I just finished reading Douglas Wilson’s new book, A Primer on Worship and Reformation: Recovering the High Church Puritan. It is an excellent little book touching on some of the many errors of the Church today. He seeks to promote a Christianity that is not confined by the bounds of modernity or postmodernity but that seeks to be fully inline with scripture. While the book does a good job in showing the flaws of Christian retailing, rampant individualism, petty worship, weak preaching, lack of psalm singing and other problems I especially appreciated an illustration he gives concerning the “future” of worship:
A young child comes to his father and says that he wants to believe in Jesus. The father, trained in the tenets of pietism, does not believe that this could possibly be sincere or genuine. In a Baptist home, the child is kept away from baptism, and in a Presbyterian home, he is kept away from the Lord’s Table. But he is young and pliable. He knows that he does not know a lot – he trusts his father on this, and more’s the pity. The father says in effect, by keeping him at arm’s length from any covenant blessings, that his profession of faith and trust is more worthy of doubt than credence, and this is the first (twisted) covenantal lesson the child learns. Christian parents are commanded to teach their children to believe, and instead, in the name of high conversion standards, we teach them to doubt. Then, when they grow up and mature in the doubting that we have taught them, we point to that doubt as clear evidence that we did the right thing in keeping them away in the first place. (p. 73)
He goes on to get fully to the heart of the issue when he says that, “The (covenantal) death of the child is then, in all seriousness, treated, after the fact, as a good reason for not having fed him.” I think he is making an excellent point which seems to be most in keeping with the plain teaching of scripture. We seem to forget that Jesus in Matthew 19:14 says, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” What else could this text mean that would contradict what Wilson is saying?
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Agree with the point made, Joe! The quote from the book is all too common.