08 October 2011

Weekend Extra: Sermon on the Mount in under 2 minutes

by Frank Turk

Here's that video by my beloved child which I mentioned on Friday.  It's about 95 seconds:



Notice a few things:
  1. Notice she gets the point of the Law right in one sentence -- even if she fumbled her self-scripted lines.  If someone asked most people, "what did Jesus mean by the Sermon on the Mount?" do you think they would get it this close to right?
  2. Notice she gets the primary objective of Christ's return right: to rule and the reclaim his people.
Here's what I wish: I wish that any kid in any church in America could produce this video while her Dad is working 12 hours a day.  But ask yourself: does the program at your church reinforce this kind of understanding of the Biblical narrative, or does it do something else more entertaining?

More pointedly: compare/contrast to the video Phil embedded on Friday.  I leave that to you to sort out in the comments.











43 comments:

Brian said...

But, did she get this understanding from her youth group or from her theologically sound father? Now, that's the question LOL

Pastor Pants said...

Man, more kids need to have a library like that! ;)

Frank Turk said...

FEwer kids need to have their parents own bookcases that cost as much as a whole house. #justsayin'

FloydTheBarber said...

Not sure how tongue in cheek the first comment was, but it's accurate. How many kids or teenagers come from a home where scriptural conversation is easy, thoughtful and regular?

Youth workers get these kids for maybe 3 hours a week. More churches need to teach parents that their kids' spiritual upbringing are their responsibility, not the youth workers.

You should be proud of your daughter!

Sir Aaron said...

Precious daughter. I hope for her sake the Lord doesn't tarry until 6011 AD.

Aaron said...

WOW! Who is her Children's Pastor?!

Frank Turk said...

Sycophant.

Aaron said...

I had to look that up.
Good choice.

Leksi said...

Does this little girl really has understanding of Bible? I find it a little bit manipulative...

Frank Turk said...

Oh, of course I'm willing to resort to complete and utter fraud in order to make a point on the blog. That's how you create credibility on the internet: by creating stunt videos.

I'm a liar, and Tom Chantry is a liar. And my daughter is a liar. And my wife is a liar for allowing us to shoot a video like this.

Thanks for asking.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

You get the feeling that she really means it when she says she loves this passage of Scripture! And this is the idea that keeps coming home to me: we are in the process of making disciples of our children, whether as parents or as SS teachers or youth workers or senior pastors and so on. Since we cannot physically introduce them to Jesus, we feed them the scriptures, and we show them where it is that we go to find the answers to the toughest questions, and we train them up so that they understand the gospel and so that they are able to teach it to others.

My husband and I were reminded of this when we discussed the topic of helping a grieving child and talking about death with a child in our Sunday school class. Kids may not have a firm grasp of many things at such a young age. But if (no, when) my husband and I were to both die, would our kids know A. the gospel and B. the scriptures? If there is anything I want them to cling to and to turn to in their darkest hour, it's that. Not "God is awesome" (though it be true), or "Jesus loves me" (also true but often understood in a shallow sense), but more along the lines of Romans 5:6-11(we are saved from God's wrath through the death of His Son) and 1 Corinthians 15 (Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, He was buried, He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures; the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law, but thanks be to God, He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!)

Maybe that IS just a bunch of gospel-ly words, but it's the kind of message that will save, not just salve. Words really do matter.

stratagem said...

Precious. And I can see she has her father's drive to produce gospel-centered videos, to boot!

stratagem said...

Leksi: Of course, I see you also think the name "Boanerges" means "Bunch of Windbags" too. Perhaps you are a bit too skeptical for your own good? If some kids can be master violinists by the age of ten, why can't others have a rudimentary big-picture view of what the Bible is about (that is, about Jesus and his redemption of us)?

Robert said...

She seems to have a good understanding of the Sermon on the Mount. And it is amazing that your eleven year-old (I think) daughter can understand a plain reading of the Bible, but people with many advanced degrees bungle it by trying to add to or distort it. Thank you for sharing this and also for raising your daughter up to know the Bible.

Jamie said...

Thank you Centurion for this follow up post; it seems to have gone largely unnoticed. Yet I am astounded that so many people wish to view others as largely being idiots when it comes to understanding Scripture. We see this most prevalently in the teaching material we use to teach our children (and even adults). (I think this just may have been the birth place for contextualization). In our zeal to reach the youth people group, we dumb down the Scriptural message to pabulum so they can understand (even though it is God who grants understanding, but that’s another horse); then we never demand they be weaned to a more healthy complete meal. Yet I have found most people, if left to their own, “rise” to the lowest level set before them; so unless the bar is set high most aim for mediocrity and are content when they reach it.

This may explain the vid results (testimonies) we have viewed recently as it seems pabulum in = pabulum out. But worse many applaud at this type of thing, patting themselves on the back all the while our youth cannot clearly and concisely articulate basic biblical truths; sometimes after years of youth “ministry” exposure. And rather than be ashamed they bristle when someone takes notice and actually points out that the king has no clothes.

Now I am not saying that we should not have age or mental appropriate presentations of Scripture per se but I’ll leave with this to ponder. Travis Allen over at GTY posted this http://www.gty.org/blog/B111007?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GTYBlog+%28Grace+to+You+Blog%29#.TpLwYZua9tk on Friday. Of note is the comment left by Tim Spanton which Travis comments on and reprints. It’s just under a 1000 words and well worth the time needed to read and understand it.

This gist is, we don’t need to dumb down the Scriptures but educate our people; we only need to let the Lion loose in all His resplendent glory.


Oh and is your daughter open for speaking engagements. Maybe you and her could tag team at my conference I invited you to a while back. (your manager won’t return my calls)

Tom said...

Where's the gospel?

DJP said...

Between Malachi and Mark. Your Table of Contents should list it.

Jamie said...

And yet Tom proves my point. Thx

Tom said...

Sorry, Sensei,

There's no gospel in this presentation.

That was the point that was being made in last week's video, was it not?

Alex said...

Were last week's videos also scripted or were they more "off the cuff?" I think that it would serve this conversation more to compare apples to apples (ie. let's hear some scripted recitations from HBC youth).

ANiMaL said...

One video was of a girl talking about scripture. The other video was about kids talking about experiences.

Having worked with youth, I've seen the "experiences" talks all too often with no understanding of scripture. How refreshing it is to see scriptural talks from a child.

The two videos can't be apples to apples. One video type is common, the other type is missing. I think, though I've been wrong before, that's part of Frank's point.

Robert said...

I guess to me the biggest difference in the videos is that one actually talks about the impact of a particular section of Scripture (a very important one, too) on the person speaking and the other doesn't mention Scripture. That would lead me to believe that maybe one video is talking more about experiences and the other is talking about study of the Word of God.

Jamie said...

@ Alex

I am not sure just how much “off the cuff” the vids were. I mean they certainly were not the “man on the street” type of off the cuff interviews but were conducted in an orchestrated setting. And I believe your are correct, these two do not begin to compare with each other, at least favorably.

But as Phil posted on Sat (9:08 am 10-08-11).

“No one is criticizing these kids. I think we have made that abundantly clear.

Furthermore, I fully realize these are edited testimonies, and I'm happy to grant that it's entirely possible that in their original, unabridged versions they highlighted gospel facts and exalted Christ.

If so, that's great. But even if the original testimonies might have stood on their own as graduate-level treatises on biblical soteriology, the fact remains that someone in leadership edited the video and expunged that material. And thus the point I am making stands: the message conveyed by the video is not a good example of gospel-centered, Christ-exalting ministry.”

Frank Turk said...

Tom:

What was the point this young lass was trying to make in the middle of this video?

Frank Turk said...

Alex:

Aha -- so these kids' testimonies were as they were because they didn't compose their thoughts ahead of time.

I wonder where they learned that?

Frank Turk said...

For the record, my daughter learned to use PhotoBooth to record videos watching me do my theNines bit this year, and copied my style for using a paper teleprompter to read her lines.

The project was written and recorded while I was doing my Batman impression at work.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Your last statement made me laugh out loud.

My only complaint is that she spoke so fast.

Perhaps you could transcribe it for us, Batman?

(And I think Animal makes a very discerning observation.)

Jamie said...

Frank,
I have listened to Tigger a few times now and at first I though she did a great job in spite of being nervous. However I have come to reconsider that position. In reviewing her vid I still think she did an outstanding job but I have come to the conclusion that she is in fact not nervous but cold. Truk, turn up the heat, the poor girl is sitting in the library in a sweatshirt and a balaclava. I imagine her other hand is wearing a mitten or at the very least she is sitting on it.

I have therefore begun the “Keep Tigger Warm” fund. All donations should be made at your local Church earmarked as such… they will know what to do with it.

Respectfully,
Concerned citizen(s) for Tigger

the phantom of the bookstore said...

Awww.

Touching to see Frank get all "3 John 1:4" on us.

Frank Turk said...

Tom? Alex?

Alex said...

Frank, grace and peace to you. First, thank you for your willingness to engage in this conversation. I appreciate it.

I rejoice to see your daughter's knowledge of the Scripture and her ability to articulate significant truth at such a young age. Truly the Lord has ordained praise from the mouths of babes and infants.

I also rejoice to hear the testimonies of those individuals from HBC. As I listened and re-listened to them again, their words resonated with Christ's admonition to the church in Ephesus (Rev. 2). As you know the church is commended for its intolerance of false teachers and its perseverance. But the church is sharply rebuked because of her loss of her first love.

I say all this because I am rejoicing in both videos for different reasons. In Tigger's video, I rejoice in her objective knowledge, understanding and articulation of biblical truth. That is precious and it is rare.

In the HBC video I rejoice because I hear the testimonies of young people confessing that they had lost their first love and that they were sorry and were now longing for Christ. There is an earnestness and a spirit of repentance in their testimonies that I am encouraged by. This too is precious and it is rare.

So, I come away from this conversation and from viewing both videos with a desire to see our young and myself being both firmly rooted and established in the Word (as in Tigger's video) and renouncing lukewarmth (Rev. 3) and lost First-loves by delighting in Christ (as in the HBC video).

Your thoughts/response Frank?

Merrilee Stevenson said...

(We were listening to Go Fish on Spotify tonight, this song, Super Hero came on, and the kids were laughing a lot while listening to it, but it made me think of you, Frank. I found a pretty good version on YouTube, only edited with a child's voice in places, but it works.)

For your enjoyment and edification:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvQP0rEafWQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Frank Turk said...

My thoughts:

You have abandoned your objections, and you haven't really said why. That's never a really good sign that there's any chance of actually finding agreement.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Computer w/camera? $878. Raising up a child in the way she should go? Priceless.

Rob said...

Working 12 hours a day, are you still able to make time for leading family worship daily?

Just Jules said...

She's precious, Frank. Tell her I said, "Great job! Well done!"

christianlady said...

What I note in the previous video with teens is it's all about how camp changed them. It's an advert for camp. It's a testimony session. Not that a testimony session is always bad, but there could be something more in this. I would hope, if prodded a little bit, the kids in the video could share more of the gospel. Sadly, so much of church (should I say these days?), is a focus on feelings/experiences/self. It's a common complaint. The second video does focus on scripture, on what Christ has done. It still has a "me" element in that the child is stating what she sees as important in the scriptures, but it's not ABOUT her. There is not necessarily an expectation that reading it would change her, but it's obvious that reading/studying the scripture has changed her. She has learned, she has an appreciation for Christ that can be described as a reverence for Him and what He has done.

It is important to recognize what Christ has done in our lives, and I appreciate the teens for sharing the changes that have happened in their lives. But, have the changes been made BY Christ, or were they because of group pressure? Are these changes long term? Are they heart deep and is salvation and sanctification behind it? Or is there some sense of "doing it myself" going on (works based?). I don't know. So much of Christian life can feel like we've lost our way and we have to get back to Christ, focus on Christ. So much of it feels like it's all on us. What is on us? Much of my Christian upbringing was just like these teens. Even in adulthood, it was like this. Experiences, emotion, how this or that made me a better Christian. How "putting God first" and "focusing on Him" was what it was all about. Also, there was the "everything you focus on is an idol" concept. Constant talk of how anything can be an idol. What's up with that?

christianlady said...

And with all that is said, I pray for my children. I want them to belong to Christ. I pray they have a true understanding (as much as we can by God's grace and mercy) of the sacrifice made for them on the cross. I pray they can recognize their sin for it's ugliness and horror, and turn to Christ to trust Him. I pray they will live in the freedom of knowing His forgiveness, and in the hope of His return. I pray they can have confidence because of the faith given to them by God. I pray they will be able to do as they should in their lives, sharing the gospel and taking on the daily duties with the spirit that they are serving their Lord and Savior. I pray that when they sin, they know they can repent and are forgiven. I pray they will not be slaves to their sin, and will experience freedom without confusion. I pray their faith can be something their own children can witness, and I hope it is a great influence on their families. I also pray they have a burden to teach scripture correctly and show their love for Christ in their every day. I pray humbly that somehow, I would be a good example to them despite my failings and sins. I do not want to give lip service to reading scripture and praying, I want this activity with my family to not be one of manipulation or show but to be of genuine love for Christ and a desire to teach them because of the responsibility I feel to spread the gospel, even if it only means I sit at my dining room table to read and discuss scripture with my children.
Seeing these videos juxtaposed really has reinforced my desire to make things clear to my children once again.

christianlady said...

And with all that is said, I pray for my children. I want them to belong to Christ. I pray they have a true understanding (as much as we can by God's grace and mercy) of the sacrifice made for them on the cross. I pray they can recognize their sin for it's ugliness and horror, and turn to Christ to trust Him. I pray they will live in the freedom of knowing His forgiveness, and in the hope of His return. I pray they can have confidence because of the faith given to them by God. I pray they will be able to do as they should in their lives, sharing the gospel and taking on the daily duties with the spirit that they are serving their Lord and Savior. I pray that when they sin, they know they can repent and are forgiven. I pray they will not be slaves to their sin, and will experience freedom without confusion. I pray their faith can be something their own children can witness, and I hope it is a great influence on their families. I also pray they have a burden to teach scripture correctly and show their love for Christ in their every day. I pray humbly that somehow, I would be a good example to them despite my failings and sins. I do not want to give lip service to reading scripture and praying, I want this activity with my family to not be one of manipulation or show but to be of genuine love for Christ and a desire to teach them because of the responsibility I feel to spread the gospel, even if it only means I sit at my dining room table to read and discuss scripture with my children.
Seeing these videos juxtaposed really has reinforced my desire to make things clear to my children once again.

christianlady said...

Oh no, the dreaded double post!

Robert said...

I just wanted to throw this in as food for thought. Our pastor likes to remind our congregation that it is hard to tell if the young people in church are saved until they have been tested. There are so many people walking around this country today with a false assurance of salvation and that should be a strong warning to all of us. My nine year-old son thinks he is saved, but said that he doesn't want to say for sure until he has been tested himself. I guess what I am sayign here is that we shouldn't become overprotective of our own children and the youth in our church to the end that we blindly accept that they are saved. After all, we're supposed to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

I say this as somebody who fears that I have fallen into this same trap. I was one of three people interviewing a teenager expressing why she wanted to be baptised. She expressed that she wasn't doing what God wanted her to do and that she needed to do better. I didn't know her well and one of the men interviewing was the youth pastor, so I assumed that he had spoken in much more depth with her about God's holiness, our sinfulness, and inability to save ourselves. In my mind, I had the lingering thought that this just sounded like my Catholic upbringing, but I never voiced my concern...the only reason I can come up with is fear of man. So I can at least say that the open letter and these follow-ups will at least have had one effect. I am going to contact the youth pastor at my old church and voice my concern now. So thank you, Tom, Phil, and Frank...and all the commentors as well.

wv: hatin...now why wasn't this here for the Furtick open letter?

Barbara said...

This young lady is precious. I think it goes to show simply that it is not too much to expect someone of that age to grasp the Scripture, be able to apply it, and even to enjoy it and to love the One who is the Word.

Following the previous tempest, what kept coming back to my own mind was my youth in a parsonage (preacher's kid), going to all the church camps and involved in the youth groups being taught all the same stuff I heard out of the kids in the previous video....and being so self-focused that one of the things implicit in my decision to go into a "helping profession" was so that I could get my good deeds out of the way at work and have my off-time for myself, wanting to do all the things the kids in the video said they wanted to do too, but - and here's the thing - lacking the power to do it. Why did I want to do all those things? To read the Bible, to be a better Christian, etc? It was for me. And after a divorce I determined that there was something very faulty about this religious life and maybe this relationship with Jesus wasn't dependent on reading a Bible that I couldn't really understand anyway, and those desperate prayers to know God's will for this situation or that situation - because if I went against His will then things would go badly, and if I did what He wanted me to then they would go well - this was the sum of what I had learned growing up. So at 26 I gave up on that. I'd go back to it at times but it never lasted. It was me trying to put on and understand a religion; I was not clothed in Christ.

I am amazed that around my 40th birthday, God brought me to the end of myself and saved me. From my sin, from my SELF. He saved me! With my fist shaking in His face, He took that fist down and showed me Himself and He saved me! Gave me a new heart, ripped out old desires and gave me new ones, and He gave me a hunger and thirst for His word, to be submitted to His way, to know Him in truth, terrified of what this would mean but yet knowing somehow that Jesus is just better than anything I could lose. To love Him.

And then I watched Him work in my son, who having grown up in a moralistic youth evangelical "culture" witnessed this and listened as his mother talked with him about all these things that were happening and finding all of them in Scripture, learning so much of this God whose judgment is redemptive, like in Ezekiel 36, and being blown away by these promises even as I was blown away by the fact that my testimony could be found in Scripture time and again. Ezekiel 36, Jeremiah 32, Isaiah 6 (there was a point in Ezekiel 1 when the Holy Spirit came through that "Throne room" and showed me something of who God is and revealed to me the utter blackness of my heart in that light, leaving me physically ill and agreeing with my condemnation for holding my own wisdom above that of the Word, and then holding out the cross there), Romans 3, Ephesians 2 - and what's this? Jesus died for me while I was helpless! (Romans 5) Wow - really? Yes! It was all there. There was probably no greater comfort than that fact, that Jesus didn't leave me guessing - He did what He said He would do as He came to me, weak, helpless, wretched, and instead of leaving me to die in my sin, He gave me mercy in crucifying me there and raising me to new life - that of Spirit of the Holy One of Israel indwelling, causing me to hate sin, and to love Him and His people. And I got the immense joy of watching my son follow suit.

Barbara said...

So when I hear testimonies that leave that out, I am immediately on alert. The good news is not that you are now living a more moral life and doing all the religious things! The good news is Jesus and what He has done in bringing you into His kingdom and giving you Himself so that now you live not for yourself but for Him and there is JOY in that! His Holy Spirit gives you joy!

So when I saw a video clip on youtube from a young preacher named Matt Chandler on "preaching the gospel to the de-churched" it hit home. What he said nailed me - that was me and my story. And he is right. I saw a previous commenter on the last thread mention how the kids were talking about going back to their first love - yet interestingly enough, Chandler's little clip is in the context of an exposition of a church that had lost its first love - he follows the Ephesian church from its formation in Acts to Jesus' rebuke in Revelation. (Advance 09 conference) Moralistic deism can cause you to conform to an ideal for a time, but it does not transform you into a new creature. And to hear all these arguments about why such a transformation (and its cause) is just too much to expect out of a simple testimony video, just causes me to grieve and I pray that these kids do have the life of God within them, causing them to seek not a life of external religion and morality, but simply holiness of heart and life, humbly walking with their God. I wish their video testimonies reflected that, but they don't.