correct, fine. On the other hand when we blindly follow others we run the risk of going down a long, long road, in the wrong direction. The study of Church history can be very important once we realize we have chosen one or more wrong paths. Since our culture, including our church-reared children has moved so far from Christianity, it is imperative that we re-trace some steps to some “cliff-like wall” from which we can make a new beginning. Where would that be? The Bible is an obvious quick answer.
Most of us tend to look at the good ole days as if things were near perfect as we remember the past. Many have emphasized that we began to have some real problems in public schools once prayer was taken out, the 10 commandments removed, plus other actions that were apparently meant to scrub God from the schoolhouse. However, an honest analysis of these changes would reveal that these things were merely symptoms, not the disease, and things would likely get worse in the future. We can twist and tweak all we want, but it is impossible to blame anyone other than ourselves, those of us who claim to be Christians.
There are a lot of places in the past that we can point to and say the government did this, or Christians didn’t do that, and therefore we now find ourselves in this mess of seeing that most high school graduates are academically ignorant and biblically ignorant. I have talked to several people who are advocates for removing children from public schools and placing them in private Christian schools, or better yet, homeschooling. I agree with these people when they point out that children of Christian parents should never have been placed at the feet of Caesar’s system in the first place. (Well over 100 years ago). Traditions can be difficult to break. I grew up believing that church and school were two separate entities in my life and my community. They still are separate entities for most people, but I am adamantly against that thinking now. How can we take the Scripture that says “train up a child in the way he should go, ” and then split the child’s time between parents and Caesar, with Caesar getting more waking hours per day “to train up a child to believe that Caesar is god?” Seriously, who can believe the Body of Christ would deliberately select this method to train “the least of these” in our midst if we had a choice to do otherwise? In the final analysis, money tends to be the main limiting factor for Christian training, but I do not wish to take time and space to address that problem here.
Back to the lost boys in a cave: We got lost because we were walking too rapidly and had our lights focused immediately in front of our path on the cave floor. When we retreated and started out the second time, we walked slowly, were very deliberate, shining our lights up and down, all around, and on occasion we saw handwriting on the wall placed there by previous adventurers.
Christians often live their lives like inexperienced boys in a cave, constantly keeping a focus on what is directly at our feet. It may be ballet lessons, soccer practice, the men’s meeting, the ladies meeting, the golf outing, the haircut, the paycheck that’s too small, the shopping, etc. Roger Miller had a song many years ago with the title, “You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd,” that may appropriately describe the busy lives we have, and the challenge to live as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. It can be very difficult to hold firm to biblical principles and properly discern all that is happening in the world, while trying to “roller skate in a buffalo herd,” so to speak. If we don’t slow down and take time to read the handwriting on the wall, we may very well fail to see what our children are being taught.
For just a moment, stop and forget the cost of Christian schooling. Forget that your local Christian school is not what you would have it to be. Forget about the long held tradition of training children in public schools. Forget about the sports program at the local public school. Forget about the fact that your child has a great Christian teacher in a public school. Forget about the fact that the Church has given power, authority, the lead role and responsibility to the government for training our young children. And lastly, forget about the fact that your pastor may not be a strong advocate for Christian schooling. Remove those factors from your thoughts for a moment.
Don’t wait until you, your family, friends and neighbors are sitting in a pitch-black environment trying to develop a strategy for finding the Light. Return to the Rock. Travel slowly, looking up and down, and all around. Pledge to become like the sons of Issachar “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” 1 Chronicles 12:32 (HCSB). And then … follow Truth.