Friday, June 02, 2006

Puritanwife on "Teaching Children Sound Doctrine"

This Sunday I'll begin teaching the 2-3 year old Sunday school class and continue through the summer. I have a bit of the same feeling of trepidation I often experienced before teaching a class of young adults. A healthy fear of misrepresenting the Word of God and speaking falsely.

Perhaps some would think that teaching toddlers is easier than teaching young adults but I think the same caution is necessary. Maybe even more so. Children, even very young children, ask doctrinal questions, such as: why did God make me? And we should ask them these questions and teach them the correct answers. We have a very important responsibility to these young theologians - to teach them correctly; to pass on the sincere faith that dwells in us. (2Tim 1:5) If we fail to teach our children sound doctrine we simply allow them to feed on lies and be led away by the ways of the world. Earlier this week I read this powerful quote by Robert Murray M'Cheyne: "If you do not worship God in your family, you are living in positive sin; you may be quite sure you do not care for the souls of your family. If you neglected to spread a meal for your children to eat, would it not be said that you did not care for their bodies? And if you do not lead your children and servants to the green pastures of God's Word, and to seek the living water, how plain is it that you do not care for their souls!"

We need to be careful that we teach our children the true truths of the Bible. I have been astounded and grieved by some the material in some Baby Bibles. I call them "Bible Lite" - less taste, less filling. When I was looking for a Bible story book for Geneva, my first test was to see if the book even included the cross. Isn't that horrible? There are many of these books that do not even mention the cross! In my opinion they are no more worthy of the title "Bible" than books like "The Gardner's Bible" or "The Slow-Cooker Bible." Most of these Baby Bibles may not be laden with heresy but they often leave out very key details. Didn't your mom teach you that telling a half-truth is the same as lying? I'll give a few examples. The Baby Blessings Bible says that Jesus "came to teach us how to live and love and pray." Now, yes, Jesus did teach on those things but if that's all we have to say about Jesus, how is that any different than the New- Ager who says, "Jesus was a good moral teacher. He's all about love, man" ?

I read an example of a Bible story tape which taught that God created Adam so that He would have someone to talk to. It is very dangerous to think that it is harmless to teach children such things. This specific example implies that the Almighty God is not sufficient in Himself; that He has a lack that only man can fill. Such a concept would glorify man as the God-satisfier. Am I wrong to call this blasphemous? Why did God create Adam? Why did He create me? For His own glory. Is there any other answer that is biblical?

One final example: all Bible story books include Noah, but how many tell why God sent the flood? I get so upset about these things because they illustrate the state of mainstream American Christianity. I have heard of too many pastors who do not preach the gospel. There is no mention of sin. No mention of wrath. Therefore is there any need to mention the necessity of the cross, repentance and forgiveness? Many have chosen to ignore key details and erect a golden calf - the god who is only love, who winks at sin.

While children's Bibles can be a helpful tool in communicating God's truth to our children, we must use caution to ensure that the Bible is accurately represented. We have been entrusted with the important task of passing the truths of God on to the next generation. As Paul instructed Titus, let us "teach what accords with sound doctrine." (Titus 2:1)

1 comment:

Bob said...

Amen Lisa!
The Robert Murray McCheyen quote was pretty cutting (he's quickly rising on my dead guys I like list). But I liked how you showed that by trying to tone down the message we lose the message. Jesus' mission no longer was to save lost sinners through His death but to give us lessons on how to "love" (standard liberalism).

It's a bummer because kids can get theology (better than adults some times). It really is the therapeautic psychologized culture that says talking about certin aspects of the bible is going to be harmful for children. Children need to know from a young age that "the wages of sin is death...but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord."