Truth is Truth

"You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me." - Psalm 40:11 This is a sometimes monthly column concerning the truth of Christ Jesus and the issues that face our world as published in various newspapers and journals by Pastor Dave Seaford. You can return to the home page of the church by going to:

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Location: Redway, California, United States

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Peter Pan Theology

What can we learn from Peter Pan?

Peter Pan is a fictional character who is known as being the boy that never wanted to grow up. The adult characters surrounding Peter Pan, seem to me to all be extreme in one way or another and certainly in every way buffoons and in many ways more childlike in their character than Peter Pan and the children associated with him. These children all agreed that growing up was not an exciting or appetizing thought to them.

The Church and the individuals that make up its body could learn a lot from this fictional account that points us to some of the most powerful and deadly realities facing Christian homes and the children in them.

Last month we experienced what I pray is the beginning of a great revival among the Youth of Cortez. Faith Bible Church hosted Clayton King Ministries from North Carolina. Many churches in Cortez promoted and reaped a harvest from the events surrounding this outreach. God moved powerfully while they were here and 92 young people made decisions. 86 of these youth professed that they were making first time decisions to make Jesus Christ Lord and Savior of their lives! Others recommitted their lives to Christ and at least one made a decision to give his life to full time Christian service.

As I talked personally with many of these young people, they relayed to me a sort of reflection of the quandary facing the children in the Peter Pan story. Many that were from Christian homes had till then seen nothing in their churches that they desired to grow up to be. The message could not be missed. These youth longed to see their parents and the adults in the churches truly SOLD OUT to Jesus Christ. They wanted it to be “real.”

I have to be honest, this was NOT what I wanted to hear as a pastor, hoping to be an honest example of one that has a relationship to Christ. The youth of this community are shouting to us that many sitting in the pews of our churches are touting a Peter Pan Theology. A theology that has never been weaned, never grown up, and in truth may not be “real” at all.

Hebrews 5:13-14 points to what many have viewed as baby Christians that just never grew up. The passage is written to many sitting in the church that the author calls “babes.” This word is “nepios” in the Greek. It is a two part word. “ne” which is a negation and means “without,” and “epios” which simply means “word,” in short “without the word.” Certainly this was used to designate infants not yet speaking, but I believe that the author is pointing clearly to much more than the obvious here. He may well be saying that many sitting in our churches are “without the incarnate Word.” In forming this play on words the author is not playing around! He is hitting the Hebrews (and us) where we live.

He (and our children) may well be saying that for many our faith simply is not “REAL.” Maybe we are more transparent than we know. It appears that we have shown our youth little more than a Peter Pan or Santa Clause faith. I have heard first hand the complaints of our youth and I fear, that for many, these are very legitimate expressions of desperation. The apostle Paul encourages us to “examine ourselves to see if we truly are of the Faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). After the events of the last several weeks, I personally have reexamined my life and I pray that each father and mother, each pastor, deacon, elder, and indeed every Christian in Cortez will do the same.

Here is the punch line. There is no such thing as a “Peter Pan Theology.” If we don’t have “The Word” alive and “Real” in your lives, we’re not Christians at all. It is time that we examine ourselves, come alive, really make Christ Lord and grow up.