It is amazing in this day and age to see what a knowledge gap there is in spite of all the better methods of obtaining knowledge.
The old method of transmitting knowledge by word of mouth has not been replaced, nor ever will it be. But that power has been multiplied today a hundred fold. By means of the phone, the radio, and television the area in which knowledge can be dispensed by word of mouth has been increased more than a hundred fold. More swiftly today news goes out from the scene of the event; but also to a far wider area of this globe does the knowledge of events issue forth with that speed.
Our mail service, bogged down and poor though it may be in comparison with more recent years, still is swift and widespread in spreading the written word in comparison with what was the case in the days of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What with airmail and special delivery today, the whole world can quite quickly be contacted to make known what is desired.
Then, too, consider how much easier it is to impart knowledge today and to receive it. The ballpoint pen is certainly a long step of progress over the old quill for-a pen, dipped into ink of an uncertain consistency. The typewriter makes a far more legible copy to read than the hand scrawl of most of us. Add to this the amazing means for duplicating copy and of supplying all with a legible document to have in possession and for ready reference. In the matter of seconds a clear copy of anything can be produced by photo static process. And there can be no doubt about it that seeing while hearing makes a far stronger impression upon the mind than hearing alone. That is also why the “now generation” finds television such a power and desirable object. We are too lazy so often to try to visualize; and to read a book is too hard. It is easier to let someone do the talking and act it out for us. But it is also true besides this, that we do experience the fact more fully when it is seen as well as heard. Who is satisfied just to hear of some beauty spot in our country or elsewhere? We want to go and see it. We want firsthand knowledge. We want that beauty to enter our souls through our eyes and directly so, not from a picture or by word description.
Added to all this is the amazing electronic wonder of the tape recorder, which serves so wonderfully in imparting knowledge and of reproducing with such fidelity the words that have been stated. Add also to this all the books and magazines that flood the market, cheap paper backs and superbly bound volumes that will endure the wear of years of use.
But can we say that the “now generation” and the generation that has brought forth this “now generation” and these amazing means of dispensing knowledge and instruction, really has so much more knowledge and understanding? Indeed, time marches on, and every generation has new historical facts to learn about, and to a degree remember.
But does the generation of our children, and do we who have brought them forth really know anything more about life? Do we have any better solution to our problems than our forefathers? Is there any less poverty, social inequality among men? Are we really—just forget all the wishful thinking and propaganda—one step closer to the peace for which all men cry today? We are willing to try the hippie, yippee approach of shouting and of displaying cards that cry: “LOVE.” But does man, and I am talking about the natural man who will not seek his knowledge from the Word of the cross, have any solution to our problems? The social gospel will fail. The social gospel has failed. Open your eyes and remove the cotton from your ears. The same men who were proponents of “the social gospel” in the past cry now that the church and the preaching of the Word are not relevant. Take a hard look at the freedom marches and protest demonstrations of those who do this in the name of Christianity and even of Calvinism. Is there EVER in these a word about the CROSS and of the Christ of the cross? Indeed, there is the “Christ” of the sermon Ion the mount. The Christ of “love.” But when Scripture so plainly reveals that the love of God finds its most glorious manifestation in that God gave His Son to that cross, should this not be the very center and basis for any truly social gospel and for the solution of all of our problems?
Consider, too, that when this essential truth of the Christian religion is sidetracked, and so denied, then all these wonderful means of ball-point pens, typewriters, radio, television, books and magazines and the like are going to further the cause of the lie rather than of knowledge which God gives in His Word.
And does this explain the present knowledge gap that there is in the church world? Go to your local library and see once how many books there are there on religious subjects compared with the writings of unbelievers about all kinds of subjects. Now go to the library of a Seminary or to what is called a Christian book store where there are shelves upon shelves of books written on subjects pertaining to the knowledge which God gives in His Word. Now, in spite of your doctrinal persuasion, whether you be Reformed, Baptists, Methodist, Presbyterian—and certainly if you be what is called undenominational with “no creed but Christ”—how many of those hundreds and thousands of books on those shelves do you believe actually impart truth, and how many propagate and preserve the lie? Indeed, there are books, and there are marvelous means of preserving men’s ideas and writings and of supplying us with copies. But so often what is preserved and propagated is just exactly that: man’s ideas and man’s writings. And what knowledge is given to the new generation is not the word of the cross but the word of fallen, sinful man who knows not the power of that cross.
Why, we ask, in the midst of all these wonderful means of imparting knowledge and of giving instruction in the mysteries of the Kingdom of God is there such a knowledge gap in our children, and even in our own generation in comparison with that of our forefathers? You find today not only that men do not want to “talk religion”; and on Monday there is no exchange of thought between laborers from different churches about what dainty meat and drink they received the day before in God’s house. There is no eager sharing with the member of another church the richness of the truth that was proclaimed the day before, and no thankful sharing with each other the heart and kernel of the truth in the sermon. O, no! A few laughs about last night’s television program or movie will have to be repeated amongst the workers. But to talk about what was preached yesterday! It was enough to be there, was it not? Do we have to go BACK to it on Monday! We began to say, not only do you find that situation, but you find that people know so little about the Word of God. It reminds us of an incident that happened some thirty years ago when we were in the home of a member of the congregation after the service. His knowledge of Scripture was very meager. And he could sum up the whole section of Old Testament history from the time of the flood to the days of David by saying, “Jacob and those men.” Jacob he knew, and after all that is a modern name. But he was hard put to mention any more individuals in that whole period of history.
And our children today? In spite of all these means which we have to impart knowledge to them with attractive books of instruction and the like, it is disheartening to find how little they know about the Scriptures and about the doctrine of their own churches. What must it be like in these churches that give no special instruction to their youth? The creeds of their churches the youth of today do not know, as a rule. They are not trained and drilled in them. No, these creeds have to go, because they stand in the way of mergers for the sake of numerical strength and financial power. Doctrinal purity is despised rather than coveted. Men are tolerated who depart from the confessional standards. And some may wring their hands and decry the whole business. But nothing is done, even though we have all these means to write and expose the lie as well as means to set forth and to hold before the eyes of the serious and concerned what is the truth.
But listen to what that Word of God has to say about the matter. In Hosea 4:6 we read, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” Let that be a solemn warning to us, all of us. If we do not provide for and insist on our children learning the Word of God, first of all, and learning it in detail and well, and also of learning the doctrinal truths for which our churches stand, we too will be destroyed and depart into apostasy, until our candlestick is removed! God is never mocked. This knowledge gap that is becoming wider, this emphasis upon worldly, material knowledge that crowds out and leaves no room for instruction in the Word of God and its truths, will in time reveal the gap between the true and the false church, between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. Let us double our efforts, for you may be sure that Satan and his kingdom is doubling and trebling its efforts to destroy and delude.
These lines are not to be misconstrued as a reflection upon the youth of our own churches as though they were so grossly ignorant. The opposite is true. In humble thanks to our covenant God we want to acknowledge the fact that our youth are well trained in the truths of Scripture and of the confessions. If this is not true in a locality, then it is a reflection not upon them, but upon us the parents and office bearers in the church. Our duty it is to hand down knowledge and to insist upon it that our children not only be taught but also themselves learn the truth and apply themselves diligently and faithfully to what is provided for their knowledge and spiritual training. There will be a knowledge gap, if we as parents and officebearers in the church do not hand down the truth to the generations that follow us.
If we want a knowledge gap between us and the generations of our children, then we had better let them avoid the truth and its instruction as often and as much as they desire it. But if we want to be faithful to God, and if we do not want to see His church destroyed, we had better get busy with disciplining the false teacher in our midst, that is, the propagandist of the knowledge of the lie, and we had better provide from the cradle and kindergarten through high school at least for their increase in the knowledge of what God says in His Word about life, this earth and all that which it contains, their calling before Him in this world, and, by all means, the salvation which we have in Christ.
Without knowledge there is going to be no wisdom. Without knowledge there is going to be no faith. Without knowledge there is going to be no walking in His fear. Without knowledge, God says Himself, we will be destroyed. And how awful, if we and our children are not priests of God! Then we are priests of the devil and will dedicate ourselves and all that which we have to our flesh and to a life of sin. Then we will also be destroyed in the torment of hell. How awful, if God will forget our children! John says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” There can be no more awful woe than to see that our children walk in the lie. Let us share with our children the knowledge and possession of the truth which is ours. Let there be no knowledge gap in our midst, but instead let us hand down to our children what we know, that by God’s grace they may develop in that truth further than we have. For the coming days will need that.