You probably haven’t heard about the original Children’s Crusade of the 13th century, originating in Germany. It was a little-known, popular attempt, by thousands of Christian children, adolescents, women, the elderly, and the poor—the “deplorables”—to join in the 200-year battle by the Christians of the day to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims.
The Children’s Crusade of 1212 lasted only five months and never made it out of Europe. On the other hand, today’s “Children’s Crusade” that we have explored in the last two blog postings, began at Pentecost and continues to grow in numbers and power, as the word spreads of just how to become like a little child and be a part of this Crusade.
“Becoming a little child,” as we have discovered, involves “walking in the light,” and openly and transparently confessing and repenting for the sin that the light exposes (1 John 1:7, 9). The root sin is always the same—wanting to be our own God. “After all,” we think, “I don’t need my Daddy anymore because I can decide for myself what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil’ (either because I don’t think I can trust Him or I arrogantly don’t think I need Him).”
However, at God’s perfect time, we will see that our Daddy LOVES US UNCONDITIONALLY, even when we, as Christians, unknowingly live in this kind of rebellious independence. He is not surprised, disappointed or disapproving when we sin. He only chuckles and says, “Just trust Me. I’ll take care of that by My Holy Spirit Who lives within You.” We are free to live just as who we really are—sinners with a Father who always takes care of everything!
When we finally know this experientially, we will begin, naturally, spontaneously, and unconsciously (SNU) to walk in the light as little children, because we’ve got a loving father who’s “got our back.” We will eventually, after discovering how to live this way, raise our heads and say, “Father, I am bursting with life in my heart! How do I let this overflowing river overflow?!”
At this point, our Father opens our eyes to show us the “Holy Land” we have been called to reclaim for Him with that overflowing life. It is the THREE INSTITUTIONS in which the vast majority of God’s children live—the family, the church, and the civil government. This is the objective of the “Children’s Crusade 2023:” redeeming each of these institutions that have all been captured, to some degree, by our enemy, Satan. Here is a brief summary of how that will occur in each:
1. The Family. A man who has become a little child will again recognize, in the face of Satan’s unending attack on masculinity by the culture, that he is in charge of his family. His rule is characterized by a facsimile of what he has observed in how God has fathered him. First, firmness (never compromising the biblical law that covers the family’s conduct) and second, unending, unfaltering, irresistible, unconditional love.
If he is indeed in charge, the responsibility for any family problems whatsoever, including his relationship with his wife, lie at his feet. As he joins the Children’s Crusade 2023 he will recognize that, yes, those problems are all his fault. Either he has not led his wife with firmness and decisiveness, or he has not loved his wife and laid down his life for her. Submitting to his leadership is not his job (that job is hers); exercising strong, firm leadership is. A wife giving her husband important ideas, opinions, and suggestions as to the direction of the family is important, but the final decision must be his. He will know that he is accountable to God for his family.
Together they will bring up the children in the “training and admonition” of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), following the biblical prescription for child training, again with firmness and compassion.
2. The Church. We don’t march in the Children’s Crusade 2023 alone. It is a corporate venture. The Children’s Crusade 2023 to reclaim the three institutions for God, IS the family business, and obviously this is the church’s ultimate mission. Sadly, as we have discussed, since the beginning of the 20th century the church has withdrawn from the battle to do so.
However, as little children in the church, we are beginning to be participants and not spectators when we meet together. We are learning to walk in the light together, openly confessing our sins to one another and praying for one another (James 5:16). As a result, that river of living water that this produces cannot be contained and it is beginning to overflow in home groups, new, unconventional churches, and even changing some traditional ones.
The church is, slowly but surely, beginning to experience the wineskin this new wine of the gospel of grace inevitably produces!
3. The Civil Government. The little children in God’s kingdom family are beginning to lift their vision from being sure to obey God in all their conduct (obsessed with being sure their navels are free from any lint whatsoever that might remain). The thought is finally dawning on us: “My navel is perfectly clean, and it has been so since the cross!”
As a result, we are realizing that our civil government—local, state and national—are a part of the “Holy Land” we are commissioned to reclaim. We are slowly involving ourselves in politics, as we are learning to see it as a holy calling in which we are all to participate. Some of my friends are getting involved as precinct committee chairs, school board members, even running for state offices.
The righteous rule of Jesus Christ is growing, like leaven in a lump of dough or a mustard seed becoming a great tree, as we are reclaiming the rule of Jesus, according to His law in the Bible. The Children’s Crusade (2023) is truly marching through the institutions with the compassion and firmness of Jesus Christ. The gates of Hell will not stop our attack!