I wish I could remember the first time I heard these words, “Inoculated with Dead Christianity” so I could give credit to the one who offered a profound concept, that has been in existence since Biblical times, but is now surfacing more publicly in America.
The use of the term “inoculate” has certainly increased due to the pandemic. It means, introducing some active blocker to either treat or prevent disease. Often the treatment includes injecting dead or weakened organisms into the bloodstream that the body can easily detect, overcome, and build antibodies against, so that when a more viral strain attacks, the body is ready to successfully defend itself.
Of course, all analogies eventually break down in their application while trying to make a greater point. In this case, the term “inoculate” perfectly describes the process of injecting Christian theology into someone, who goes through the motions of saying a quick prayer and professing faith, but never experiences a true heart change. In this case, of course, the impact of a successful “inoculation” will likely be destructive, rather than beneficial. This is especially true of children.
An article I wrote earlier this year, offered the heretical view that we, as Biblical Christians, should consider NOT evangelizing our young children. The reason I suggested this is that some so desire to conform to their parent’s wishes that they can “accept Jesus”, get baptized, and yet never have a true head knowledge of the depth of their decision, much less a needed heart change. Later in life, as challenges come their way and Christian friends try to offer comfort, questions like “do you have a relationship with Christ” have the “I got saved as a child” response, without showing any resulting fruit. Resistance to further evangelism may come from a feeling God has rejected them or that they are going to Heaven merely because of some ritual act performed many years prior.
From an extensive survey of 400 children’s ministry leaders, earlier this year, it is true that…
- Two-thirds of Christians came to faith before 18,
- Forty-three percent came to Christ before age of 12
- Less than 25% of born-again believers came to Christ after the age of 21.
So, we should never reject the idea of witnessing to our children. However, since there are risks to that practice, we need to not push them beyond their capacity to make a truly personal decision of their own, with clear knowledge of the theology that comes from Eph. 2:8-9 and Rom. 10:9-10, among other verses.
Further, as our culture continues to move away from a Biblical Christian worldview, we need to expect that many who professed faith in Christ did so without a heart change, and with little or no discernable Christian fruit (James 3:17). That means when persecution of our beliefs continues to escalate, the process of deconstruction, or the turning away from traditional Christianity, will continue to significantly increase (1 Tim. 4:1).
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