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What Should We Be Teaching in Sunday School?

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As I wrote on Tuesday, a comment I made in a blog last week has received a lot of attention from the atheists. I thought I would share a few additional comments that were made in response to the Panda’s Thumb blog with my comments following.

A “fellow” Sunday school teacher wrote:

teach

As a Sunday School teacher myself, I think that her use of that time to teach about radiometric dating and mutation to be theologically horrifying to say nothing of intellectually dishonest. Even if by some off the wall chance she were telling them the truth and “presenting both sides equally” (which I am sure she is not), Sunday School is neither the time nor the place.

This was followed by a comment from Mike:
Mike in Ontario, NY replied to comment from teach

Exactly! Why isn’t she spending that precious time expounding on the loving, merciful, and forgiving nature of the Christ? That’s what bugs me the most about mainstream evangelicalism. Even as a non-believer, I could still get down with *that* message. But I never hear it from them, and haven’t since the mid 1970’s. Instead of trying to put the Christ back in Christmas, it would be better to put the Christ back into Christianity, eh?

My question to “teach” would be: why isn’t Sunday school the time and place to teach kids truths from God’s Word? I thought that was the whole point of our current Sunday school system! For many children (especially those from non-Christian homes) this may be the only time during the week that they are hearing and learning from the Bible. Sunday school is an ideal place to equip children with answers that prepare them to defend their faith. I suspect the real problem for “teach” is what I am teaching, and not when and where I am teaching it.

In response to Mike I would say that I am teaching them that Christ is loving, merciful, and forgiving. However, why did Christ choose to be loving, merciful, and forgiving? What am I guilty of? To get the answer we have to go back to Genesis 3 and understand the history of the Fall of man. The real, historical Adam and Eve sinned, and because every person is a descendant of them, we all have a sin nature. Because of the history that happened in Genesis, we need the real, historical Christ to save us from our sins. Christ showed His love, mercy, grace, and compassion by dying on the cross for us, taking our punishment and paying the price for our sins. He also resurrected and will one day return and set up a new heaven and earth, and those that have received Him as Lord and Savior will live with Him for eternity.

I can’t possibly expect my students to understanding the good news of the New Testament without first understanding the bad news in the Old Testament. Think about it this way: if the first three chapters of Genesis do not present true history then we don’t need the rest of the Bible, which is focused solely on the coming, life, and coming again of Jesus Christ!

In addition, if my students don’t believe that the Bible is accurate when it talks about biology, geology, anthropology, etc. then I can’t expect them to believe the Bible is truthful when it talks about marriage, moral purity, salvation, and the second coming of Christ (John 3:12). Our findings published in the book Already Gone show that young people in their 20s are leaving the church because they questioned the Bible in their junior-high and high-school years and they weren’t given good answers (or no answers) to their questions and they doubted the truthfulness of God’s Word. The Already Gone study also showed that Sunday school itself was a factor, as children who attended Sunday school were worse off (i.e., more likely to believe gay marriage and abortion should be legal) than those who did not.

Something is very wrong in many of our Sunday schools today, and when I read this portion of the Already Gone book, the Lord convicted me that I needed to do something about it. That is why I am now blessed to be teaching Sunday school in my church. I want these young children to know the truth about Christ’s love, forgiveness, and mercy, but they must first believe the Bible is true and understand why they need Christ’s love, forgiveness, and mercy!

I earnestly pray that Dr. Hoppe and those commenting on his blog post will come to know the truth of God’s Word and receive Christ as their Savior. I also pray that many Sunday school teachers will be convicted to teach biology, geology, anthropology, etc. in their classrooms beginning with the authority of the Bible. We have great resources that can help you now, and be watching for our Answers Bible Curriculum that will be released in 2012.

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