In 1988, Charles Wysong and his wife, Brenda had 11 children, 9 boys and 2 girls. We were running late to school so I said, “For our devotions this morning, someone name the Ten Commandments.” There was dead silence. Our son, our oldest child, had been in Christian school for 9 years, our daughter for 8 and so on down the line. Not to be outdone by this initial failure, I said, “Well, all of you work together, and we’ll get all ten that way.” Even working together they couldn’t give me all ten.
I am not given to anger, but that morning I was. The Christian school had failed to teach our children the Ten Commandments! I stood up from the table; I looked out the dining room window, and God then brought to my mind Deuteronomy 6:7, “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children…” I realized the failure was mine. Yes, the Christian school should have taught my children the Ten Commandments, but it was my responsibility long before it was theirs.
I sat back down and said, “Tomorrow we’ll begin learning the Ten Commandments.”
Later, I thought, “Brenda and I have been diligent to take our children with us to Sunday School, Sunday morning church, Sunday evening church, Wednesday evening prayer meeting, revival meetings and the like. We have had family devotions from the first day of our marriage. We have been diligent to bring up our children in the faith, and if our children don’t know the Ten Commandments, what do the children of other parents not know?”
So, I began testing Christian schools and churches. I first tested the Christian school that our children attended. Out of 99 students only one knew all ten. And of the 16 teachers, only one knew all ten. I was on to something! God had revealed to me a glaring failure in my own family and many other families as well.
I did not want to gear the question to promote failure so I worded my request this way: “I want you to write out the Ten Commandments. They don’t have to be word for word and they don’t have to be in order.” Later, I added a second request: “The Ten Commandments are listed in their entirety in two chapters in the Bible; name them.”
Among teenagers and adults that regularly attend church, only 1% could name all ten. And only 1% could name both chapters and 5% could name one. So, the point is, not only do we, as God’s people, not know the Ten Commandments, we can’t even find them in our Bibles.
Our goal for the next year is to see 20% of God’s people who can name all ten of the Commandments. The Ten Commandments needs to be common knowledge among God’s people once again.
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