16 October 2007

While you're waiting for meat (i.e. substance)... child elders!

by Dan Phillips

This.

(I do like li'l Samuel Boutwell's "I'm gonna answer this question Biblely" [at about -4:14]. Not so much 1 Timothy 3:6, though.)

Dan Phillips's signature


71 comments:

DJP said...

Hm. This is a loud silence.

Sewing said...

I'm just stunned.

stratagem said...

I should probably say something positive, so at least these two kids seem to be more on-track than some grownup pastors out there. And if they have some things wrong, they have the excuse of being young.

If there is something wrong with their speaking out, it's probably more the fault of the adults around them for allowing them to be put in this teaching position, than the fault of the kids themselves.

Sewing said...

Yes, I'm of two minds about this, too. The first gentleman's testimony—as told by the reporter—was the whole doctrine of sin and grace in a nutshell: he disobeyed his mother, convicted of his sin, and gave himself over to Christ!

Silly Old Mom said...

Not much preaching on "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, either."

Is it just me, or is this a theologically Southern thing? (Not bashing Southerners; I'm just saying I don't think we see this sort of thing in LA, or Boston, or Chicago...) There are Word Faith/charismatic/heebee jeebee churches out here in LA, but they don't seem to be as prevalent as in other, ahem, parts of the country.

I suppose if you're gullible enough to be "healed" by a grown-up, why not be healed by a pipsqueak who isn't even tall enough for the big rides at your local amusement park? Do these adults even realize how silly they look in the audience?

I wonder if Joel Osteen is looking over his shoulder at the competition.

DJP said...

s.o.m. = loaded for bear, today

(c:

Kristine said...

Ugh. I couldn't even finish watching. Does that make me weak, or...oh, whatever.

I just couldn't stomach it. My heart ("pity") goes out the children put behind the pulpit, and the adults sitting in the pews waiting to be fed the word, by them.

It all seemed very wrong. Very, very wrong.

centuri0n said...

Yeah, CA only has Robert Schuller and Mrs. Dr. Eugene Scott -- no kooks or cast-aways there, I'll tell ya.

Although I admit that the south tends to not be ashamed of the fact that it has a folk religion that wants to be taken seriously. In the Northeast, it's called "Catholicism".


... wait for it ...

lordodamanor said...

Jesus started when he was twelve? Well not exactly, doesn't it go on: "And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them." And then: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man...Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age..."

I wonder if their parents have gotten them one of these:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/religion/Story/0,,2192085,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=networkfront

SolaMeanie said...

Reminds me of that rather porcine family out in Appalachia a few years ago who had children as "street preachers." They took certain passages in Scripture to mean that you actually had to scream at people at the top of your lungs. The national networks had a field day showing clips of these tykes screaming, "Yawl go tew HAILLLLLLL!"

I sometimes wonder if these types aren't enemy plants and not genuine believers. Cynical, aren't I?

SolaMeanie said...

Okay, since we're contributing clips for a laugh today, check this out. A little bit of puffery at Joel Osteen.

Grace said...

I used to say that my four- and five-year old Cubbies in AWANA taught me more than I taught them.

This is not what I meant.

Has anyone on seen the movie Jesus Camp? I haven't, but the clips I've seen make me think it's about a similar situation.

Hayden said...

James 3:1 comes to mind! I am encouraged that these kids want to share their faith and are not afraid, unlike many adults I know, but believe they are setting themselves up against the Word on this one. The sad thing is that these kids are probably more spiritually mature than the people theya re speaking too. {sigh}

mkz said...

Mmmmm, from the mouths of babes? While I have no doubts He speaks from where He will, does the spirit that drives these youngsters (and their parents) pass the 1 John 4:1-4 muster? And even if it does, do they truly comprehend what they speak. Timothy was 'young', but seriously folks.....

SolaMeanie said...

I should clarify one comment of mine..I don't mean to really compare the kids on Dan's clip to the Appalachian kids...it just reminded me of it. I wish I could forget it.

Johnny Dialectic said...

The looming presence of the father of the first boy was spooky. He said nothing, but he is pulling the strings.

donsands said...

"...child elders!"

Man I feel for these cute kids. Bad parents to allow this unhealthy way fro these young boys to develope.
Shame on them.

A baptist and I guess a Pentecostal; I think I heard the one boy doin' a little tongues there.
What if the baptist boy has to baptize a 6 foot adult? Or perhaps he doesn't do baptisms.

Thanks Dan for sharing this. I remember when I was in a Holiness church way back, they a small boy come up front once in a while to sing and preach. His parents finally wised-up and got him out of that.

cslewis3147 said...

scary and sad...after reading up on Joel Osteen and then coming to pyro's to see this....I'm just depressed now...can we post something funny? I need a laugh now...

wordsmith said...

Shades of Marjoe?

Mike Riccardi said...

Here ya go, cs...

http://youtube.com/watch?v=9vTXUr5xr44

Randy said...

Did anyone actually see when 20/20 aired this story (on the boring old television)?

I didn't see it in this link, but the television interview included a segment with a religious studies "professor" who also is an Anglican minister (I think).

Strangely enough, the kid takes the position that "...that anyone who is not saved by Jesus Christ will go to hell -- no exceptions."

To which the professor says:

"I wish he had taken his Bible and read Matthew 7:1, where Jesus calls on his followers not to judge, lest they be judged."

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Story?id=3717627&page=1

I don't think that the kid should be preaching either, but at least he understands one thing that most people who call themselves Christians do not.

Sewing said...

Okay, here's another distraction...although it could be a bit sobering. An A-list celebrity said this a few days ago of his own beliefs, but since I don't want to gratuitously mock the actual person simply for being a celebrity, I'll excise the name. It just seemed to be a pretty good summary of the manmade gospel. May God redeem, sanctify, and bless him:

"I didn’t understand this idea of a God who says, 'You have to acknowledge me. You have to say that I’m the best, and then I’ll give you eternal happiness. If you won’t, then you don’t get it!' It seemed to be about ego. I can’t see God operating from ego, so it made no sense to me...." He added that moving away from religion was a good thing for him: "When I got untethered from the comfort of religion, it wasn’t a loss of faith for me, it was a discovery of self...."

jbuck21 said...

My main question is whether 'JuJu' is a Biblely name...

Sewing said...

Okay, the rotating masthead graphic when I just went to the main page has the Pyro logo with a sign, "DANGER / HIGH VOLTAGE / 10,000 VOLTS." Now, that's good!

Rileysowner said...

On the positive side I am glad that the blond boy wants to see people saved and is actually trying to do something. When I see little ones who trust Jesus proclaiming him to others it reminds me that I should be doing the same. I am glad that neither of them is screaming that everyone is going to hell as I also have that image burned into my brain from the same reports that were mentioned earlier.

The negatives are much worse. As stated by others this shows the utter lack of real spiritual maturity among the adults more than it shows unusual spiritual maturity in the children. It bothered me a great deal that when asked where he gets what he is preaching the first boy answered that God just gives it to him, where is the Bible in all of this? Seems like leaky Canons all around. Finally, having them take the preaching position that includes spiritual oversight and authority as an under-shepherd of the local congregation not to mention the accountability that those who preach will be called to at that age shows great foolishness by the parents and congregation.

stratagem said...

The looming presence of the father of the first boy was spooky. He said nothing, but he is pulling the strings.
and...
Man I feel for these cute kids. Bad parents to allow this unhealthy way fro these young boys to develope.
Shame on them.


Having spent some time in pentecostal churches, I want to explain something: In the pentecostal churches it's almost impossible to put down any phenomenon or initiative, as long as someone is willing to stand up and claim that it is a move of God. This used to drive some people nuts, because the craziest things were always the things that were encouraged. To speak out against them as being foolishness was to make oneself counter-culture. So, quite likely the Dad looming there isn't the one who's pulling the strings, he may even be uncomfortable with what his son is doing, but feel powerless to do anything about it.

I love the people in the charismatic churches; honestly they are some of the lovieliest and least skeptical people I've ever known. But I eventually left that movement because the churches didn't exercise enough discernment about such things. I could easily see a child deciding that they are going to be a preacher, and no one being willing to oppose it and risk quenching the Spirit.

Just offering a different perspective.

LeeC said...

The accountablility of the adult elders and parents who allowed this is staggering.

So sad.

DJP said...

You're articulating my very thought. I've heard the very same rationale for women "pastors": if the Holy Spirit calls them and gifts them, who can say no?

Even So... said...

I can say no, DJP...the Holy Spirit told me to say so...

DJP said...

I want to tell Charismatics, "God told me not to listen to anything except what He says in the Bible."

Amy said...

Isaiah 3:12 springs to mind... God's people are being led by women and children. Not good.

Sewing said...

Charismatic theology (?) is kind of the converse of liberal theology: the one adds to Scripture; the other subtracts from it.

DJP said...

But neither really finds it sufficient.

donsands said...

"In the pentecostal churches it's almost impossible to put down any phenomenon or initiative, as long as someone is willing to stand up and claim that it is a move of God. "

True. And must be true for some Baptist churches as well.

Sewing said...

DJP: Yup.

chris said...

I don't know what the hubbub is about. I checked with my Elder board after their T-ball game (they won, by the way, further proof that God is with them in all things), and they said it was perfectly fine.

/sarcasm

Chris said...

Somewhere out there, a mormon 'returned missionary' is remembering those taunts about elders not being old enough to shave, and he is laughing about this, at our expense.

Marie4thtimemom said...

Ditto what Kristine said. This is so sick I couldn't even finish watching it.

dec said...

I grew up knowing an outgoing and well-spoken kid who spoke elegantly to thousands (about pre-teen ministries) at an international conference. He wasn't allowed to preach but everyone thought he'd grow up to be a great preacher. Last I talked to him (30 years ago), he was into moral relativism and totally burned-out on religion.

stratagem said...

I want to tell Charismatics, "God told me not to listen to anything except what He says in the Bible."

Haw! Wow, if I had thought of that line when I was in the charismatic churches, I'd have had it made!!

Anecdote: I used to be on this pentecostal church finance committee. It's amazing how many lame-o ministries that church ended up giving to, because someone on the committee would say "God told me we are supposed to give to such and such ministry." You couldn't say "prove it" or "no he didn't tell you that!" This is a true story.

DJP said...

I totally believe you.

It's the ultimate trump-card.

stratagem said...

Thanks for the trump-card link. I'm not going to go so far as to say that God never tells anyone a message just for them (unless it contradicts Scripture), but I will go so far as to say that most of what people say God told them, He never did tell them. Most of these claims are bogus, from what I've seen - and the more they draw attention to the person claiming them, the more bogus they are likely to be.

S. Todd Young said...

Don't you think the fact that "church" in the South is more cultural than committed response to Creator plays a part in these Bibley trained child elders? I'm from the South, and there are so many things that go on in churches out of sheer ignorance! "We sing three hymns and have two different times of special music every Sunday! Why, because we've always done it like that!"

777law said...

Clearly, the boys would not be doing what they are doing if they were being properly raised in the faith and discipled in sound doctrine. It is going to be interesting to see where they are in 10-20 years.

There is something called sin that bad doctrine is not very efficient in dealing with. Don't get me wrong, I wish these boys well. However, bad doctrine a pastor, elder, or deacon does not produce.

Johnny Dialectic said...

"When Marjoe was three, his father, a second generation evangelical minister, noticed his son's talent for mimicry and overall fearlessness of strangers and public settings. His parents claimed Marjoe had received a vision from God during a bath and began training him to deliver sermons, complete with dramatic gestures and emphatic lunges. By the time Marjoe was four, his parents arranged for him to perform a marriage ceremony for a film crew from Paramount studios, referring to him as "the youngest ordained minister in history." Like much in Marjoe's early life it is hard to say for sure who exactly ordained him, if his father ordained him, or if he was even ordained at all." (Wikipedia)

777law said...

I once went to a church down south when I was seeking for a friendly church. One in particular stands out in my memory because I did not fit in. I did not have a white garmemt and a huge feather fan.

Y'all come back now.

Fred Butler said...

Bibely speaking, it certainly gives a whole new meaning to "not a no vice."

Mike Riccardi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Riccardi said...

I have a quote from Spurgeon that seems fitting, and will probably address matters beyond the scope of this post as well... probably well into sappyness and wishywashy-ness that we have so much of today.

I wonder what these youngsters think about the doctrines of grace, sin in the believer's life (simil iustus et peccatur) and philosophy of ministry.

We have occasionally had applications at which, perhaps, you would be amazed, from men who are evidently fluent enough, and who answer all our questions very well, except those upon their doctinal views, to which repeatedly we have had this answer: "Mr. So-and-so is prepared to receive the doctrines of the College whatever they may be!" In all such cases we never deliberate a moment; the instantaneous negative is given.

I mention it, because it illustrates our conviction that men are not called to the ministry who have no knowledge and no definite belief. When young fellows say that they have not made up their minds upon theology, they ought to go back to the Sunday-school until they have.

For a man to come shuffling into a College, pretending that he holds his mind open to any form of truth, and that he is eminently receptive, but has not settled in his mind such things as whether God has an election of grace, or whether he loves his people to the end, seems to me to be a perfect monstrosity.

'Not a novice,' says the apostle; yet a man who has not made up his mind on such points as these, is confessedly and egregiously 'a novice,' and ought to be relegated tot he catechism-class till he has learned the first truths of the gospel." -- Lectures to My Students, p. 39

The Doulos said...

This raises the possibility of some interesting dilemmas. Like if the kid preacher tells his mom a lie, and his mom is in his church. So who's got authority over who?

Funny - but not.

Robert M. Warren said...

Silly Old Mom:

You apparently don't remember (as Wordsmith does) Marjoe Gortner (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjoe_Gortner).

Why...he's from...Long Beach, California! My my, they do have those out there after all, don't they?

Can we please get off the Southern thing? It is becoming extremely old hat.

Lane Chaplin said...

/me shakes his head, again.

S. Todd Young said...

I apologize for making a "Southern" remark; I was simply reminded of the cultural aspect of church this weekend while vising in "the South."

Ben said...

As a Bible college student this just amazes me. I've just turned 20 and I am terrified to get behind the pulpit because I realize how little I know. To think a 7 year old or 9 year has enough knowledge in hermeneutics to properly interpret Scripture...wish I had that gift (sarcasm)
As a southerner, the attitude of being "called" to preach is normal terminology here. Especially in baptist circles, which I am a baptist who was "called" when i was 12. I have no idea why they let me get up in a Sunday evening service to deliver a message. Let's just say 2 years after that we found another church. Many are built more upon traditions than the Word of God. Not like catholic traditions but "that's how our grandparent's did it" traditions. It seems many think preaching the Gospel is the same as getting behind the pulpit. But they ignore that Jesus commanded all to preach the Gospel.
And Biblely speaking I believe they aren't even at the point where they should be teachers and have need that someone should teach them the first principles of God. (Hebrews 5:12)

Silly Old Mom said...

Robert M. Warren--

From the Wikipedia article you listed (thanks for the link, btw):
"The resulting film, Marjoe, won the 1972 Academy Award for best documentary."

I was born in 1973. I'd never heard of the guy 'til I saw his name here in the meta.

Cent--
I'd heard of Gene Scott, but I didn't know that his wife had "assumed the mantle," as it were. Nor did I know that his stomping grounds were practically a stone's throw from where I live.

You got me on Schuller, though. I'd forgotten all about him. Living in the shadow of Grace Community Church will do that to you. ;-D

And Robert, let me reiterate what I said in my first comment: I'm not trying to bash Southerners, but there does seem to be a regional aspect to this phenomenon of child preachers. Most of the bad theology and practice I see in the churches out here in my neck of the woods (L.A.) is of the Rick Warren variety. Still bad, just differently bad.

What I really had in mind were those hole-in-the-wall churches I drive past on occasion with really long names like "Ark of the Covenant Missionary Holiness Church -- Jesus Saves!" I know we have them out here, but they're not dime-a-dozen like all the churches that swallowed and followed The Purpose Driven Church in the early '90s.

And somebody tell Phil we need a Pyromaniacs logo with the phrase "Speaking Biblely." That one's a keeper.

DJP said...

Yes, one could wish that pastors older than this lad would make more effort to "answer Biblely."

Johnny Dialectic said...

"All your Biblely are belong to us."

Mark B. Hanson said...

I am old enough to remember seeing Marjoe Gortner's "deconversion tour" on a couple of the talk shows, during the time of the film's release. His comments there further convinced me that religion was a sham - he was clearly led by his parents into his "calling" as a preacher. It was all a learned response. And at the time, I chalked up all religious belief the same way (it took a couple more years for God to overcome that).

I wish these boys well (and weep over their congregations), but wait to see whether their "call" survives puberty.

BTW, it was Marjoe's "followers" (read: groupies) as well as his parents' profit motive that ultimately convinced him that what he was doing was phony.

SolaMeanie said...

I come from a very deep Southern heritage, so I reserve the right to mock myself roundly whenever I feel like it. Now if other Southern linked people get ruffled . . . well . . . .

Libbie said...

Bibley is a winner here, too. Liking that a lot.

Eden has preached to her sisters and teddies before now, in the back garden at the top of her voice, but she's yet to be encouraged to take the pulpit at church. And it ain't because she's female...

northWord said...

Will Pyro be making a new shlew of Bibley posters then? Maybe with a poster preacherman-child and his terrier "Giddyup"..
.. I didn't think so.

wow....sad indeed.
The thing that strikes me immediately is both those kids seem to "get it" for now, (the best way a kid could I guess) but I shudder to think of the imminent downgrade resulting from what amounts to spiritual abuse.
Whennnn are we gonna let kids just be kids?

Lee Shelton said...

He who spares the rod may hate his son, but it just might open a door into full-time ministry.

Lin said...

"Is it just me, or is this a theologically Southern thing?"

This is Southern CITY stuff. You should get a load of our snake handlers down in the holler. :o)

Sewing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sewing said...

Well, if Yankees and Californians find Southerners amusing, think what Canadians think of them (i.e., Yanks who stayed loyal to the Crown!). I get a kick these days out of defending Southerners when the topic comes up in conversation (not so much with folks in my church, but other folks sometimes).

REM said...

Is womb preaching next? Good grief.

But he could better relate to paedobaptist candidates...

DJP said...

Federal Vision guys might go for it.

Agatha "chotch-key" Lennon said...

The question at the end of the clip, "how young is too young" or something, really got me. When Paul tells Timothy not to let people look down upon his youth, I think that pretty much affirms the quality of his preaching. In other words, It's not so much the age but the Spiritual maturity.
There is NO WAY these kids are spiritually mature enough to lead a church full of Grown people. Not my Church! u-Uh!
If they are more spiritually mature then the congragation, than lets take a look at this church, first of all, And then, What are the chances of that, second of all? I mean, the kid said "Bible-y" for crying out loud( and yes, that Was the Peak funny-funny of my day, Thankyou)!
I would like to see the little second grader go to seminary. I'd even whatch a movie about it. He goes into class and has to learn Greek and Hebrew and sit there and type on his on leapster-laptop. so cute! I wonder, though, Is he THAT committed?
~~AL

Danger Chris said...

We've actually done away with our nursery. My church ordains you as a deacon at birth. It allows everyone to be in the service.

Several of our middle schoolers have started church plants. They're meeting at the Chuck E Cheese on Sundays. Man, can they exegete. Baptism in the ball pit? Don't mind if I do.

We feel like they can best reach they're own culture this way. They've re-worked a few Hannah Montana tunes into praise songs.

"Nobody's perfect, you've got to repent"

I can't speak for you, but it's a sweet sweet sound in my ears. For those of you concerned about theeir transportation. Don't be! We've gotten special CDL licenses for 15 passenger "Big Wheels".

-Danger Chris

DJP said...

AgathaHe goes into class and has to learn Greek and Hebrew and sit there and type on his on leapster-laptop. so cute! I wonder, though, Is he THAT committed?

Oh boy, don't get me started on how many ADULT pastors have or have not shown that kind of commitment.

Chris — funny.

(Er... you were joking, right?)

Mark B. Hanson said...

By the way, Agatha - in those churches I doubt whether any emphasis is placed on the original languages. After all, "If the King James was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for us!"

Besides, formal education takes time away from evangelism, and may get you learned above your raisin'.