Monday, December 8, 2014

[Link] Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids?

Several years ago I met with a woman distraught over her son’s rejection of Christianity.

She said, “I did everything I could to raise him right. I taught him to be like the ‘heroes of faith,’ with the faithfulness of Abraham, the goodness of Joseph, the pure heart of David, and the obedience of Esther.”

She wondered why he had rejected Christianity.

I wondered why it took him so long.

Here Is How We Destroy the Gospel Message

Look at almost any Sunday school curriculum and you’ll find the following:

  • Abraham was faithful, and God made him the father of a nation. So be faithful like Abraham.
  • Joseph was a good little boy (unlike his “bad” brothers), and God made him prime minister of Egypt. So be good like Joseph.
  • David had a pure heart (unlike his brothers), and God made him king of Israel. So have a pure heart like David.
  • Esther was an obedient girl. God made her queen of Persia, and she saved God’s people. So be obedient like Esther.
  • Finally, if we fail to be good, Jesus will forgive us. (This comes as a PS tacked onto the end.)
  • What’s so bad about these Sunday school lessons?

Nothing really. Except that they lie about God, they lie about these “heroes of the faith,” they lie about the Bible, and they lie about the gospel. Oh, and they create “younger brother” rebels and “older brother” Pharisees. Apart from that, they are pretty good.

Is the gospel our central theme, or is it a PS tacked onto the end?

The Gospel Is More Than Good Morals

We need moral people. In a world where darkness expresses itself in everything from petty theft to genocide, healthy morals enable us to peacefully coexist. And that is good. Essential, even. It just isn’t the gospel.

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Editor's Note: For me what this article gets right is that we focus too much on teaching children that God loves the good kids and is willing to forgive the bad ones, but don't be a bad one. Whereas, the truth of the gospel is that we're all bad, through and through. Filthy rags and all that.

It is also testament to the reigning maxim of cultural Christianity that we are far busier looking for outward signs of what we believe is morality rather than inward signs of true Christlike character. Just my thoughts though. Your mileage may differ.

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