As you will be aware from the recent articles in Visiting Distant Lampstands, Brother Murray and Sister Jenny Lund visited brethren and sisters in Europe, Russia, UK and North America. At a recent meeting Brother Murray presented the following observations which we felt well worth sharing with all brethren and sisters.

These following thoughts pressed themselves forcefully into our minds as we reflected upon what we had observed ecclesially on our recent visit overseas.

We could not but rejoice to see the diligence and commitment of so many brethren and sisters to the work of spreading the gospel in Europe and elsewhere, and the evidence that Yahweh does guide and bless the work. It is a great privilege to be able to share fellowship with those of like faith who are anxiously awaiting the return of our Lord and we were thankful for that experience. However there was one singular concern that greatly disturbed us and which appeared to be common to the brotherhood wherever we went.

  The Greatest Ecclesial Danger

 Sadly, we had thrust upon our notice what we consider to be the greatest danger facing the world ecclesias today. It is not the danger of false teaching, not the opposition of governments and powers, not the lack of faith or love of the Truth as set out in Scripture—it is our inability to bring with us on the way to the Kingdom our young people. In so many places we visited this absence of teenagers and young married couples was evident. As we observed this we asked ourselves—why? This inevitably occupied our thoughts on our journey and considerably since coming home. Is it the same here? Have we too lost many of our young people to the world? A look back over our years in the Truth says we have. So again the question—why?

Is it because we lack the resources of organisation, books, instructors, leadership, companionship? In general it must surely be said that today there are more ecclesias, more books and magazines and more youth activities and gatherings everywhere than ever before (I am excluding mission areas in these comments)—so wherein lies the problem? I believe it lies with

1  The parents and

2  Failure of ecclesias (arranging brethren and leaders) to identify and endeavour to counteract the problem positively.

We do talk and write about this matter but are we really grappling with it?

There are two scriptures I would suggest we should consider to help us all to establish a right approach to this problem:

Malachi 2:15: In a context dealing with marriage we read: “And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. This is a wonderful statement about the purpose of marriage, setting before us the purpose that God had in mind and showing clearly God’s expectations of the marriages of those in covenant relationship with Him. It is that parents will produce a godly seed , and the ideal basis for that is one man and one wife. This is the picture we have right from Genesis. Two became one, not only to walk faithfully together but in the process to produce a godly seed. Incidentally the record in Genesis 2:24 highlights one of our problems today—young people leaving home to further their studies, seek work prospects or merely to assert “their rights and independence”. The scriptural statement is: “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife…”.

 The end result too often seems to be that they also leave behind their connections to the hope of eternal life and the “godly” environment in which they have been sheltered. Brethren and sisters, fathers and mothers, think about this godly instruction. Are we in our homes, our way of life, our relationships, producing “a godly seed” or are we “allowing” things in our lives, or more particularly are we “allowing” things in our children’s lives, that will eventually lead them away from God and His Son and the only Hope of eternal life.

What Do You “Allow”?

 This leads us to our second scripture which we need to ponder carefully:

Romans 14:22: “Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.”

 The apostle is encouraging us to consider a vital issue. Will our faith stand up to scrutiny by God or are we jeopardising our hopes by allowing” or “approvingthings which we should not. In particular, in the context of this article, are we “allowing” things into our family or children’s lives that may help to destroy them. To state it another way, are we allowing them to develop into an “ungodly seed”?

Some may reply to this—it is all about being “well balanced” and this is true, providing “the balance” we are considering is a godly balance. Perhaps we could define that as the right balance of “truth, mercy and judgment”. Please consider the advice of a recent writer:

“Don’t compromise with what is spiritually and morally bad in hope that what is spiritually good will win out … this may suit our convenience and comfort, but it means that you have given a morally acceptable equivalence to the morally bad.

“Inevitably this will corrupt whatever was morally good in your initial attitude, for you will not stop at mere tolerance—a sort of ‘live and let live’ treatment at a safe distance. (A fearful example today is that of our young people listening to wholly objectionable songs and music. Do we allow it as long as they don’t inflict it upon us?) Inexorably you will be led to compromise what was morally good in your original stance.”

Let’s come back to our original statement—our greatest problem ecclesially world-wide is that we are losing many of our young people.

What can and should be done? It seems to us that again the answer is twofold:

First Parents: Let our homes be godly homes where there is a consistent commitment to a right balance of truth, mercy and judgment, and where we lovingly give our children the right advice and direction, having always before our minds that God’s desire and expectation of us is that we produce “a godly seed”. Reading the Scriptures together and talking positively about the Truth is a sound starting point in their development.

Secondly Ecclesias: Let them be aware of the needs and activities of their young people and in collaboration with the parents be unified and open in their combined disapproval of anything they know is spiritually and morally corrupting. God’s expectation of the ecclesia is also that it will produce “a godly seed”.