Guest Post — Sean Smith on LYF Youth Poll

Posted by Sean Smith on Facbook, an article pointing to


48.3 percent responded that pre-marital sex is always wrong, 16.1 percent that it is OK if both people love each other and 14.3 percent that it is ok if both persons consent.

46.6 percent of youth said that homosexual acts are always wrong, 20.3 percent responded it is OK if both people love each other and 11.2 responded that it is OK if both people consent.

Translation: Less than 50% of LCMS youth believe that God’s Holy Word is true and formative for our beliefs.

Holy Scripture says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6).

It is time for us to take an objective look at what we are doing with our children and ask ourselves what may be uncomfortable, but necessary questions:

Have we REALLY trained our children in the way they SHOULD go? What has been the content of that training?
Have devotions and study of God’s word been more prevalent in our homes than the various forms of entertainment (tv, video games, sports, etc)?
Have the Scriptures and the Catechism dominated that teaching and formation of our children or have we surrendered these things to worldly doctrines?
The verse immediately preceding the well know Proverbs 22:6 says, “Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.” (Prov. 22:5) So we must also ask, have we truly guarded our children from the thorns and snares of the corrupt world and thus truly trained-up our children in the way they ought to go?

Make no mistake, your children will be indoctrinated. The question is, are the doctrines they are being taught worldly and corrupt, or are they the doctrines of God? One is beneficial only in this life. The other is beneficial in this life (even if uncomfortable) and yet also beneficial in the life to come (1 Tim. 4:7-8).

As we ask ourselves these (and many other) difficult questions and take an objective look at them we may arrive at the conclusion that we have sowed the good seed of God’s pure and Holy Word and unfortunately the seed has just fallen along the path, the rocky ground or the thorns (Matthew 13:18-22).

However, in my personal and professional experience, as I have asked these difficult questions and objectively evaluated what I see going on, more often than not I see worldly doctrines dominating the formation of our christian children and then we are somehow surprised that our children turn away from the church and have become so “worldly” and not holding the faith and values we tell ourselves they were raised in. The problem is, they have not actually been raised in that teaching!

If in objective evaluation of the situation in your family leads you to this conclusion, then it should lead to repentance. Literally a “change of direction” towards the more faithful way of God.

It is difficult and uncomfortable to ask ourselves these questions. The devil will seek to tempt you and make you feel like “a failure” or “a bad parent” or any other sort of thing that will lead to inaction. Forget the devil!

Yet, at the same time if we observe that we have failed– in other words, if the Law accuses, that is simply what it does! Let it kill and crush you. Because in repentance we die to self, that we may be raised-up by the Gospel to live to God and walk in the faithful ways of righteousness!

In other words, I think the results of such polls are a call to repentance. We must do better! Time to stop being friendly with the world. Die to it. That we may live to God.


Guest Post — Sean Smith on LYF Youth Poll — 8 Comments

  1. Premarital sex is required to get a gf and wife who isn’t 30+ in today’s world. If you want to make it work you have to go much much further. Good luck getting your daughter’s married instead of sending her off to college. Your own lifelong LCMS parents will oppose you even as your sister sits next to you single.

    There is so much law here that’s needs to be taught over and over in its entirety and followed by more than just a random man here or there in order to make it work.

    Teach your children that there is no boyfriend girlfriend model in the Bible, only married and not married. Teach them that it is your job to find them a spouse, a job, everything. Do these things, do them well – and they will know that premarital sex is wrong.

    I can’t figure out how to do them. By myself it is too much.

  2. @Ben #1

    I am having a bit of trouble reading the tone of your message, so if I have mistaken your point, I apologize. I am detecting a lot of disappointment in your response. I can definitely sympathize. It is a tough culture that we are fighting against, and this can be said not just for issues of sexual purity, but for many other issues and attitudes that are latent in our society.

    That being said, this isn’t anything new to the church. The more I read the scriptures, the more I see that this has always been the struggle in the church. Israel and Judah always fought (most of the time unsuccessfully) to keep themselves pure from the ways of the pagan nations surrounding and living among them. The early Christian church also struggled in maintaining it’s identity in the morally lax environment of the Roman Empire. We see this especially in the epistles to the Corinthians, but even in some of the others such as Colossians, the letters of John, James, etc.

    That being said, I think most of us if we are honest with ourselves would admit that we have failed and succumbed in many ways to the temptations around us. I know I have. Our children will be no different. Paul admits to such fault in ourselves: None are righteous, no not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.

    I guess all we can do is train ourselves and our children to turn to the scriptures to convict us, turn us to repentance, instruct us, and rely on the grace of God to justify us in his sight.

    Conversely, we need to remember that as Paul says in Ephesians: Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. As parents or future parents we need to be deliberate with our time with our children. We need to take the time and effort to make our spiritual lives more than just the hour a week we spend in church service. We can’t be so overly concerned about the rest of the world around us that we throw up our hands and not take care of the things that God has put in front of us.

    Keep your head up brother. Take care.

  3. Our children and congregations need to be taught the beauty of marriage and the FACT that it was established by God. I would also add that divorce is now seen as a thing that “just happens” as opposed to something that is not allowed for by God but in particular circumstances. I was recently abandoned by my wife, pastors, and home church. My wife is divorcing me because of a disease (manic-depression). I’ve never physically harmed her, love her dearly, and am recovering nicely after a long treatment protocol. Still, with the support of my pastor (and 3 other retired pastors attending our church) she is still divorcing me. I am about to publish a book on my experience and how my wife and the LCMS abandoned me so be looking for it (Prelim Title: Abandoned). If we are not going to teach our youth and laypeople (and pastors for that matter) about what living a christian life entails and why it is important than the LCMS is not the place for me. After 44 years of being a very staunch LCMS’er I am leaving. I will pray for all in the LCMS. I will miss the LCMS but apparently its time for me to move on since she left me. I still know that my Redeemer lives. Please, please, please act on this data and train our children, parents, and pastors. His Blessings

  4. Truth.

    Unfortunately, far too many Christian parents fail to see that the majority of Christian upbringing is their duty, not the church’s. When there is no Bible reading, no devotion time, no discussion of the things of God, then there will be no faith.

  5. It’s completely unfair to blame just parents for the liberal attitudes among LCMS youth. There are also plenty of clergy that do not speak clearly on the 6th COmmandment,tolerate sins against this COmmandment in their congregations.

  6. The truth is that while parents and clergy may be failing in their duties, youth are being catechized by their friends and schools and the world in general. Until there is a more coordinated effort from clergy and parents to stem the tide of worldly influence we will see these numbers get steadily worse.

  7. I am not the Sean who posted the article, so hopefully no one gets confused and assumes I am speaking for him. That being said, I don’t think playing the blame game (parents vs. clergy vs. world) solves the problem. The fact of the matter is that we are and always will struggle with keeping our thoughts captive to the word of God rather than to the flavor of the day that the world will preach. This is a problem that we as a church (as individuals and corporately) need to confront. In times like this I think about Paul’s reference to putting on the full armor of God (the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel of peace, helmet of salvation, shield of faith, and sword of the spirit). One of the things I love about this image is that starting off, Paul gives us this image of a Roman soldier standing in a defensive posture against the attacks of Satan. Well, Roman soldiers don’t fight alone. They fight in massed formations of men, shield to shield, protecting each other. We see this same image after the analogy of the soldier where Paul asks for the Ephesian church to pray for him and for his ability to preach the gospel. I think it’s no different. Like soldiers in armor our faith needs to cover one another, just like the intercessory prayers of the church covered Paul. This is an issue the whole church faces. Casting blame doesn’t solve it. Standing together will. Keep in mind, we not only need to stand up for the Biblical teaching of marriage and call one another to repentance, we also need to minister to those in grace who have fallen in that area and are seeking reconciliation with the body of Christ.

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