paedomorph pae·do·morph or pe·do·morph (pē’də-môrf’)
An organism that retains juvenile characteristics in the adult form. 1
I understand the need for a controlled environment for young children. My wife and I have chosen to not place our 5 year old in public school due to this. But as my son (and his younger brothers) get older, they should also mature in their understanding of God and His Word. There comes a time, by adulthood, where they are able to stand in an “uncontrolled” environment called the world. The problem with many Christian parents is that they are not capable of standing in a hostile environment and are unable to teach their children to do so. They shelter their children to the point that the child, when the age of an adult, still must be sheltered or else his faith will be lost. The fear of examination bringing insurmountable doubts is too overwhelming and the child goes from one controlled environment to another. From elementary school, to middle school, high school, and then college. These children, sheltered their whole life from seeing how Christianity looks in the real world, are told that the Christian way is to only have Christian friends, and go through life with your ears closed (so you don’t hear the bad music in stores) and eyes closed (so you don’t see someone dressed immodestly, or with funky color hair). By the time these children should be adults they are still being pampered. The parents pay the dean of the college to be the baby-sitter, and will hold the college responsible if their child goes astray during the semester. Due to this, once again, the adult-aged child doesn’t grow and only becomes more dependent upon surrounding himself with those who agree with him lest he be challenged and fall.
This isn’t just with college students, though,; the average Joe Christian in America does as well. Joe forgets that Jesus was a friend of sinners, that Jesus ate with publicans and sinners. Joe so wants to create his controlled environment where he is comfortable and unchallenged. It seems Joe’s faith isn’t really in Christ, but in the amount of people agreeing with him. Joe’s strength is in numbers. Joe won’t dialogue with another view point, for Joe is unable to defend his own. Joe just labels anyone who does a “compromiser” to hide his failure (yep, name calling). Joe never grows in his faith for he has shielded himself from any real challenges. Joe’s diet consists of milk when he should be eating steak, but Joe has an aversion to meat as he is too afraid of choking. Joe refuses to be weaned off the milk.
Not only does this keep Joe weak, but this lack of substantive contact with those of opposing views keeps Joe from really being salt and light. Joe doesn’t spend time with lost people because he doesn’t want to hear their crass jokes, or their lewd conversation. Joe didn’t want to have to explain why he did the things he did. To avoid contact is to avoid confrontation.
Yet, Joe knows that he must have some sort of contact to evangelize so he invites the lost man to church with him. He thinks it’s perfectly fine to invite the lost man who he will spend no time with, to church. He fails to see the inconsistency in it. Joe, the one who will not spend time with the lost man, expect the lost man to give up 2 hours of his day to go spend time with a bunch of Christians. The problem is we are told to go out and make disciples, not try to lure them into the church building. The principle is iron sharpens iron, and for this to happen there must be contact.
It doesn’t just affect Joe’s spiritual growth, and the lost man – oh no! – this affects the fellow believers as well. It bleeds into is how Joe responds to other Christians who sin. Not knowing how to deal with sin, Joe decided to excommunicate the offending brother/sister, unless they confess and repent on the spot. Not wishing to deal with messy situations, he writes the offending brother/sister off and talks with his support group about how he can’t believe the fallen sibling could have fallen into such wicked unbelief, sometimes blaming it on having a friend outside the circle.
In summary, this “controlled environment” is dangerously unbiblical. I agree, controlled environments are wise and necessary for a 5 year old… not an adult. We are Christians, not paedomorphs.
1. The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary
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