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A bold article taking a critical look at how we present the Bible to kids. What can you learn?

Several years ago, I met with a woman distraught by 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 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. You’ll find:

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 (a “P.S.” 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.

Apart from that, they are pretty good. Oh, they also create “younger brother” rebels and “older brother” Pharisees.

Is the gospel our central theme, or is it a “P.S.” tacked onto the end?

The gospel storyline.

The message of the gospel—the entire storyline of scripture—is God’s loving pursuit of people who run from him as fast as they can and who live lives unworthy of his love.

That’s why it’s called grace.

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  • Chris Ondrovich

    Thanks for the article. I do believe we need to be intentional about what we teach in class. The whole truth and nothing but the truth. At the same time it depends on the age and their understanding of the material. God’s word doesn’t return void. So if they are receiving a basic understanding of the story at first, that’s a great start. They learning about God. The hope would be later in a deeper class that those topics would be covered. You can only cover so much in a one hour class with 10 ten year olds ready to run. Plus many teacher have only so much training. I truly believe we have a ways still to go. But to say destroying our kids is just a shock and awe title. God’s Word is still being shared. Thanks again for bringing up the Subject. Teaching our children the Word of God is very important

    • Akin

      Dear author, you have fundamental problem in today’s church, especially the American church. Today we teach rebellion and sin and call it freedom. We undo the gospel and call it radicalism. So you are advocating to teach our kids all the bads before they learn the goods. That was exactly what the old serpent did in Eden. By the way God didnt love David because he was a murderer and adulterer. Those were the outcome of freedom. Rather God chose David because He saw his heart! He knew the heart of Joseph too. He knew that he feared his name. He knew Abraham would teach hid children and trust him. The Bible is about goodness and not evilness. We should teach balanced Gospel, but avoids dozing our kids with poisons in the name of radicalism. It is the reason of the church are not in fellowship and keep their kids in worldly programs pn Sunday mornings.

  • johnw

    …..as long as our children are taught that there is something like sunday school (unbiblical) and not SATURDAY SCHOOL (Biblical), they will never know the right way fo keeping and being obidient to God”s commandments, which He gave right at the beginning of time. The leaders who advocate for sunday worship are misleading the poor ignorant nations all over the world. Watchout lest you be caught in sin. Read your Bible and listen to the Word of God people and He will lead you into light, and you will not remain in darkness if you seek Him in truth.

    • foreverinchrist

      Friend this is not the place to argue what day of the week your church decides to have group worship. If one is saved by grace he/she should worship everyday gladly. If Saturday fits you cool if not don’t condemn others.

    • MamaRea

      This is what is ‘misleading’ the nations? That we aren’t gathering for worship on the Biblical Sabbath? This? Making the argument about what day is pharisaical, and condemning those who don’t worship or have ‘Saturday’ school is sinful.

  • Jane

    Sam, I somewhat agree but have you ever taught Sunday School? The themes you suggest are perhaps for youth but not of the 5-7’s! They are too adult e.g. adultery, murder, self-love. The very young can be introduced to these themes at some point but lets not make them teenagers before their time. Yes, yes, yes they need to be taught unconditional love.

  • Maprchr

    Why not just teach them the bible, hide it away in their hearts like we used to do in Sunday School instead of teaching application? 1000 pianos all tuned to the same tuning fork will be tuned to each other. When the tuning forks are APPLICATION instead of Scripture each one is subjective and different. God promised to preserve and honor His words NOT His “message.” We need to take Sunday School away from the “educators” and put it back into the hands of godly men and women who teach the Bible.

    • Mark

      Educators know HOW to teach. WHAT they are teaching is your beef. Educators who teach the Bible do it well. Perhaps you never sat with children as a “godly” man lectures them without age appropriate language or any respect for how children learn. If you don’t care to understand children, you will continue to promote disrespectful ways of teaching children.

      What isyour distinction with “words” and “message.” Every time we teach we are applying Scripture. Are you promoting rote memory? Kids still need to be taught, “What does this mean?”

      And just because you have positive memories of old time Sunday School, doesn’t mean there aren’t many more who were miserable. And by the way, teaching the Bible is application. Promoting memorizing the Bible is not a bad thing, but it’s not teaching.

  • Julian

    Do children really leave the church or fall away because of bad youth and children’s work? A week has 168 hours in it, and at best, children’s and youth work will take up about 4 hours of that time. the bulk of the rest of the time is spent in School or at home. School is feeding non-religious (and often anti-Christian) propaganda, and as Christian parents, if we do not live out our faith consistently at home all the time, it is no wonder that they grow up seeing Christians as hypocrites and decide not to bother. Blaming Sunday School / Children’s Church or whatever you call it is essentially passing the buck, parents cannot abdicate their responsibility to others and then blame them after the fact.

  • Frank Douglas

    No maybe about it!!! What good insight into our human response to comparison versus love. Thanks for this enlightenment.

  • Jon Sneve

    Horrible headline. There’s nothing wrong with Sunday School. The church just needs to stop picking watered-down curriculum for children! There are great gospel-centered options out there. (Go Fish Resources, Children Desiring God, etc.)

  • Samuel Blackwell

    It all comes down to the simple question of who we as parents allow to give our children the spiritual education they need. If we take the stand that the responsibility is that of the church, we miss the true Biblical point…it is our duty as parents to make sure our children have the correct foundation to grow in Christian knowledge. After that, anything the church will give is a bonus.

  • Vincent Aja

    ABSTRACT! THEORY!!!

    The Sovereign God whose name is the Holy One of Israel had chosen Abraham because knew that if He did, father Abraham will TEACH his children the LAW of Jehovah God. For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him (Genesis 18:19).

    The world will continue to persecute and be jealous of the success of the Jews, because while the world were serving the idol gods, the Jews were teaching their children to obey the Laws of their God.

    1 Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might dothem in the land whither ye go to possess it: 2 That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged (Deuteronomy 6:1-2).

    Why do we continue to be seeing one side of this Loving ?

    For our God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24)(Hebrews 12:29).

    26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:26-30).

    Let`s forget this theory and philosophy about Grace for it is not working. The Word of God rests in doing what God says and not in what we say. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you (John 13:15).

    • O.C

      I love your theory, because the word of God says that we should train up a child in a way he should grow that when he grow up, he will not depart from it. Grace is good but learning to beperfect from onset is the best. Because is the fear of God that is the beginnng of wisdom, so instructing children to be good is like moving them to the realms of wisdom.

  • sheryce

    “How Esther had sex outside of marriage with a nonbeliever and God loved her and pursued her.”

    I find this sentence pretty problematic. Esther wouldn’t have had much of a choice. It wasn’t exactly consensual…

  • ServantHeart2012

    “So why do we burden our children with the unbearable load of “being good little boys and girls like the heroes in the Bible”?” Because that’s the easy way out of doing the hard work of raising up our children in the way they should go. How many of the parents shown on the evening news yelling “My child didn’t do it!” spent the time and energy it takes to raise up that child? I don’t believe Sunday School is “destroying” our kids, but I do believe it takes more than Sunday School to raise them.

  • crystalkp

    He does love us before we are good but at some time we become accountable. We teach our children in the way children can understand until they move from the milk to the meat. God does pursue us but we all have free will and He will not override that, it will grieve Him very much to see people created in His image choose to go to hell because they did not accept Him as Lord and Savior, or see people go to hell because they were taught that they could live any way they wanted- that it doesn’t matter because God loves you.

  • ralph moe

    this article has some very good points, and many children are raised under Pharisaical (?spelling) doctrine. Act perfect, get saved and act perfect and if you don’t you are going to hell. But that is not what God’s work teaches. God teaches in His word that there is none perfect and His grace is sufficient. My children were raised in church and they went to public schools (that taught evolution as fact), but at home they were taught that God created everything and He is love and He loves you no matter what you do. It’s whether or not you love Him and others that counts. If you love God and love others (Jesus summed it up) then your actions will show it. But when you have unreasonable expectations for children they will give up because they will never be accepted as sons and daughters. It’s the relationship not the rules that keep us. And my children are 19 and 21, they are not perfect but they know they are loved, and they try to do what is right not in their own sight but God’s sight. And they work at the relationship with God more than the rules. Relationship without rules produces disrespect and spoiled children and, Rules without relationship produces rebellion.

  • L Johnson

    You seem to be contradicting 1 Corinthians 10: 11-13 ” These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

    Don’t forget, the purpose of Sunday school is discipleship as well as evangelism.

  • Dave Ekstrom

    Some very good points challenging me to always be Cross-centric in all teaching. The Gospel is our paradigm for everything. Abraham isn’t the hero; God is. I think the case is over stated in the claim that our kids drop out because they can’t bear the responsibility of being “good.” And Sunday School saved me from a home whose parents were “Christian” only in the most nominal sense. I am a fan of Sunday School. I think the title was unfortunate. Don’t mess with SS!!

  • Scott Gamel

    Thank you for stating the stark truth so clearly! As a grace focused church, we have struggled to find curriculum that is gospel-centered – sometimes we have to completely invert the central message of a lesson to stay true to the gospel. We have seriously considered writing our own curriculum, but don’t feel very secure in that.

  • Andy

    Interesting points. Unfortunately too generalized. Make your points but please proof text them with scripture.

  • Mark Howe

    All great stuff, apart from the suggestion that victims of sexual violence abetted by powerful regimes are responsible for the sexual violence. That’s surely an example of exactly the kind of simplistic moralising the rest of the article criticises. If I was using this story with kids at all, I might explore:

    1: There are always choices, even when all the options are bad options

    2: Sexual abuse does not mean the end of life or the end of a journey with God

    3: God is in control of history, even when everything we see screams the opposite.

  • Paul

    Good grief Sam. So where is your responsibility to teach your son the truth of God’s word?

    “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy
    house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when
    thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they
    shall be for frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the
    door-posts of thy house, and upon thy gates.”

  • mkdb

    Ken Ham wrote a book a few years about called, “Already Gone” about the ongoing question concerning why young adults leave the church. After a lot of research he (and his co-author) concluded the main culprit was …. Sunday School (but not necessarily for the same reasons as this article).

    So many were leaving church because they lowered their view of God’s Word (which is happened in the church on an epic scale today). He/they concluded that Sunday School unintentionally undermined the authority of Scripture. It taught “stories” (of the flood, etc) and then the kids went to school and learned “the facts” of evolution, no God, etc.

    This assertion seems far more accurate than the ones in the article above.

    • Mark

      We are losing the battle if we are going to fight “facts” with facts. We can fight falsehood with faith, and that’s the Gospel truth.

  • Tim Kruzan

    Frankly, I get tired of people shooting down the great institutions of the church. Sunday School can be a powerful Bible education tool, if properly staffed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Personally, I’m sort of tired of hearing what a failure the church is, and the tools it uses? Seems to be a current theme in some of the articles we read. Maybe its my “Monday” on a Wednesday, but I’m sort of tired of hearing it. Isn’t anyone else out there tired of the same old beating of the drum?

    • jalvaradog

      Yes, i’m tired too, i’m tired of contreversial article like this one, everybody has a better opinion on every single topic.

    • Brian

      The issue is churches have a tendency to focus on that “Bible education”, and neglect teaching/demonstration a real, personal, and living relationship with Jesus. Bible teaching in itself isn’t bad. But it is secondary to the relationship. Far too many children grow up attending church multiple times a week, and they know the Bible stories inside and out. But they have almost no clue about what it means to have a loving relationship with Jesus. They only learned religion.
      So, I agree with you. The institutions aren’t bad at all, and they shouldn’t be condemned. But we DO need to prioritize and make the main thing the main thing again….which is KNOWING and having a relationship with our Lord….

      • Tim Kruzan

        Relationship is at the core of what we do, you’re correct. I like to tell our families to not leave the development of the spiritual walk to the church alone. We supplement what should be happening in the home, and partner with the family to raise up godly followers of Jesus. There are far too many who have run from the church, but I can’t buy the argument that Sunday School is the reason. Usually when I encounter these folks they were drug to church by their parents, but none of the relationship side of Christ was ever connected in their lives. We, must make sure our kids get what they need and not leave it to any institution, I agree with you, and like you say, it doesn’t make the institution bad.

    • Donald Jefcoat

      I will use this spot to comment as it seems the most fitting. If I was to take on the pastorate of your church I would eliminate the traditional sunday school and if you had kids church during sunday service it would be gone to. Ok you can breath now.

      I would create a childrens program for midweek to minister to the youth. But my style of ministry is to the whole family and builds community not segregation. My preaching style will not bore or scare little children and yet I can teach the gospel to the families so that the children can glean and the parents are not going that was washed out.

      Another reason is because of the lying that happens in sunday school. Parents do not know of this until after the service and only if they ask. Sunday School was created to not even give christian education but rather schooling to underpriveledged kids. We then at some point decided to give basic bible education instead. To me that should be done by the parent(s) not a sunday school. I have not found one verse to back up sunday school or segregation of child vs adult. And keep in mind that the organization that started doing this has had many abuse allegations.

      A typical sunday in our church is we meet as a family for worship, sharing, ministry, and teaching. (sorry im not a preacher but can get excited in interactive teaching) After service we eat lunch together and may even break out in a family game of socker or water tag. Yes the old pastor will play tag. We have broke from tradition and it works. I also see something great our children pray, they are taught to think and be berean. Our family takes care of each other. And I suspect that they will be around for generations to come.

  • Jim Wilburn

    Sloppy generalizations; yes Sunday School needs changes as does the church, but even though the 1st century church didn’t have SS I still agree that it is important to Biblically train children.

  • Scott

    If the moralism you berate is just half the gospel, you are just jumping to the other half and leaving out the affect of the Gospel – obedience. That may have not been your intention, but you only hinted at it at the end of your rant. You have presented an imbalance of truth that needs to be addressed in the church for sure, but where’s your Paul/Peter balance. The Gospel (who is Christ) is certainly overwhelmingly beautiful – no argument there. But even more so is He, the Righteous One, more beautiful, when contrasted with the ugliness of our disobedience. Salvation (from the consequence of sinful disobedience) is by grace alone, through faith alone and ought to produce a humble confidence in living a gospel-centered life unbelievers see as worth questioning that leads to the believer giving answers worth hearing (the Gospel in its entirety). I want my kids more than anything to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling”. FEAR that God is for them – overwhelmingly beautiful, sovereign, perfectly just and demands obedience; and TREMBLING in the realization they are sinners saved by grace and loved unconditionally by Him and me.
    I love CL articles, but I wish the editors would hold the writers to at least bring a balance of hard truth and encouragement to “church leaders” – ministry is hard enough. Not a very encouraging broad brush attempt here. But thank you for the boldness to put the subject on the table.

    • Jina Appa

      Refreshingly honest, biblically astute, and terribly heartfelt. Ding-ding-ding…we gotta winna! :) God bless you, Brother Scott.

  • Jonathan Hughes

    Religions indeed turn God’s word into a lie, but this page is not being spesific. I can be spesific. One is the lie about Hell. Hell is not a place God puts us in. Hell is God’s light to evil. God forgives us is true but we must forgive with God in us. That is what the church has not taught. The church you might say taught a half way truth, an incomplete truth. That made people to be eying condemners of people. That made them look for verses to condemn people. People that peaceably have sex with another species at times is attacked. The attacker feels fully justified puffing their chest out. Peaceful scene is shattered by people not having God in them to love anyone not forgiving anyone either. Terrorists shatter peacful scenes. Terrorists arrest. Think about that. Kids don’t want to be taught to be a terrorist. Therefore they leave

    • Scott

      Huh?

      • Jina Appa

        Huh? is absolutely the only response you CAN give to this, Scott. LOL

    • Jina Appa

      I’m not even sure where to begin with this one. Yikes!

  • S. Lankford

    As a behavioral psychologist I can tell you that children mimic behavior not ideas. Children need concrete examples of what we want them to imitate. As they grow, what and how we teach changes to involve the broader spectrum of rational thought. I am not saying we need to teach children that God only loves “good little children.” But neither should we teach that it is OK to do bad things because God will love you anyway.

    • Brian

      Maybe then we should focus on teaching our children what a reala, personal relationship with Jesus really looks like, instead of only teaching them Bible stories and how to live “good” lives? The focus should be the former, not the later.

      • Jina Appa

        I’d like to know why everyone thinks that all Sunday School classes only teach Bible stories as if they were action heroes. They don’t. I’ve sat through tons (and I mean dozens) of Sunday school classes for my children at various churches (of different denominations) where the Gospel is the central tenet. Don’t assume things, people. There are a lot of great children’s ministry folks out there teaching and doing the right thing. More than you might think or care to think about.

  • well

    and the love should be like this. this situation not just happened in Sunday school lessons but also in the church community, the leader.i had an experienced in this situation, the big is your church the more your destroying you church.” The Beast isn’t loved because he has changed; the Beast is changed when he is loved”

  • Joel

    I read through most of these comments & I’ve concluded:
    –to some people, Sunday school is a sacred cow!

    The writer of this article was right on when it comes to what should be taught.

    I believe that kids should learn the bible from their parents, and this should be reinforced by whatever work the church does, be I Sunday school, small groups, etc.

    One person in these comments went all excited about teaching certain specifics from the bible to kids. This is a cultural/political view of education that seeks to elevate the education system.

    The school district in my neighborhood is dealing with a push to have sex education, including normalization/de-moralizing of it in all forms that it teaches about. Morality in this area of ‘education’ is being safe when you have sex versus not using protection.

    Think this is something the high school is dealing with? The middle school? No–elementary.

    The trouble is, once you’ve waited to teach the bible to ‘youth’, they come to Sunday school and youth group already knowing the ‘point’ of the bible.

    Most parents don’t teach their kids the bible, let alone read it to them, pray deeply and regularly with them.

    I have worked with youth for 11 years, taught Sunday school, led small groups and have 7 kids of my own. I am telling you that if you don’t teach them God’s view on things early, then you face an uphill battle later. Name 5 things in our culture that teaches God’s views/ways? School? Government? Entertainment? Media?

    Teach the scriptures.

    ‘Age appropriate’ is entirely subjective and I lament the lengthening and invention of ‘adolescence’. If I’ve said anything that resonates, check out this book written by a couple teenagers–“Do Hard Things’

    All scripture is useful for teaching, right?

    Ok, this is lengthy, but I feel like some folks on here simply do not understand or even have a clue just what kids have access to and are exposed to. Smartphones & iPods, kindles, and the like have features for locking certain content, but I’ve seen 10 year olds using a device that had parental controls set and still able to view YouTube videos exceeded control limits.

    Why? Because there are far too many videos to regulate and apply these standards to.

    Anyway, this is a soapbox, & possibly a blog post of my own.

  • Ati

    What you wrote seem very good
    but I don’t think it is the whole truth I do not see where in the Bible where
    Joseph was narcissistic and where Esther
    had sex with unbeliever. If you are telling the kinds that, you may not be
    telling them the whole truth either.

    My understanding of grace is that Grace is God’s enabling power
    to obey God. Grace was not given to us to live as we pleased but as God will be
    pleased. This is what I think about the article.

    • Tom

      Read the book of Esther. You will see that she was one of the many young women brought before King Ahasuerus during his search for a new queen. It can be pretty easily assumed from the text that he had sex with these women. He was not a Christian at the time (and I do not believe ever become one before his death). He did eventually take Esther as queen, but their first encounter was before that.

      • Duh

        this implies Esther had a choice. A choice to have a sexual relationship outside of marriage. Esther did not pursue this any more than any other victim of sexual abuse. Victims do not need forgiveness for their actions but strength to forgive, but they do need deeper healing and more and more GRACE. G-d used ALL of these circumstances that were intended for evil for good. That should be the focus

        • Jina Appa

          I’m going to have to agree with Duh on this one. Esther very clearly had no choice in the matter. Ahasuerus doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who wined-and-dined women. It was my way or the highway (to death). These women were essentially raped and then later Esther “happened” to be chosen for the “privilege” of being Queen. Having said that…all of this had to happen for the biblical story of God’s people being saved to unfold.

  • Justin

    You are right and wrong. The Bible also sets forth the law, which Jesus did not come to destroy. We have a responsibility to teach children to be good little boys/girls, but at the same time teach them God will love them and seek them even when we/they mess up because we all mess up and will continue mess up because we are full of sin.

  • Pastor Tim

    I get the point but the Bible does hold up Abraham as an exemplar of faith, Esther of obedience, etc.

    • Carlo

      Abraham also did not trust God’s promise and slept with hagar … Yet, God used him.

      • Pastor Tim

        Of course, but my point is, there’s nothing wrong with teaching our kids to be faithful like Abraham, because that’s what the Bible does! I get impatient when someone negates one part of the Bible to stress another part. I don’t think our kids leave Sunday School and Church and faith because we taught them to be faithful like Abraham. I think they leave because we ONLY teach them to be good, and neglect to teach them grace, and fail to set a good example.

        • Jina Appa

          Pastor Tim, I agree with you but I’m going to dovetail on that. Growing up, I left the church not because of any of that. I left because after I got saved, nobody explained to me how I’m to be a new creation of Christ and how I am to remain open for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Nobody explained to me or showed me what it looks like to love God back. It was just an altar call and it was just “Hey, now you’re saved!” and that’s not right. The other reason why so many young folks aren’t at church is because their parents aren’t. Parents aren’t setting a good example and showing to their kids what biblical living looks like so they have no role models. This decline in our Church will continue unless parents take accountability…and I mean soon.

        • Kc

          You are absolutely right. But oftentimes a GOOD thing is enemy of the BEST. Here the Neglect part is the enemy, because the good stuff shielded the best stuff in the minds of Sunday School teachers and leaders. We need always to know the first priority, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not of Joseph or even of Abraham. Until we can tell a person or a young adult the way of the Cross “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” we cannot rest assured that he/she has received the true gospel.

  • http://beliefsoftheheart.com/ Samuel Williamson

    Hi,

    I am the author of this article. I thank ChurchLeaders.com for re-posting it, and I thank all of you for reading it and your strong convictions. I am honored. Let me address a few issues.

    I’ve been criticized–rightly–for not thanking Sunday school teachers enough for all they do. I apologize. And to all you Sunday school teachers out there: THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO. We all owe you a debt of gratitude.

    I partly regret using Esther as one of the examples. My reading of Esther is different from many of you. She certainly handles captivity differently than Daniel. But I regret the distraction she has caused. My point is not primarily addressed at Esther; it is to make a distinction between moralism and the gospel. God chooses and works with sinners.

    There is a difference between moralism and morality. Moralism is simply Pharisaism, looking to our good deeds for identity (or hoping God will look to our good deeds to accept us). We don’t want to teach moralism. But we do want to teach morality. The world is filled with injustice and oppression; it would be a far better place if we all loved our neighbor as ourselves.

    Should we teach five-year olds about David’s adultery? I remember my Sunday school class when I was about five. The teacher simply said David was married, and then he had a girl-friend on the side. I was shocked enough; I didn’t need to understand adultery to understand betrayal and unfaithfulness. And then my teacher moved onto Psalm 51–a simplified version. It worked for me; I still remember it.

    Why do we so need to make our heroes so perfect? They weren’t. One man emailed me defending David’s affair with Bathsheba. He said, “All the kings did that sort of thing.” No!. They were sinners just as we are, and they were in need of grace just as us.

    Fortunately, there is grace.

    Thanks,

    Sam

  • Retlaw

    Man this false humility of kissing crud stinks!

    This article makes it seem like God embraces our dark and wicked ways, and puts up with our halfheartedly struggle through a life self indulgence. The gospel I read tells me that Jesus shined his love in a dark world (not kissing a beast, but calling him out of his slop), and those who were attracted to his love were offered a cleansing and new home. Some will accept the offer to be cleansed while others will reject him. Jesus not once in scripture ran behind anyone pleading for a relationship. He stands there in His righteousness with his hand extended to all who will come.

    Scripture says we LOVE because He first loved us…I wonder why people even go to church. Is it just because we don’t want to go to hell or we need a healing or we need a better Job? I think we are looking for something Christ didn’t come to offer. Do we want this relationship of LOVE or NOT. If we do then we need to learn what it means to LOVE GOD. That’s what every Bible character you mentioned had in common. They sought the face of God, a God that doesn’t put up with our whimpering, crying, and excuses! No, they sought a God who had the power to transform their lives.

    The church has a responsibility to produce something and it aint always fun, or a happening social club, nor an environment that makes you feel good about your struggles or one that allows us to sit on the sidelines and cheer for Christ. We have been called to produce Christians and the standard we strive for is the full maturity of Christ. If we LOVE GOD and appreciate our redemption our goal is to give him nothing less. Not because we are trying to earn our way into Heaven, but as an expression of our mental desire to express our undying devotion to the One who loves us.

    So yes we should tell our kids that Gods loves them…true! But we should also tech them how to love God back in the teaching and power of Christ Jesus. An aspects of that love looks like Esters obedience, or Davids zeal, or Abraham’s faith, or Jacobs struggles, or Joesph’s assurance of God’s sovereignty because of his dreams, but its embodied in Christ obedience unto death, not for a sinful man, but because of His love for the Father and our Fathers desire to present man Holy unto Himself.

    I send my child to church to know that God loves them and to learn how to LOVE Him back according to the teaching of Christ. LOVE is what you do. The sad truth is that the church has forgotten that our mission is to produce Christians and that is not simply believing in Christ, but what I believe about Jesus the Christ. What is he saving me to, and do I really want that?

    • Agnostic Andrew

      No. This article shows that “god” used them because he had the chance too. Whether he actually exists or not- that is the real question at hand my friend.

      • retlaw

        Andrew, your title implies that you believe in a god, but that you don’t know how to connect with it if it still exists. Ok, I can not prove that God exists, but I can tell you this much. The New Testament of the Bible tells us the story of an Initial Causer, first mover, Super Natural power that set the universe in order..yet who cares for me. Now I am one of those weak humans who needs to be loved and I desired to be cherished, so I choose to embrace their Gospel. I choose to put my confidence in their God. So what the result? I have meditated on the Word of God and applied it to my life and life has revealed it to be truth. His word hasn’t failed! Now I don’t fully understand everything he has written, but this I know. The more I stand in His WORD the more I feel connect to him and life improves around me. He chose me first, but I have chosen Him in return. So if you believe there is a first cause. I would suggest you read the New Testament of the Bible and listen to what the writers wrote that Jesus came to teach. Apply it to your life and If it turns out the way He says it will…well then you might choose to believe that He LOVES you dearly. Happy hunting friend. Oh yes, you are right. The God I serve is sovereign. He will have his way with His creation. But I don’t think that’s what this articles implies. :)

  • Roy

    I read many of the comments, and they are all over the place. But 1st, I would ask the writer to please give the scripture that reveals Joseph’s narcissism. I agree with one who called Sunday School a sacred cow. It certainly seems to be for adults, where we are housed and taught dozens of times the same lessons. Folks, we better wake up! Jesus did not say we would receive power to study, sing, interpret, counsel, you name it. We would receive power to be HIS witnesses, however, statistics show that we have a failing grade in witnessing…with only 3% of believers participating.

    Most Christians are powerless to sharing Jesus with others. Pastors, teachers, leaders, please demonstrate being a witness in your life and teach others to do likewise. I think that is true discipleship.

  • David

    Great! I love an article that challenges my thinking! I have often wondered about the morality of Esther’s situation (Yes, it’s fairly clear it was about sex, and then in all liklihood were ‘kept women’ in a harem after that). What was ‘the thing’ that the King liked best? Anyhow, yes, quite possible she had no choice about being picked, but she had a choice in her reactions and decisions after that… Challenging stuff. Thank you.

    • Kc

      Sadly the Gospel is not about ‘challenging our thinking’. It is not an entertainment. The article deals with a real and impending problem.

      Children raised in a Christian home often ‘stray’ because of the faulty teaching as mentioned and the faulty assumption that they will ‘In time understand’. Who will make him/her understand that your child is a sinner, it is a responsiblity of the parents and the Church. Even in the normal adult church service, I see people talking a great deal about how Joseph was faithful and chaste, how David overcame Goliath, how prophet so and so did so and so…(all old covenant stuff, not to say that they are useless, but they are imperfect – Hebrew 8)

      Seldom we see the Sermon of Jesus on the Mount, and the way of the Cross, the cross that we have to bear… We want to live like good human beings, but not like believers who believe everything Christ says. God says. Matthew 3:17 is still God’s voice.

      Maybe we cant tell a little child to feel guilty since he is a sinner by birth, but this ‘sinner saved by grace’ life can be shown by parents, in fact we all should live as one. Then we would not need to worry about the ‘telling’ part.

  • Heather Knoflicek Woods

    My simple synopsis would be, stop teaching children that they need to clean the outside of the cup. Even if they stay in the church, they’re likely to become Pharisees. If they learn that Christ died for their sins and the whole OT testifies of Jesus, the whole Bible teaches the Gospel, just from different angles. Our little church plant started using The Gospel Project last year for its SS curriculum (12 & up stay in ‘big church’). I’m sure people have found something wrong with it, but its three-year cycle teaches the whole Bible, hitting the main stories, while pointing to Christ each week and why we need a Savior and how Good kept His promises through His Son. As one of the teachers and a mom, I’m pretty please with it. But I definitely think parents should be doing their job at home teaching the Word ‘precept upon precept.’

    • http://beliefsoftheheart.com/ Samuel Williamson

      Hi Heather, great synopsis, and The Gospel Project is a great series.

      I love how you say, “while pointing to Christ each week.”

      Thanks

  • edward

    This article was interesting but narrow in scope. I believe there are a multitude of issues that turn children and adults off to church. Poor teaching habits or poor curriculum being taught. The author only mentioned one possible reason, true. There are also cultural issues, human pride, freewill, emotional transitioning from adolescence to adulthood, family dynamics and societial challenges to the Christian ethic, esspecially in the universities, to consider. With Esther, the teacher could take all the negatives events and explain how God can even take the negative, unjust events in Esther’s life to fulfill His greater purpose. The Joseph Story, has some similarites to the Esther Story, i.e. negative,unjust events, sexual slant, yet God took the unjust events in Joseph’s life and use it to fulfill a larger purpose. No, the biblical narratives are not perfect, it’s not always neatly wrapped. Life itself isn’t neat and nicely wrapped either. It’s God’s faithfulness, that should be highlighted when these stories are told. Afterall, there are no new issues under the sun, that haven’t been addressed at one time or another, just a diffferent package. Every church, Sunday School has it’s own context. The article was thought provoking and that’s a good thing.

    • http://beliefsoftheheart.com/ Samuel Williamson

      Edward,

      Yes, the article is too narrow. I love the way your broadened it with your list (cultural issues, human pride, freewill, emotional transitioning from adolescence to adulthood, family dynamics and societal challenges to the Christian ethic). I suspect we could expand it even more.

      But I especially loved these lines you wrote: ” No, the biblical narratives are not perfect, it’s not always neatly wrapped. Life itself isn’t neat and nicely wrapped either. It’s God’s faithfulness, that should be highlighted when these stories are told.”

      Thanks

  • http://beliefsoftheheart.com/ Samuel Williamson

    Hi,

    I am the author of this article. I thank Church Leaders for re-posting it, and I thank all of you for reading it and your strong convictions. I am honored. Let me address a few issues.

    I’ve been criticized–rightly–for not thanking Sunday school teachers enough for all they do. I apologize. And to all you Sunday school teachers out there: THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO. We all owe you a debt of gratitude.

    I partly regret using Esther as one of the examples. My reading of Esther is different from many of you. She certainly handles captivity differently than Daniel. But I regret the distraction she has caused. My point is not primarily addressed at Esther; it is to make a distinction between moralism and the gospel. God chooses and works with sinners.

    There is a difference between moralism and morality. Moralism is simply Pharisaism, looking to our good deeds for identity (or hoping God will look to our good deeds to accept us). We don’t want to teach moralism. But we do want to teach morality. The world is filled with injustice and oppression; it would be a far better place if we all loved our neighbor as ourselves.

    Should we teach five-year olds about David’s adultery? I remember my Sunday school class when I was about five. The teacher simply said David was married, and then he had a girl-friend on the side. I was shocked enough; I didn’t need to understand adultery to understand betrayal and unfaithfulness. And then my teacher moved onto Psalm 51–a simplified version. It worked for me; I still remember it.

    Why do we so need to make our heroes so perfect? They weren’t. One man emailed me defending David’s affair with Bathsheba. He said, “All the kings did that sort of thing.” No!. They were sinners just as we are, and they were in need of grace just as us.

    Fortunately, there is grace.

    Thanks,

    Sam

    • mkdb

      “There is a difference between moralism and morality. Moralism is simply
      Pharisaism, looking to our good deeds for identity (or hoping God will
      look to our good deeds to accept us). We don’t want to teach moralism.
      But we do want to teach morality. The world is filled with injustice and
      oppression; it would be a far better place if we all loved our neighbor
      as ourselves.”

      Thanks for the article, Sam. I do have concerns about the paragraph above, however. Far too often those who teach “doctrine” or “right and wrong” get dismissed–even attacked–and judged and labeled as “Pharisees.” Then the refrain is “Christians are about love, not rules.” This is misleading, and therefore harmful and destructive. Leaving “love” nebulous, undefined, or clarified is far worse than teaching morals. Far too often I hear (from more left leaning, or more naive “Christ-Followers”), “I’m not going to argue or discuss ‘doctrine’ or right from wrong … I’m just going to love God and others.” That sounds great in theory, but when legitimately quizzed as to what love is, or is not … Or “Is ________ loving, or is it unloving?” Then they have no answer. They cannot or will not clarify love, because that might cause them to draw lines and come into disagreement with others (“iron sharpening iron”).

      So, however well meaning, your assertion that “The world is filled with injustice and oppression; it would be a far better place if we all loved our neighbor
      as ourselves.” Is potentially very dangerous IF left at that.

      Yes, there is grace (praise God) but there is also the matter of our deceitful hearts and how we struggle with the TRUTH. Please don’t so easily label and condemn people as Pharisees or legalist because they want to know, understand, live out the truth of God’s Word.

      • http://beliefsoftheheart.com/ Samuel Williamson

        Hi,

        You make a great point. We need to make clear distinctions between what is right and what is wrong, and we need to be clear on our doctrine.

        I too talk with people who say, “Doctrine, schmotrine! All we have to do is love each other.” The thing is, that belief IS doctrine; it’s called Justification by works.” Everyone has doctrine. We want the right doctrine.

        I hold onto my comment (doctrine even) about the distinction between Moral-ISM and morality, at least I hold onto what I mean by that. Moralism is getting our identity from our good works. The gospel is getting our identity from Christ and his great work.

        Thanks

  • Vincent Aja

    Dear Mr. Williamson, there are lots of things that you have failed to observe before posting this article unless it has to do with your theological views. Because within the context that you have used every of these names. It seems to me that you are talking about the imperfect God. But it is the other way round, nothing God does that is questionable. God picked the faithful Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) to continue with His salvation plan after Noah had cursed his first son Ham/Canaan (Genesis 9:22,25 which had resulted in Nimrod plunging the world back again into paganism Genesis10:6-10,11:6-9). God had sent the young Joseph down to Egypt to save the lives of His people after foreseeing the coming great famine (Genesis 50:20). In the case of King David, God had seen Him as someone who will take up Jerusalem the Pleasant Land where He had Eternally placed His name as the capital of Israel, because Joshua and the children of Israel before him could not take it. Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David (2Samuel 5:7). You have also forgotten that God had use Queen Esther who was the mother of King Cyrus to liberate His people at the end of their 70 years captivity in the land of Babylon. God gave the Prophet Isaiah this prophecy about the birth of Cyrus 200 years before bringing it to pass (Isaiah 44:28,45:1-3)(Ezra 1:1-4). So my dear beloved brother in the Lord, there is nothing wrong with our Sunday Schools, we only have problems with what people are making the Word of God to be. We will always yearning for the Holy Spirit when reading or studying the Word of God.

    • http://beliefsoftheheart.com/ Samuel Williamson

      Hi Vincent,

      Thank you for your comment. I agree that God used Abraham, Joseph, David and Esther; I agree that God greatly increased their character and boldness. And I agree we need the Holy Spirit.

      But I do not believe we have an imperfect God. In fact, that is the point. We humans are imperfect (everyday, probably every hour and minute). If we even hint that God chooses various of us because of our goodness, we rob God of the joy of saving us imperfect humans.

      2 Peter 1:3 says, God “called us by his own glory and excellence.” It was God’s glory and God’s excellence that we should see in the calling of Abraham, Joseph, David, and Esther. Not their glory or excellence.

      Nor ours.

      And the hope of the gospel is that God’s glory and excellence are without measure, while our glory and excellence–without God–maybe rates a C- on our best days.

  • darleen1953

    As a parent who raised a family in the church, all three of my kids have spiritual depth and maturity (now in their 30’s) and all three have told me what a bunch of crap their Sunday School teaching was! They say they are Christians “in spite of the church” and it took them years to get the real biblical message applied to their thinking/living only because I gave them permission to question everything they read or heard. The really hard part about hearing this was that I was the one that chose the curriculum. I was the one that trained the teachers.

    • Frank Douglas

      I commend you for giving them permission to question. If 1953 is your DOB, then we are of the same generation — the generation in which authority was never to be questioned. I am speculating here, since I do not know you, but I think your love, openness, and authenticity must have had a large effect on your children.

      • http://beliefsoftheheart.com/ Samuel Williamson

        Great comment, Frank

  • Pastor Bev

    I am a pastor- I was raised in church but left as soon as possible not because of all the wonderful Old and New Testament “stories” . It had nothing to do with the Word. I left because I was not a christian..I thought I would live it up like the prodigal and see the world… After years of living in “sin”, partying and running around, my husband became a christian and the difference I saw in his life, the joy and peace, caused me to look to God. For the first time I asked Him to come into my heart. The seed of the word began to prduce fruit. I thank my God for what I learned at the knees of my mom reading to me the stories of David and Goliath, Queen Esther, Joseph, etc. – I thank Him for Sunday School and the bible lessons I recieved…they are a treasure trove. I thank Him because I was taken to church as a child at least twice a week. The bible teaches us that the Old Testament is a school master and that’s exactly what it is. The Holy Spirit anoints the word and does wonders with it…God’s word is alive, therefore it works in our hearts regardless of our expertise in preaching or teaching it not because of it. I think God uses people- teachers who dedicate themselves to children…where would we be without them…they pray for us, encourage us along with inspiring us. As a christian woman God has many times used me and shot down Goliath in my life, He has brought me out of prisons the enemy, my brothers and sisters, and others have arranged for me, like Joseph, lthey meant it for evil but God turned it and used it for good…he has made me a Queen in His eyes and holds out his scepter to me when i approach…I may not have realized all of this as a kid but I now see because the school master taught me…i am not a pharisee —I know Jesus and his work in me and for me. Did I ever hear bad teaching? surely. I experienced love from my teachers and I also experienced failure from them…but God was able to go past that…Don’t count God out..I was 33 when I finally came back….I have been used by God in so many ways..There are many people who will not see hell because of the work of unday School in my life….He’s only just begun at my age now of 65, I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

    • ILUVJESUS

      Wonderful message…you are right on!!

  • roborev

    “Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids?” is, I admit, a title which motivated me to read the article. However, while some may teach the life lessons and morality inherent in Biblical narrative without reference to God’s grace, let’s not choose to jettison morality in favor of “love” (as if they were separable). To think that Kid’s reject Christ because they are being taught to be good is simply false. To suggest that morality is a burden which drives children away from God is a dangerous overstatement. Does anyone “really” think that the next generation has been overexposed to lessons on right and wrong?! Not in my world. “If you love Me you will obey My commandments” What commandments? Feed the hungry. Visit and help widows and orphans. Tell the truth. Defend the helpless. love your enemy. Pray for your leaders. Do not steal. Assemble with believers. Guard your tongue… and on and on.

    Should the gospel be tacked on as a p.s.? Of course not. But is the gospel separable from God’s repeated injunction to be holy as I the Lord your God am holy. By the way, after years of Sunday School, followed by years of sin and rebellion, I was saved while listening to a sermon from Leviticus. To everything there is a season. For the last 30 years I have ministered as a missionary pastor.

    • Fred

      Thanks so much roborev, can’t agree with you more.
      Fred.

    • ILUVJESUS

      When as a child I went to sunday school, I was taught that JESUS is the one to accept and follow. In reading about the patriarchs, all I could see was they were as human and needy as I am and they needed a SAVIOUR.HE’S a wonderful GOD that loved them and me so much that HE sent HIS SON to die in theirs and my place Its simple, There is a HEAVEN to gain and a HELL to shun and the only wait to escape such a horrific place is to accept JESUS as your SAVIOUR!!!!. JESUS said if I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me. It doesn’t get any simpler then that. LIFT UP THE NAME OF JESUS!!!! Keep Sunday School!!!! There are good sunday school teachers and there are not so good so don’t throw out the baby with the bath water!!!!

  • Matthew

    My pastor doesn’t write or publish anything. I don’t go that far but I have been made to see how incredibly careful we must be when writing potentially controversial articles brothers and sisters. Misunderstanding is almost inevitable when we write at some point or another. Someone will probably misunderstand something I’ve just written. I gotta be careful.

    • rdimpact

      This is so true. That is why I read most all posts “with a grain of salt” . I post and blog from time to time and some of the responses blow me away. I wonder “how in the world did he/she interpret it that way”?

  • Vincent Aja

    (1) The gospel storyline.
    The message of the gospel—the entire storyline of scripture—is God’s loving pursuit of people who run from him as fast as they can and who live lives unworthy of his love.
    That’s why it’s called grace.

    (2)Our heroes weren’t loved because they were good; they were good because they were loved.We may believe in the innocence of youth, but our children know better. They see the children in the schoolyard (and they see us at home!). They don’t need the counterfeit gospel of pack-mule-moralism; they need the kiss of the Beauty.

    Maybe we do too. Besides, it’s what the Bible in fact teaches

    Dear Mr. Williamson, once again you may recollect in my first contribution that I have said that by the context of which you have placed every of these great faithful servants of the Blessed Most High God, the Almighty God of Jacob that it had seemed to me that we are serving an imperfect God. You came back to correct that impression.
    Here again based on these two points above, perhaps you might have read somewhere or just when this forum were making contributions on who can partner with Pastor Joel Osteen. There I have tried to put in place the lie you are talking about the Gospel which had misled everyone of you. Let me make this statement by saying that the German scholars, and other European scholars within the past 200 years who have led the platform on what should teach the people in seminaries and Bible colleges. Have presumed the Jews as an INFERIOR race, and had believed that if the Gospel remained attached with the chosen of God according to the book of Ephesians(Ephesians 2:19-20), then the Inferior people will be Superior to the European Whites. Then what happened? They created Pauline Universalism and the Historical Jesus as the head of the mysterious Church to immortalize the Apostle who was the Apostle to we Gentiles. Now, everything about the Gospel is centered on the book of Ephesians 2:8-9. But the fact that this particular message which we have believed have been written particularly to the Church in Ephesus would have been something for us to place our emphasis on. We have nothing to do with every of the Apostle`s letters to other Gentile Churches except to this particular one to the Ephesians Church. I just want you think about it because like I have said before, the Church does not want to know anything about what the Apostle Paul had spent his 3 years in Ephesus teaching the Church there except this letter to them which has become a doctrine (Acts 20:31).
    I choose to write this again, because everybody talks about GRACE, and talking about Righteousness was like going back to moralism which was forbidden by grace. But the truth is that we have “EMBRACED the GRACE” and “THROW AWAY the MESSAGE that came with the GRACE.” This is where the lies can be found and not teaching our children the most important thing in their lives. We Christians remained the most unlearned people when it comes to religion. At the age of 12 every Muslim child must be striving to load the whole Qur`an in his head, and here people want the Sunday considered OUTDATED.
    Down here you will see the MESSAGE that the Lord Jesus had for we the Gentiles so we can have share with His sanctified people IF we should meet His requirement when He comes back. And I am wishing everyone of you well for why I am writing this again to show you that by using the word lying, it has also to do with your theological view.

    15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
    16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me(Acts 26:15-18).

    30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31).

  • http://www.robsorbo.com/ Rob Sorbo

    I am grateful for all the Bible stories I learned growing up, but I’m disappointed about how little I learned about the teaching passages in the Bible. So much of the “meat” of our faith is in the story-less passages found in the Gospels and Epistles, which, sadly, I thought were so boring for many years because there were no stories

    I am not involved in kids’ ministry and I do not have kids of my own, so I don’t have any real insight to offer here other than my own experience. However, I wonder how we can make the core teachings of our faith interesting to kids. I remember in middle school I had to attend a “Foundations of the Faith” class, and I fought my parents every single week and only put minimal effort into the assignments, all because it was “SO boring!” At the same time, we’re doing our kids a great disservice by training them to only put effort into the things they think are fun.

  • NathanAndersonJ

    Totally agree. I worked with kids for years and years and eventually decided to write a fantasy adventure series that will take young adults through Bible. Students come face to face with the real people God worked through in the pages of Scripture. The Gospel is about people of darkness being transformed into citizens of light! We still struggle with darkness in our hearts and in our world, but ultimately victory will be ours.

    Book #1 of the series [Jak & the Scarlet Thread] is done and published, and goes through Genesis 1-9. Book #2 should be ready next year.

    Blessings!

    • http://beliefsoftheheart.com/ Samuel Williamson

      Nathan,

      Love your idea for the book series. Thanks.

  • $42287495

    I do think much of Sunday school can be misguided. As a teen my church Sunday school got caught up in the “end times” craze of the day. I knew Hal Lindsey book cover to cover but knew little of the bible. I always thought if I had been taught the Bible more I could have avoided going astray.

    • http://beliefsoftheheart.com/ Samuel Williamson

      good comment, good insight.

      I remember that whole Hal Lindsey craze too.

      Maybe craze is the right word.

  • Mike Burchfield

    My pastor said the second most dangerous place for Christians is the Sunday school because you have unanointed people teaching who haven’t prayed, read the bible, arent filled with the spirit, etc because someone has to fill the spot and they are willing but not inspired. I have found the years I was there you have people in the back pew making comments looking at the flesh and the world not at the word not inspiring faith in God.These are not a part of the five fold ministry as described in Ephesians. Not all are called and it needs to be these. My pastor says the most dangerous place for a new christian is the Christian book store for some of the same reasons.

    • kwaness

      Yes! We have too many people teaching SS who have either done it for years or don’t know anything about teaching or studying the Word and give a sick message about what they think they heard about what might be in the Bible!

  • Jlo too

    Here is a thought—forget about what kids are taught in Sunday school, that was NEVER meant to be the place kids receive their knowledge of God or his Word. I’d like to ask those kids–what were you taught AT HOME? Did your parents (whom God charged with raising you in God’s ways) ever have family devotion time, did you ever hear the actual Bible read–the full accurate stories of these characters/ Did your parents model Christianity for you at home? Were you taught right from wrong by your parents? It is not the primary job of the church to raise our kids–nor is it the primary job of the schools to educate them—God has given these charges to the PARENTS–and the parents are the ones who will give an account–more so than any church or Sunday School teacher. The real issue here that I see is the lack of parental seriousness about training the children up in the way they should go. What they learn at home 6 days a week has far more impact on a kid than what someone outside their famiy teaches them 1 day a week. If the parents had been teaching their kids from the Scriptures at a regular daily devotion time, they would have KNOWN that what the Sunday School teachers taught was not the full story. Sunday school is supposed to be for kids whose parents are unbelievers –not babysitters for the covenant children of the church. Those kids belong in the pew with their parents hearing the gospel preached–not separated out into some other place to be taught by someone other than who has been called to ‘shepherd the flock’. A real Shepherd cares for the ewes as well as the sheep…….

  • smithflight

    Good article. Teaching the reality that were are all in a fallen state and our need of Christ rather than painting an idealist and unrealistic of Biblical people. Pointing to Christ, this is useful.

    What I do not understand is why do believers find it necessary to slander folks. In this case those who have taught and develop Sunday School Curriculum for many years by calling them lairs.

    To quote:.

    “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.”

    How is this useful? Too many people of faith have good ideas, thoughts and intentions, then they throw a brick through a window or burn down a bridge. By doing so they undo much of the good things they are saying and they do not even know it.
    Perhaps they get this from our present culture of division and regrettably it comes too naturally to them. Our language reflects the state of our hearts.

  • brandon

    i think the real question is, what was the hermeneutic that led to that sort of teaching? the problem and solution is never in the method itself: sunday school, or any other method.

  • brandon

    also, as a pastor I have children in my church educated in a humanist environment for 40 hours a week. Then, if habitual in attendance, they receive an hour a week from a volunteer parent, teacher. Raising a generation that doesnt forget God will not happen when we give up their most fruitful and productive hours of the week to godless curriculum.