How to Keep Our Kids Out of the "Trench Coat Mafia"
Updated April 23, 2009 (first published April 24, 1999) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, email@example.com; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -
On April 20, 1999, two high school seniors filled with occultic hatred murdered 12 of their fellow students and a 47-year-old teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, before taking their own lives. The shooters also wounded another 20 students, some extremely seriously. At least one has never walked again and others have had long and difficult recoveries.
The Columbine murderers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, used shotguns, a rifle, a handgun, and pipe bombs in the attack. They laughed as they destroyed and mangled their victims. Witnesses reported that “they were just hooting and hollering, having the time of their lives.”
They had planned to kill hundreds, but their larger bombs did not explode. They rigged bombs out of propane tanks attached to gasoline cans and strung them with nails to enhance the shrapnel effect and placed them in the cafeteria, planning to detonate them when the room was packed with students and teachers at the height of the lunch period. They planned for the ensuing fireball to collapse the second floor onto the lunch room and thus add to the mayhem. They also rigged similar bombs and placed them in their cars and set them to explode 45 minutes after the initial blasts, intending to turn the cars into fireballs that would kill more students, plus paramedics, police, reporters, and others who were responding to the tragedy. By God’s grace, none of the propane bombs exploded.
At least 75 people have been killed on public school campuses since the Columbine shootings. Between 1992 and 2006 there were 330 murders committed by students on school property. The carnage was perpetrated by self-centered, hateful, vengeful, foul-mouthed students.
Early news reports stated that the Columbine murderers were members of a loose-knit group of young people who wore long trench coats, black clothing, and other “gothic” attire and delved into occultic and violent themes, but part of this turned out not to be true. The teens were wearing trench coats the day of the mass murder, but they were not members of the so-called Trench Coat Gang. Early reports also speculated that the boys lashed out at athletes and other popular teens because they had experienced constant bullying and social ostracism. In fact, both boys had a fairly wide circle of friends and were the bullies rather than the bullied, and they did not target athletes or any other particular group. They hated everybody! “Dylan laughed about picking on the new freshmen and [others]. Neither one complained about bullies picking on them--they boasted about doing it themselves” (Dave Cullen, Columbine, 2009, p. 258). Eric went through his junior yearbook and defaced the photos of the majority of his fellow students, labeling them “worthless,” writing that they would die, or making an X over their pictures (Columbine, p. 257).
Early reports speculated that the murderers were driven by a lack of self-esteem, when in fact they were exceedingly proud and thought that they were better than other “weak earthlings.” Dylan wrote, “I am GOD compared to some of these un-existable brainless zombies.” Eric ridiculed “stupid, witless inferiors.” Eric said, “I am higher than almost anyone in the ****** world in terms of universal intelligence” and called his journal “The Book of God” (Columbine, p. 234). Dylan wrote the following in Eric’s junior yearbook a year before the massacre: “We, the gods, will have so much fun with NBK!!” (p. 256). (NBK is a reference to the violent movie Natural Born Killers and is what they chose as the nickname for their massacre.)
In home videos and journals they bragged about what they were planning to do and laughed at the pain they would inflict. Eric’s journal began with the words, “I hate the ***** world” and contained fifty entries describing what and who he hated.
This is not an isolated problem. Modern American culture is producing many such young people. Schools around the country have continued to receive threats from other weird-minded young people who promise to propagate more violence. Several students have been arrested prior to committing similar atrocities and the police have confiscated the weapons they were planning to use, and as we have seen many have actually carried out their murderous attacks.
Why did the teenagers commit this atrocity? The Bible teaches that murder is in the heart of every fallen sinner. The Lord Jesus Christ said,
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:21-23).
If the natural propensities of the fallen heart are encouraged and not restrained, there is no evil that man is not capable of perpetrating. The battleground lies particularly with the imagination. If evil and darkness is entertained continually, the heart grows increasingly perverse. The Bible describes this downward process in Romans chapter 1: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened ... For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections ... And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:21, 26, 28).
Dave Cullen’s book Columbine, which was published in 2009 after nearly a decade of research, delves deeply into the teen’s lives. It is obvious that pride, anger, hatred, murderous revenge, and other natural lusts of the flesh were fueled by Western pop culture (violent video games and Hollywood movies, rock music), encouraged by godless philosophy (evolution, moral relativism, and Nazism), and enflamed by alcohol and drugs (both boys drank hard liquor and used marijuana).
Harris and Klebold loved wretched forms of rock music. Their music was described as “mostly banging and screaming” (Columbine, p. 27). Dylan is described as “jamming music in his head” (p. 261). They particularly liked the German group KMFDM (p. 258). The letters stand for the German words “Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid,” which means “no mercy for the masses.” This is often shortened to “kein mitleid” or “no mercy.” An editorial review on Amazon.com describes their music as a “mix of aggressive storm-trooper grooves with lacerating scrawls of electronic noise” and the lead voice as “that Skinny Puppy yowl from hell.” Their 1995 album was entitled Nihil (“nothing”) and included the following edifying cuts: “Beast,” “Terror,” “Search and Destroy,” “Disobedience,” and “Brute.” Eric idolized and quoted the band frequently (Columbine, p. 317). He posted the lyrics to KMFDM songs (“Anarchy,” “Power,” “Son of a Gun,” “Stray Bullet,” and “Waste”) on his website. In the junior yearbook of a fellow student, Eric wrote, “If it moves kill it, if it doesn’t, burn it, kein mitleid!!!” (The band issued a statement condemning the massacre and claiming that “none of us condone any Nazi beliefs whatsoever.” This is the typical rock & roll response when someone takes their sorry music seriously; they claim that it is only “entertainment.) Three other mass murderers have cited KMFDM music as an influence. The shooters in the Finnish school massacres of 2007 and 2008 listed KMFDM among their favorite bands (Phil Black, “Finland in Mourning after Fatal School Shooting,” CNN.com, Nov. 8, 2007; Sakari Souoninen “Finland School Gunman Touted Misanthropy on Internet,” National Post, Sept. 23, 2008). And Dimitris Patmanidis, who went on a shooting rampage in April 2009 in Athens, Greece, used KMFDM’s song “Free Your Hate” as the background on his MySpace profile (“KMFDM,” Wikipedia).
Harris and Klebold also loved Nine Inch Nails (Trent Reznor). In his journal, Dylan often referred to the 1994 Nine Inch Nails album “The Downward Spiral,” which describes a man who unravels and kills himself. Dylan felt that this described his own life (Columbine, p. 197). The cuts on the album include “March of the Pig,” “Mr. Self Destruct,” and “Reptile.” There is a line in the cut entitled “Heresy” that says, “Your god is dead/And no one cares. If there is a hell/I’ll see you there.” Reznor recorded the album in a studio he called “Le Pig” which he built in the house where Sharon Tate and four others were brutally murdered by the Charles Manson cult. “Le Pig” is the message that was scrawled on the front door in Tate’s blood. Reznor’s violent “music” is described by the All Music Guide to Rock as “relentless darkness,” “a towering monument of angst and hatred,” “raging, angry assault,” and “undiluted rage.” Reznor’s first album was entitled Pretty Hate Machine. Nine Inch Nails’ Closer video shows a monkey crucified on a cross. The Reznor video Happiness in Slavery featured a person being slowly and graphically ground into hamburger while watching a Nine Inch Nails video.
Harris and Klebold adored Adolph Hitler and timed the massacre to occur on Hitler’s birthday. Eric was fascinated by Hitler’s Final Solution and the fact that the Nazis murdered six million Jews plus five million other people. In his journal, Eric cited the Final Solution and wrote, “Kill them all. Well in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I say KILL MANKIND” (Columbine, p. 258). Eric memorized Goethe’s “darkly operatic poem” Der Erlkonig and “poured through books such as The Nazi Party, Secrets of the SS, and The Ideological Origins of Nazi Imperialism” (p. 265). He photocopied a passage from Himmler’s speech to SS leaders, “Whether or not 10,000 Russian women collapse from exhaustion while digging a tank ditch interests me only in so far as the tank ditch is completed for Germany.”
Eric and Dylan had “death matches” with violent video games such as Doom, playing “for hours and hours and hours.” Eric enhanced the out-of-the-box edition of the weird game by hacking into the software and creating his own characters and adventures. “Victims were frequently on fire or freshly decapitated; sometimes they held their own heads in their hands” (Columbine, p. 137). One of the warriors he created had flamethrowers for forearms. Eric wrote in his journal of those he planned to murder, “I will force myself to believe that everyone is just another monster from Doom” (p. 276).
The teenagers watched certain violent movies repeatedly. One movie they loved, Natural Born Killers, depicts weird misfits who shoot people for kicks and laugh about it. They were so influenced by the movie that they used the letters NBK in their journals to describe their own murderous rampage.
They believed in evolution. Eric said that Darwinian “natural selection” was “the best thing that ever happened to the earth” because it gets “rid of all the stupid and weak organisms” (Columbine, p. 184). Eric wrote in his journal that since moral imperatives and situational absolutes are imaginary, he could kill anyone he wanted (Columbine, p. 265).
They communicated with other weird-minded, foul-mouthed young people via the Internet. Harris’s Internet slogan was “Quit whining, it’s just a flesh wound; kill ‘em AAALLL.” For more than a year they had been posting vicious statements, descriptions of bloody shootings, drawings of a shotgun-toting monster standing on a pile of skulls, and directions for making pipe bombs at a web site one of them maintained. The web site instructions stated: “Shrapnel is very important if you want to kill and injure a lot of people. Almost anything small and metal will work. From paper clips cut into pieces to two-inch nails.” They posted a list of people they wanted to kill. At the top of the list was Columbine high school classmate Brooks Brown. In early 1998 Harris threatened Brown and broke his automobile windshield. Brown’s father turned 15 pages of the frightful Internet writings over to a deputy sheriff but there was no serious follow through, and this fact was covered up by law enforcement officials during the early years of the investigation into the massacre. Harris stated at his Internet site that he couldn’t wait to start killing people and that he would feel no remorse. He said: “I live in Denver, and I would love to kill almost all of its residents. You all better hide in your houses because I’m coming for everyone and I will shoot to kill and I will kill everything. … I will rig up explosives all over a town and detonate each one of them at will after I mow down a whole [cursing] area full of you.” Harris and Klebold mutilated animals. They began making bombs more than a year prior to the murders, naming each one and describing the explosions as “insanely cool.”
They even produced a video for a school class that depicted them in trench coats walking along the halls of their school shooting student athletes.
In March 1998, the two were arrested for breaking into a van and stealing tools, but they were given a mere “slap on the wrist” by the judicial system. Instead of jail time, they were shunted into a counseling program called Diversion, and Eric pulled the wool over their eyes. He bragged to his journal, “I could convince them that I’m going to climb Mount Everest, or that I have a twin brother growing out of my back. I can make you believe anything” (Cullen, Columbine, p. 328).
The prominent news media provided 24-hour coverage of the tragedy. Countless “experts” were interviewed. Students, teachers, and parents were asked their opinion about the problem of violence in public schools. The testimonies and commentaries in the mainstream media have contained an amazing lack of wisdom and common sense. Though there is a plain and direct connection between the Colorado massacre and the violent rock music, movies, and video games the two murderers loved, the national media downplayed the connection. MSNBC, for example, visited a sold-out Korn rock concert (Korn is a violent, blasphemous, angst-filled black metal group) that was held the day after the massacre and interviewed the aberrant kids that attended. The reporter asked the kids if they thought violent pornographic rock music like Korn and Marilyn Mansion influences people to violence. Of course their answer was no. The kids said they enjoy listening to songs about violence and hatred and blasphemy and they like to dress weird and pierce their bodies and wear blasphemous, vengeful slogans on their clothing, but they don’t have any desire to act out such things. It’s just another form of entertainment, they say. That’s what the rappers say that write lyrics urging people to shoot policemen or rape women. It’s just entertainment. That is nonsense, of course. Hitler’s hate-filled speech and anti-Semitic writings were not innocent entertainment. They resulted in destruction and mayhem on a global scale. Words produce action, and those who make speeches, write books, publish music, and produce movies are responsible for the behavior that results.
The Bible plainly warns that “evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Cor. 15:33) and “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7). What young people put into their hearts and minds will bear fruit in their lives. The music they listen to, the movies they watch, the video games they play, the books they read, the companions they hang around with, the people they associate with on the Internet, will have a direct impact upon their lives. Though all who love industrial rock and violent video games will not become mass murderers, all will be influenced negatively. At the very least, it will be manifest in an improper attitude toward their parents, teachers, the police, and other forms of authority.
Further, blasphemy is not a game. To curse God and mock the things of God, as is done frequently in music and movies today, has eternal consequences. The Bible warns that “the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Ex. 20:7). Groups like Marilyn Mansion and Korn are blaspheming their way to eternal Hell; and like the pied piper, they are drawing multitudes of angry, self-centered, rebellious young people with them. This is not legitimate entertainment and fun, and it is not something any society can permit without grave consequences.
I praise the Lord that we have a light in a dark place, and that is the Bible, God’s holy Word. Those who know God through faith in Jesus Christ and who have confidence in His Word are not left to stumble through this life without wisdom. There are specific reasons why young people turn into “Trench Coat Mafia” types. There are certain things that Christian parents can do for their children that will ensure they will not turn out to be violent criminals. God has given us His promise: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he WILL NOT depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). That is God’s promise for wise and godly child rearing.
Following are some of the ways we can avoid producing members for the “Trench Coat Mafia” --
1. PARENTS MUST BUILD A GOD-FEARING HOME
“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Ephesians 5:33). The home that produces godly, productive children is the home in which the husband and wife have a sincere and living relationship with Jesus Christ, in which they are committed together to obey God’s Word in every aspect of life. The parents must provide a wholesome Christian atmosphere: wholesome conversation, wholesome attitudes, wholesome purposes, wholesome music, and wholesome relationships. A sound home begins with a sound husband-wife relationship. It has wisely been said that the best way to love your children is to love your husband or your wife. Divided, broken homes produce most of the child delinquency, and a home does not have to be literally torn apart by divorce to be divided and broken. Even homes that appear to be intact can produce damaged children because the marital relationship and the family atmosphere is not wholesome. The husband must truly love and cherish his wife and children, instead of pursuing his selfish ambitions and pleasures. The wife must truly revere and submit to the husband’s headship, instead of undermining it with self-willed stubbornness. The parents must work out differences privately and then present to the children a united front in the will of God. Fleshly attitudes such as anger and bitterness and strife must be cleansed and overcome by the Spirit of God so the atmosphere of the home is not poisoned.
Where parents frequently fail in regard to their home:
(1) The father is self-centered (consumed with fulfilling his ambitions and pleasures) rather than God and family centered.
(2) The mother is self-willed and stubborn rather than submissive; boisterous instead of meek and quiet.
(3) The father and mother allow the flesh to dominate their daily lives instead of the Spirit of God.
(4) The father and mother are not dedicated wholly to the Lord’s service. Parents who are half-hearted about the Lord’s service usually produce children who are half-hearted.
2. PARENTS MUST BE DEDICATED TO THEIR CHILDREN
The Bible warns, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Prov. 29:15). To raise godly, productive children requires parents who are dedicated to the constant discipline and watchcare of the children. One of the chief reasons so many young people are bringing shame upon their parents today is that they are left to themselves. They are allowed to live in their own little world. They are sent to schools where they spend a large portion of their young lives immersed in a worldly youth culture. They are allowed to choose their own entertainment, their own friends. They are given their own “space.” They are allowed to use radios, televisions, and the Internet without careful adult supervision. They are allowed to be alone with their friends without supervision. They are allowed to pick their own girlfriends and boyfriends without parental supervision and intervention. It is no wonder that so many bring their mothers to shame.
Where parents frequently fail in regard to this area:
(1) Fathers have no practical involvement in the children’s lives.
(2) Mothers work outside the home and are not readily available for the children.
(3) Teenagers are treated like adults. It is not uncommon that parents back off from intimate involvement in their children’s lives when they reach the teenage years. Mothers go back to work. Fathers stop exercising discipline. The teens are given their own transportation and adult-like freedom. Christian parents have learned this from the world, not from God’s Word. If anything, teenagers need more supervision, not less! Don’t you trust teenagers, someone asks? No, we don’t! We know that teenagers, even godly ones, are immature and inexperienced and they have powerful enemies, the world, the flesh, and the Devil. We love our teenagers too much to turn them loose without close supervision.
3. BE FAITHFUL MEMBERS OF A GOD-FEARING, BIBLE-BELIEVING CHURCH
Exceptions aside, godly, fruitful young people are the product of God-fearing homes working in harmony with God-fearing churches (Acts 2:41-42; 1 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 10:25). If the church does not back up the home’s biblical standards, the home is undermined. If the home does not back up the church’s biblical standards, the church is undermined. They must work in harmony.
HOW THE HOME CAN UNDERMINE THE CHURCH:
(1) Worldliness, carnality, and hypocrisy. Nothing destroys spiritual zeal in children’s lives more quickly than worldliness and hypocrisy in the lives of their parents. The children see our inconsistencies. They know if our “church demeanor” is genuine or a façade. They know what we are like when no one is looking, what our daily habits are, how we handle pressures, how we act when trouble comes, how often we pray, how much we read our Bibles, how much we love unsaved people, what music we love, what television we watch, what movies we rent. No matter how strong the church is, worldliness and carnality and hypocrisy in the parents can destroy the church’s influence in children’s lives.
(2) Spiritual slothfulness and disobedience. If mom and dad are slothful about the things of God; if they are disobedient toward pastoral leadership; there is a very high probability that the children will follow in those footsteps regardless of how strong their church is.
(3) Disrespect toward God-ordained authority (Heb. 13:7,17). The parents must show respect toward spiritual leaders before the children. If parents need to discuss potential problems about church leadership, they should do it out of the children’s hearing and present a united front of respect toward God-ordained authority. Pastors and teachers are not popes and do not have absolute authority; their only authority is in following the Word of God. Parents are responsible before God to test the teaching and ministry of church leaders by the Bible (1 Thess. 5:21). They must always do this, though, from an attitude of spiritual submission. If they have to point out an error in a leader or teacher to their families, they must do it with an attitude of godly respect toward the office in such a manner that the church and positions of spiritual authority are not undermined in the heart of the children. Parents who disrespect God-ordained authority and exhibit an attitude of anger and bitterness and resentment toward pastors and teachers can easily destroy their children spiritually even if they are in a good church.
(4) By not supporting the church’s standards. The parents can also undermine a godly church by not supporting its standards, whether in dress, entertainment, relationships, or other areas. A mother can undermine a godly church by letting her daughter dress in an immodest manner or go to the beach in a skimpy bathing suit regardless of what her church teaches. A father can undermine a godly church by letting his son attend unwholesome movies or go on dates without a chaperon or run around with an unsaved crowd regardless of what the church teaches.
(5) Lack of commitment to the Lord’s work. Whatever parents are zealous for, whatever they put first in their lives, is usually what the children will exhibit. If the father’s great zeal in life is toward sports and other things of this world instead of toward the things of God, his sons will probably not be zealous for the Lord. If the mother’s great passion in life is toward fashion, furniture, career and other things of this world instead of toward the things of the Lord, her daughters will probably not be very zealous for the Lord.
HOW THE CHURCH CAN UNDERMINE THE HOME:
(1) Unqualified, unspiritual leaders and workers. Even a home that is God-fearing and zealous for the Lord will be undermined by remaining in a church that has worldly leaders and teachers. The Sunday School teachers, youth workers, and pastors will influence the young people one way or the other, either toward the world or toward the things of God. This is why it is so crucial that churches have high standards for workers. If a men and women have demonstrated that they are worldly and that they do not have the ability to lead young people in God-fearing paths, they should never be allowed to teach or otherwise to be involved with the training of children and youth. I know of many churches, though, in which teachers and youth workers are very worldly-minded and have even lost their own children to the world, yet the church places them in positions so they can continue to influence other people’s children. This will undermine the homes.
(2) Lighthearted, entertainment-oriented youth programs instead of spiritual discipleship. A church that has a worldly, entertainment-oriented youth program will drag down even young people from God-fearing families.
(3) Boring preaching and ritualistic church services that lack God’s power and blessing. Many church services among fundamental Baptist churches today are almost completely lacking in Holy Spirit guidance and power. Everything is a ritual. We stand up; we sit down; we stand up; we sit down. Why? No one knows. It’s a ritual we go through. The song service is a ritual. No one, including the song leader, is thinking seriously about the message of the songs. The preaching is boring and lifeless. A church that has boring preaching and ritualistic services will produce hypocrisy and deadness.
(4) By allowing improper boy-girl relationships. Few things have destroyed God’s calling in young peoples’ lives more than improper dating and the resulting marriages out of God’s will. The reason it is so crucial that boy-girl relationships be diligently supervised by parents and church authorities is so the young people will marry in God’s will, strong Christian homes will be established, and God’s work in this world will be accomplished.
4. SEPARATE FROM EVIL AND WORLDLINESS
The world is the Christian’s enemy (James 4:4) and God’s people are warned not to love the evil things of the world (1 John 2:15-17). The world is under the dominion of the devil (2 Cor. 4:4). He tries to gain access into people’s lives through the evil things that he offers as enticements, as he used the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to entice Eve (Gen. 3). Parents must jealously guard against evil and worldly influences coming into their home. They must carefully monitor what their children watch, hear, and read. It is absolute insanity for parents to allow their children unsupervised access to television, Internet, etc.
The two high school seniors who murdered fellow students in Colorado were allowed to spend countless hours unsupervised by their parents, during which they played violent video games, surfed wicked sites on the Internet, watched vicious movies, and conjured up the details of a horrendous massacre. Evil influences entered these young men’s lives through the wicked things they were allowed to entertain. Many parents worry that their children will rebel if they separate them from worldly things, but if the young people are allowed to associate with evil things, the battle is already lost and spiritual victory and change is impossible. Separation from evil is the wall of protection against the world and the devil.
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11).
“Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22).
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience” (Col. 3:5-6).
5. GUARD AGAINST UNWHOLESOME FRIENDSHIPS
The Bible warns that unwholesome friendships corrupt a wholesome way of life. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Cor. 15:33). It is absolutely essential that parents jealously guard their children’s companionships. Of one of the high school murderers, Dylan Klebold, the following was observed by acquaintances:
“Klebold was a follower, not a leader, who went astray after he met Harris, friends say. In Cub Scouts, he was a bright, dedicated boy who worked hard for his badges. He also got along well with his older brother. But four years ago, he met Harris. ‘Dylan was real quiet, real smart,’ said Baumgart [who knew Klebold from grade school]. ‘When Eric and Dylan got together, Eric changed Dylan’s demeanor.’ The two got their own home computers, and linked them with modems. ‘They had death matches with violent computer games, matching computer to computer,’ Baumgart said. ‘… they’d play these games for hours and hours and hours’” (The Wichita Eagle, Witchita, Kansas, Thurs., April 22, 1999, p. 8A).
That unwholesome relationship should have been cut off in its infancy.
“My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path” (Proverbs 1:10-15).
6. EDUCATE THE KIDS IN A WHOLESOME CHRISTIAN ATMOSPHERE
The Bible says parents are responsible for their children’s education. God gives children to parents, not to the state. Christian parents should not turn their children over to a godless public education system to be trained by unregenerate, humanistic-minded educators who do not believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God. Common sense would tell parents simply to look at the fruit of various educational options and to choose that which produces the best fruit. The public schools of America are producing wretched fruit, not only violence, but rampant immorality, atheism, agnosticism, relativism, evolution, unscriptural tolerance for evil, materialism, new age thought, socialism, etc. Many of the evils that plague American society at the beginning of the 21st century can be traced to the godless public school system. On the other hand, home schooling and Christian schools are not producing mass murderers and moral reprobates. Whereas out-of-wedlock pregnancies in the public school system are epidemic, they are extremely rare among those who are educated in home and Christian schools. This is not to say that all Christian schools and home schools are godly and wholesome. They are not. Again, look at the fruit. If a Christian school produces worldly young people who have worldly values and worldly ambitions it is little better than the public school system.
“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deut. 6:6,7).
“Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father” (Gal. 4:1,2).
7. BE ALERT TO WARNING SIGNS
Children are not innocent and pure, as modern educators believe. The Bible says we born with a sin nature, and firm discipline is required to drive the foolishness of sin from children. “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15). Children and young people make moral choices, and those choices are evident in their lives. “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right” (Proverbs 20:11). Parents must be alert to any warning signs that appear in their children’s lives: trouble with other children, trouble with teachers, trouble with the law, sinful outbursts, violence, hateful language, immoral activities, abrupt changes in behavior, etc.
The Columbine murderers gave many warning signals prior to the massacre. They had been arrested for breaking into an automobile. They had threatened to kill and injure people. Their parents had found out that they drank and used drugs. They ran around with weapon-carrying troublemakers. They made violent video movies and wrote violent tales. They posted violent vicious statements on the Internet. They wore Nazi symbols and praised Hitler. They exhibited fascination with death and mayhem, watching vicious movies repeatedly and playing vicious games for hours on end and listening to vicious music.
Most children and young people exhibit problems in their lives from time to time, and wise parents will not ignore these. When a warning sign occurs, it is not time to despair; it is time to act. The problem must be confronted; help must be obtained if necessary from pastors and teachers and other wise people (rather than from psychologists and humanistic teachers). Like warning lights in our automobiles, to ignore problems in our children’s lives will not solve the matter but will lead to a much more serious problem.
8. PRAY EARNESTLY THAT THE CHILDREN WILL BE BORN AGAIN
The problem with many young people in Christian homes is that they have not been born again. They know how to act like a Christian; they know the right words; they have a “testimony” of sorts; but they are unregenerate. Like those Paul described in Crete, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16).
Genuine salvation produces a change in a person’s life. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
If a young person has no personal interest in the Lord and His Word and will in his daily life, there is no biblical reason to think he or she is a born again Christian. What does the young person do with his time and money when he has the opportunity to do exactly as he or she pleases?
Paul was concerned about the Christians at Galatia that they were not yet born again. He said: “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you. I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Gal. 4:19,20).
This is what we need to do with our young people when they exhibit signs that they have not repented toward God and have not been born again by the Spirit of God. We must not be content that they have made an empty profession of faith, but we need to earnestly plead with the Lord about them until repentance is evident in their lives. We can enlist prayer support from others. We can fast and pray. We can pray without ceasing, casting ourselves and our children upon God’s great mercy.
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