Individual Responsibility

John King

There is an old saying that those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. I would add that those who do not learn from the mistakes of the present are doomed to commit them, also.

Consider this: Teachers, today, are expected both to teach and to raise our children. Such things as family values, courtesy, work ethics, and many other responsibilities of parents now fall on the shoulders of educators. Parents feel that the paying of school taxes relieves them of much responsibility.

Similarly, in Ephesians 6:4, Paul says that fathers are to raise their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Parents always have had the individual responsibility of teaching their children the word of God. However, this responsibility has been “bought off” also. Today, many parents hold the congregation responsible for educating their children. I once heard a parent state, “My kids have been coming to this congregation for several years and haven't learned a thing.” A responding elder reminded them that the congregation was just supplemental Bible study and that the main classroom was at home.

Again, similarly, how many Christians have “bought off” their individual responsibilities by the hiring of a preacher? In the New Testament, I see congregations being started by Paul and others. Paul then moved on, sometimes leaving a helper behind for a short time only. Then, the congregation with its elders would grow and prosper through their own efforts. We do not read of located preachers as we have today.

I am sure we preachers today have a role to play in the kingdom of God, but I am equally sure that we cannot be used to relieve Christians of their personal responsibilities. -9137 Prunty Rd., Berea, WV 26327.

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