The Peter Pan Sydrome That Dishonours Our Fathers and Mothers Of The Faith

The Peter Pan Sydrome That Dishonours Our Fathers and Mothers Of The Faith


Many of our youth are out of control – period! They virtually not only rule this country – but seemingly the church too!

And while I love the next generation (they are our future), the church cant live by their motto – if you ain’t young and beautiful your obsolete! I just gotta have my say about this dishonorable, unscriptural phenomenon in the church

The ‘Peter Pan’ Syndrome In Australian Churches

A few of my friends in ministry have been gutted, of late. They have been told, in some cases by the heads of their groups (or denominations) that they were passed their ‘use by’ dates. My friend was totally devastated when told he was ‘too old’ and needed to resign and hand his church over to a younger man. It makes little difference that some of these younger men were untried novices and the Bible clearly states that we are not to promote a novice.

“An elder (or pastor) must not be a new Christian, because he might be proud of being chosen so soon, and the Devil will use that pride to make him fall.” (1Tim.3:6 NLT).

The way my friend was so shabbily treated really has ticked me off. I would love to cite some of the individual cases and the shocking way that these senior pastors have been treated. But I can’t, not without identifying them and I don’t have their permission to do that. Some of the things said to them included; “move over old man and make way for us younger generation”, “only this generation can reach this generation’ and other equally stupid statements. Who needs the devil when we have ministers doing his work for him!

Yes, sadly the ‘Peter Pan’ (the name given by Lester Sumrall’s son) syndrome is alive and well amongst the Australian churches. I know pastors who refuse to have anyone in their pulpits that is older than 40 years of age. Some churches don’t even want members in their church over that age! Imagine if such were the case in the world, would they fire Rupert Murdoch? And in ministry there would simply be no place for such spiritual giants as Smith Wigglesworth! Little wonder that so many end up burnt out or falling away! They have no mentors in their life!

Smith Wigglesworth – A Contrast To Some Modern Preachers

Actually Wigglesworth’s life and ministry stands in stark contrast to some modern preachers; with his faith in the infallibility of the Bible and particularly in the light of the current ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’. ‘The Apostle of Faith’ was not greatly used by the Lord until he was well into his 50s. And he was still ministering powerfully, well into his 80s!

Here is what George Stormont (one of Wigglesworth’s close friends and preaching colleagues) had to say on the subject. “One of the most subtle and effective devices of the Devil has been to tell us older people that we have passed our prime and cannot be of any use to God or man. This is a lie from the pit of hell. Smith Wigglesworth was able to minister in the power of God well into his eighties because he knew God and loved Jesus and I believe with all my heart that God is calling the mature saints, with the young people, to come together to a place where Jesus will be supreme……Old age is man’s invention, God’s idea is maturity.” (The Stormont Lectures on Smith Wigglesworth).

May I ask whatever happened to honour? The Bible says in Ephesians 6:2: “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” NKJV.

I think because we have such a lack of honour for the family in this country, the same spirit carries over into the church. Derogatory terms like ‘the old man’ for the father, and the ‘old woman’ for the mother are common. Yet the Bible is plain on the subject, if you want to be around for any length of time, you had better honour Mum and Dad. Now that would have to carry over into the spiritual realm as well. (First the natural and then the spiritual). “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.” (1 Cor 15:46 NKJV).

It would be nice to think that ‘common’ sense will prevail in the end, but unfortunately common sense is not all that common! Here are a few facts to contemplate

* Jesus never commenced his ministry until he was 30 years of age, the Jews considered that to be the age when men gained maturity. And what of Moses, Abraham, Joshua and Paul, they would be ‘over the hill’ according to the ‘Peter Pan’ pundits!

* The church reflects the community – when did youth become the soul representatives of the community or the family?

* The simple fact that it is totally illegal to discriminate on the basis of age or sex seems to make little difference to some of the church hierarchy.

My advice to my ‘old friends’? (one of whom was still in his forties). Tell the people that want you to roll over and play dead what they can do! If it was God who called you pastor where you are, then it should be God ONLY, who calls you out of that place!

There, I have my say! Blessings to you

Col Stringer