The Messages in This Book
The foundation for the messages in this book comes from Romans 12:2 whereby the Bible tells us: Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. This, of course, suggests that in order to have discernment as to God’s will, you must first have your mind renewed, and thus this should help you avoid conforming to this age.
From that foundational message in Romans 12:2, we learn what God’s Word, the Bible, has to say about how fathers should, at all times, be teaching their children. Scripture in Deuteronomy shows us those instructions.
It’s interesting how we see history through the time period in which we live, and tend to pay little attention to what came before. We sometimes fail to understand the precursors to the changes we personally witnessed. The purpose here is to give a brief overview, and perhaps add one or two elements you hadn’t thought about previously.
Many people would agree that the breakdown of the family has been a major contributing factor to the current problems in society. While that is true, we must ask the question, “What caused the breakdown of the family?”
Many cite taking prayer and the Ten Commandments out of the public schools as a beginning to the breakdown of the family. Some say it was the governmental subsidies to unwed mothers. Some say the women’s liberation movement. Some say sexual perversion in general. Some say it was when the wife/mother left home to take a job..
Eleven whole chapters in this book outline the adverse factors that have affected father/son relationships. I use the father/son designation rather than parent/child simply because the Bible does so in the Scriptures found in Deuteronomy. When we study the lifestyles of people since the time of Moses, we find that some key factors changed very little for a period of nearly 3000 years. In my opinion, there have been two primary changes during the past 150 years that have contributed most to our dilemma, conforming to this age. Both of these changes are precursors to destroying father/son relationships. Or perhaps I should say, the separation of fathers and sons ultimately led the mind control of generations to follow. The shift from farm to urban living is one precursor. The second major factor has been the separation of children from parents by the public school system. While this book outlines 11 factors, most of the last nine are the result of the first two, (1) the move from farm to city, and. (2) the training in public schools.
Acquiring knowledge about those changes should help us discern what is good, pleasing and perfect in God’s will for our lives, and give us some direction as to how we can make some necessary adjustments as believers in the Word of God.
God’s Instruction In The Old Testament
4 Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as [b]frontals [c]on your forehead. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deut. 6: 4- 9, NASB)
The Bible verse above is very familiar to many, especially those who have a firm belief that homeschooling and/or Christian schools are the only appropriate methods for training our children. Now lets take a look at the Scripture that immediately preceded, the first three versus of Deuteronomy 6.
Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, 2 so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. 3 O Israel, you should listen and [a]be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
Now notice particularly the second verse where it says so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, … What we have here is an emphasis on three generations; instructions to the fathers was that they, their children and their grandchildren, all three generations need to learn God’s teaching. It seems man must first learn God’s statutes and judgments, and then make sure that information was carried down for the next two generations. In other words, it is not good enough for man to learn the Scriptures, he must teach his son as shown in verse seven, but the father also has responsibility to his grandsons as well.
Playing the Devil’s advocate, I ask, how does this square up with church gatherings where the children are separated from the parents and put in the “children’s church,” or the teens separated from the parents and taught something “relevant” to teens, or have teaching about things high schoolers are interested in hearing. Can we say “itching ears?” Perhaps we should focus on what God says is relevant?
I think most people who read these first few verses in Deuteronomy likely agree with the premise that man should be teaching his children at all times. Problem is; do they do it? Is it even physically possible? How many hours a day do a father and son spend time together? The Bible says to teach while you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you get up. Let’s be real, most men are out of the house early in the morning to go to work. At the end of the school day children may be off to practice some activity like ballet or some ball game. There are likely very few families who sit down and eat the evening meal together. I feel certain the percent of families where the entire family sits down for breakfast TOGETHER would likely be less that three percent, ten percent maximum. Let’s just say ten percent of families eat breakfast together. Is there a lot of teaching of the father to the son during this time to make up for the other 90 percent? The reader and I both know that practically no teaching of biblical principles takes place each morning before father goes to work.
Why does the father even GO to work? Can he not work in his home? Yes, father working in the home is a bygone day. So is Deuteronomy only good for the ancient days when men were at home grubbing out a living by herding animals or gathering food in the fields? Do we just automatically assume that this is outdated because most of us don’t herd goats and sheep anymore?
Okay, okay, let’s just say I am not likely to get very far with this type discussion even if I am one of those individuals who does herd sheep. Lets say that it is near impossible because of work schedules of parents and schooling of children to have the father walk with his son during the day.
Do we have other wiggle room for trying to adhere to Deuteronomy 6? If children are in private or government schools, then there is an eight-hour block of time away from home. What about dinner, or supper, as we say on the farm? Does the entire family eat together? Could this substitute for some of the teaching as the father and child “walk by the way?” Do the father and child have two to three hours before bedtime where they can discuss God’s commands? For now I will leave those for discussion later.
God’s Instruction In The New Testament
Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
In Romans 12:2, some translations say, “Do not be conformed to this age.” The ASV says, “And be not fashioned according to this world,” the GNV says, “And fashion not yourselves like unto this world,” and the NIV says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world…” So in the versions shown here we are instructed; Do not be conformed, fashioned, or influenced by the pattern of this world. If we ask what “this age” means some might say that means the age in which Romans was written, or perhaps just the circumstances at the time for those who lived in Rome. For most of us we would likely agree that regardless of the age, we are not to conform to the pattern of the rest of the world.
What is meant by “Do not be conformed to this age?” One way to conform is by physical force. Should you be placed in a locked cell, as in prison, physically you would be conformed. Or, you could have a heavy steel ball attached to a chain on one end and to your leg on the other; you would be conformed by force. Tyrants use force to make people conform. Islam teaches dominance in their religion. Infidels (any who are not Muslim) who are captured are forced to convert to Islam or suffer the consequences of being a lower class, abused class of people, or be killed. People who are forced into slave labor are conformed by force.
Our instruction from the Bible is referring to our voluntary decisions to “conform to this age.” This can become tricky since tyrants are likely always looking for new ways to cause people to be conformed to the desire of the tyrant. For example, much of the civil rights legislation in America was portrayed as a form of freedom, while in fact, over a period of three or four decades many were being manipulated or conformed into a type of slavery. The best example is the fact that when our federal government began heavily subsidizing unwed mothers while neglecting to hold fathers of the illegitimate babies accountable. The result was that a large percentage of unwed mothers became slaves of the government over a period of about four decades. How so? They are supported by taxpayer funds, and this has essentially made them slaves to the government system. The family was destroyed in the process.
Why The Information Age May Be The Most Critical Age In History
Throughout history there have been various ages defined by certain significant activity and/or products of those particular times. For example, the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Industrial Age were forerunners to the Information Age. In the earlier ages, man used his hands to work with those materials like bronze and iron to make tools, for example. He would then use these tools to make other things. In each age, man was using physical materials and using his physical body, his hands, to construct and shape products. In contrast, the Information Age is the first time in history whereby products that influence the MIND have been developed. That is VERY different. All the information systems we have now with computers, phones, Internet, etc. can be used to influence the mind. So for the first time since the Bible was written, we have a serious threat of mind control either by accident at the least, or at worst, on purpose by would-be-tyrants. In fact, I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to say that Romans 12:2 is more relevant now than anytime since it was first penned. Think about it; some falsehood can be written down and within a few minutes time it can be read at the far corners of the earth via television, phone, or the Internet. We often hear that something has gone viral, usually a short video. Masses of people can be deceived quickly to follow false leaders of some country, false teachers of some ideology, or even the false doctrine formulated by someone posing as a Christian.
The Information Age has allowed both the good and the bad information to travel at lightning speed. The Bible tells us “Do not be conformed to this age,” and we are in the Information Age, the one age where the mind can easily be adversely affected or controlled. Christians are is essence at war with all those avenues of mind control that have been developed in a matter of a few years. It has happened so quickly that in many ways we have been caught off guard. We have been so fascinated with the use of advanced technology, that we tend to overlook the harmful effects, which are now becoming more evident as each day passes.
The advancing technology of the Information Age is just one aspect of how we are at risk of being conformed to this age. Major changes in rural versus city places of residency, major changes in education, and family lifestyles during the past 200 years are all factors that deserve our close attention lest we continue to become more conformed to this age.
Never in modern times have we seen the turmoil such as we have now. Currently, one of the hot button issues has been the players in the National Football League who have been disrespecting the American flag by their behavior while the Star Spangled Banner is being played prior to the game. They fail to stand, and thus they insult large segments of their fan base, and likely most of us who are not fans of any NFL team. Some are predicting the end of the NFL, and if it does crash, I say, “Good riddance!” In more than one of the chapters to follow, I point out that we are obsessed with entertainment, and this contributes to our “conforming to this age.” DR, October 2017
Related: Book, Segment A