Children’s Church and the Word of God
I know that this is a broad title. We will narrow our focus to particular concerns with “children’s church”. But before we do we must note that one finds no direct reference to “children’s church” in God’s word the Bible (II Timothy 3:16). Just like there is no direct reference to “Sunday School” or “Bible School” and yet they are conducted as an expediency to carry out what God has directed that He wants done. God wants those in Christ to be taught and to teach (Matthew 28:20 Acts 2:42 Acts 20:7-9 Hebrews 5:11, 12). It is in the manner in which “children’s church” is carried out that we will look at in scripture. So when we reference “children’s church” we are talking about the practice of removing children from a worship assembly of the body of Christ to teach them outside of that worship assembly.
Here in lies the issue or problem that we will address. In this practice you have a saint leave off either all or part of God commanded worship with the body of Christ to teach children about worship. When one “leaves off or behind” all or part of worship they have “forsaken” the directive to “provoke one another to love and good works” in that assembly for worship. The inspired of God Hebrew writer says that one should not “forsake” (leave off or behind) the assembling of the body of Christ where one is carrying out God’s command to “consider one another to provoke unto love and good works”. When a child of God leaves the worship assembly to conduct “children’s church” they can not carry out God’s directive concerning worship. Some may say we are only leaving off part of worship and also we are doing a good work. The question still remains where in God’s word do we have the authority (the authorization) to do so? What part does God authorize to be left off? Some would suggest we could leave after the Lord’s supper and leave off the learning from the preaching. But again where is there authorization from God to do so? In both Acts 2:42 and Acts 20:7-9 God demonstrated that He wants the word of Christ, the apostles teaching to be heard by teaching in the assembling of the body of Christ. By forsaking the assembly at any point by our own willful actions and not by God’s command we find ourselves sinning willfully. Notice in Hebrews 10 that verses 26-31 reminds us of the great consequences of “willfully” sinning. When one chooses to “forsake” (leave off or behind) the assembly by not assembling for all or part they have not followed God’s command (law or directive) and therefore have willfully sinned (I John 3:4). Also since there is no authorization from God to forsake any part of the worship assembly and only man’s notion (Matthew 15:7-9) to do so, then any part could be left off. That is the logical conclusion from willfully forsaking part of the worship assembly. No one would suggest that they can willfully forsake the assembly when it came to the Lord’s supper or singing and still be pleasing to God would they?
As for the second part, that the willful leaving of the worship assembly to do a good thing means it is ok for it to be practiced. Does scripture (God’s word) teach us we can willfully disregard what God said to do to do something we see as a good thing to do? I direct your attention to I Samuel chapter 15. Here King Saul is told to hearken unto the “voice of the words of Jehovah” in I Samuel 15:1. Then he (Saul) is given directives by God through Samuel to utterly destroy the Amelekites (vs.3). Then in verse 9 we learn that King Saul did not follow all the words of God in what God told Him to do. In verse 9 notice it says “But Saul and the people…” did only part of what God commanded them to do. They chose to do something that they thought would be good toward God. Look in verse 13 where Saul declares that doing only part of what God commanded him to do in order to do what he thought was a good thing toward God meant that he did what God commanded him. He was soon to discover from Samuel (vs.16) that God said it was not. God said it was “evil” in His sight (vs.19). In verse 22 we learn that God says it is better to obey His voice than to go against it in an effort to do what one may think to be good.
In verse 23 God calls what Saul did rebellion like the sin of witchcraft. God has commanded us to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24) and that means in accordance with His word (John 17:17). Teaching children the truth about worship or anything else should not have a child of God willfully disregard God’s command to assemble to worship, whether by forsaking all or any part of the assembly to worship Him.
It may seem that we have not addressed the aspect of separating children from the worship assembly but in light of what we have looked at in scripture we have. For how can it be done without having a redeemed child of God forsake the assembling for worship to teach them? It can’t! Therefore we have addressed the separating of children from worship. “If” it is thought that children need to learn about worship apart from what they learn from their parents and other saints in the worship assembly it can be done at another time period. Because in doing so we do not violate any one of God’s commands given to the body of Christ.