June 14, 2012 Leave a comment
I remember one particular Sunday morning at a church I no longer attend. I was asked to fill in as the teacher in a senior adult class whose teacher was not able to be there that day. There was 12-15 people in the class and I knew them all. Most had been faithful member of the church for many years (some as long as 30 or 40 years). I don’t remember what the text was that day but I do remember that the subject of the passage was spiritual gifts. About 1/2 through the lesson I noticed that the people seemed lost. When that happens the cause is usually either that I have done a very poor job of teaching that day or it was a topic the people were not familiar with. At one point I stopped the lesson and asked how many of them had heard of spiritual gifts or knew what they were. The answer: blank stares. The response still stuns me. I don’t say that to disparage or condemn anyone present in the class that day. It is however an indictment of the church (in general). Many churches are guilty of not teaching theology or worse, teaching that theology doesn’t matter. My point here is not limited to the topic of spiritual gifts. I think there are many theological topics which would have elicited the same response by a large portion of the church going population. It was an indication of the theological indifference we see among believers today.
This theological indifference is a result of many complex issues all working together. My purpose today is to offer one suggestion that will help to alleviate this problem. My suggestion is not a quick fix or an immediate answer. It is however very likely to work…given enough time. So what is my suggestion? I suggest that churches begin to teach systematic theology, in age appropriate ways, to children at the earliest possible opportunity. There are curriculums available to help with this or the church can develop its own way of doing it. How (method, material) it is done is less important than why it is done. The purpose of teaching theology to kids is 1) to glorify God, 2) help them to develop a biblical worldview, and 3) help God be real to them as they learn more about Him. A side benefit to this is that as the kids learn theology so will the adults.
So, basically I am saying that the children are our future (I could not resist that) and we should follow the biblical teaching to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. I have not suggested anything new or profound here. I am only getting back to the biblical model. Do you agree of disagree? Have I left something out that you think should be added? Leave a comment and we will discuss it.