Comments on “A Weed in the Church” on Amazon

Here are two unsolicited book review comments on the Amazon site for A Weed in the Church. I do not know either of the people who posted reviews:

"This book was an eye opener for me. I belong to a strong Bible Church and have never given much thought to the idea that dividing everyone into separate age groups is not Biblical. I teach Sunday School and help with a youth group, but will be rethinking how our church could be serving our children better by starting at the root of some of our problems. There is no substitute that even comes close to the strength of fathers teaching their own children."

–   B. W.

"Church youth ministries are failing to reach children and teens at an unprecedented rate. Depending on what survey you look at, these ministries have a failure rate of somewhere between 70 and 88 percent. We are losing 7 to 9 out of every 10 kids to the world. This is a time of emergency. People are wondering what is wrong with the youth. Scott Brown has answers – biblical ones.

Scott Brown opens a proverbial can of worms and boldly challenges the system of age-segregation that is firmly rooted within our churches. Where did it come from? When did it start? What is the fruit? Does it hinder God’s methods? And most importantly: What does God’s Word say about the discipleship of the next generation?

Scott Brown deals biblically with the weed of age-segregation. He documents the invention of Sunday schools in the 19th century and the later invention of youth ministries in the 20th century. He shows how these ministries are borrowed from the public school system, which in turn come from the ideas of God-hating men like Charles Darwin, G. Stanley Hall and John Dewey. He shows how many pastors in the 19th century rejected Sunday schools because they feared that they would replace family discipleship. Oh how prophetic they were.

The era of segregating children by age from the rest of the body of Christ is the anomaly from the previous 1800 years of church history. Scott Brown shows how the division of the body of Christ by age is nowhere to be found in Scripture; rather, the opposite is true. Children were not only present in the meetings of Israel and the early church, oftentimes God specifically commanded their presence with the adults. One body, one church – together: Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female,young and old, children and parents. The pattern is not: one congregation of adults, another congregation of high-school students, another congregation of junior high kids and yet even more congregations of children. Instead, the pattern in Scripture is one of age-integration, not age-segregation. How else are the older women to teach the younger women, and the older men the younger men? This is God’s discipleship model. Does not the gospel break down ALL barriers including age?

As a children’s ministry pastor, God has been working in me for the last few years regarding this issue. I am so glad that Scott Brown wrote this book. I am convinced that the current age-segregated approach is the root of our problem. It not only doesn’t work – but it is completely unbiblical. God gives the sole responsibility of the discipleship of children to parents, particularly fathers (what about those with unsaved parents you ask? – Scott Brown has an answer). By experience, I know that our programs are a security blanket for disobedient and rebellious parents, especially fathers, who are too lazy to disciple their children and are content to abdicate their job to the church. And we are far too happy to oblige them. But this is not God’s way. So why should we be surprised that we are not getting God’s results?

I am not surprised by the survey results. My own experience in youth group mirrored those numbers. My current church’s results may be even worse. Now in my thirties with two children of my own, I started asking questions such as: Why is the family split up at the door during the most important 90 minutes of the week? What is the biblical basis for these ministries? Where did they come from? Why am I called a legalist because I want my family together on the Lord’s Day? Scott Brown has biblical answers. He biblically dismantles our current approach and also offers biblical solutions based on God’s plan of discipleship.

I would encourage every pastor, parent and church member to read this book. But be warned: prepare for persecution if you dare to ask questions about our current man-made approach to youth discipleship. I’ve experienced this personally (never by a person with an open Bible, however). You will be shocked and even saddened. But don’t lose heart. There is hope.

So read this only if you are truly concerned about parents and the next generation. In the words of one pastor: If you try to implement the methods in this book, be prepared: "Your church will kill you and the pastor will fire your dead body." Are you willing to risk it?

We are in a time of Reformation. God is at work turning the hearts of children to their parents and parents to their children. The fruit of the homeschool movement (the way it used to be) is there. The fruit of the family-integrated church movement (the way it used to be) is there. Parents are increasingly taking responsibility for the discipleship of their children and many are even taking the next step of educating their children at home. Their kids are not falling away. Their teens are not rebellious. The older and younger are together and there is peace and harmony between the church and the family and all ages, genders and races. The household is a launching pad for hospitality and evangelism.

Pastors and parents: Are you willing to watch our kids continue to fall away while defending the same failing man-made methods? Or are you willing to ask hard questions, throw away traditions, disciple kids God’s way and take a stand (no matter the cost or persecution) for the sake of God’s glory and the next generation?"

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