As parents of a toddler, both my wife and I put constant efforts to check what our child does – what to eat, when to sleep, where to play, etc. We believe that it is important at this stage of life. But we also know as life moves on, we should train our child to make the right decisions.
What is Spoon-fed Christianity?
Now, when it comes to spiritual matters there is a similar notion of spoon-fed Christianity. It is the state where a person is continually directed or provided with every aspect of his or her spiritual sustenance. Such a thing can happen at home and/or church.
Most people are part of their current religion because they are born into it. They might also be given prescriptions on how to read, when to read, how to pray, how long to pray, how to talk and the list goes on. These are very similar to what I mentioned in the beginning about dealing with a toddler but here it happens to an individual in the context of a religious setting. However, Scripture does not state those common suppositions such as following prescribed traditions or following ancestral traditions. But life for a Christian begins only when Christ is intentionally received into the heart of an individual.
Dangers of Spoon-fed Christianity
To the person who spoon-feeds or to the observers it might seem like a great thing. Nevertheless, it is one of the most dangerous things which can be done to an individual. In fact, by spoon-feeding, a person is rendered weak rather than strong simply because that individual is not allowed the opportunity to decide for themselves. A characteristic of a growing person is making decisions by themselves and a characteristic of a mature person is making the right decisions, both of which are hindered in the context of extreme dependence on others.
This is the reason too many people are falling short of faith or leaving their beliefs. Many of them did not have a personal and convicting relationship with the Lord in their heart. They just followed what they had seen at home or church without much thought. Perhaps they were never given opportunities to ask genuine questions about faith. Or such attempts to explore reasonable questions were nipped in the bud. Or they were never encouraged how to do a personal study of the Scripture. I suppose Christ Jesus would never have permitted such actions.
These days one can find a book on every imaginable topic or problem. There are a lot of study groups and individuals who can overload one with knowledge. Everyone has an opinion about other people. But people with convictions are lacking. I would imagine one important reason for that is not growing in Christ. It is conceivable when an individual is constantly put in a spoon-feeding state that the relationship is built with that individual rather than Christ, with whom it should have occurred in the first place.
It is ok to be a spoon-fed Christian when one is young in faith and life or on certain occasions in life when an individual is weak. It is not ok to just remain as a child to be “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming (Eph. 4:14 NAU)”. Rather the goal is, as the following verse says, “to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ (Eph. 4:15 NAU)”.
Life as a Christian is an active pursuit. Such a life warrants more than a military-grade strength and preparation. Because that person is going to fight against “the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12 NAU)”. The message the Apostle Paul gives is clear that a spoon-fed individual will get crushed easily by the sway of powerful enemies. In the preceding verses, some marvelous tools are presented so that one can stand your ground!