Thursday, August 13, 2015
These are not small problems: there’s a reason these views were condemned by the early Church. So how are theologies condemned well over 1500 years ago finding a resurgence in contemporary Evangelicalism? The Christianity Today article suggests a failure in adult Christian education as one cause. Let me suggest another: these heresies are finding a resurgence because too many Protestants misunderstand the Reformation doctrine of sola scriptura. Too many Christians mistake “Scripture alone” as if it were a license for them to read the Bible alone—to read it apart from other people. You know the idea: “All I need is me and my Bible.” But that’s not what it means. It means that Scripture is alone authoritative, not that your personal (“alone”) interpretation of Scripture is authoritative.Actually, I think the problem Block very rightly notes is a problem with Christian Education, perhaps even education generally.
There is the issue that any more any sort of educational activity, but especially voluntary ones like church school, have to be interesting and entertaining. A college Prof friend of mine called it "edutainment." It is pretty doggone hard to figure out how to make trinitarian doctrinal teaching entertaining and still develop genuine understanding in the student. The perennial question, "How does that affect me?" is another impediment to serious educational undertaking in the church setting. I know in my own educational life I learned a lot of stuff that seemed utterly useless until decades later. (Since I took up woodworking, it is amazing how much geometry I have had to dredge up!)
I think we need to find new ways to motivated our church students other than entertaining them with the lessons or trying to get them to focus on delayed gratification. May I suggest Christ-likeness? And by that I do not mean some sort of ethical purity, but rather the winsomeness that undoubtedly marked the Lord and his apostles. Maybe it is our relationships with students that can best motivate them to learn that which is inherently dull and not immediately useful.
The hard part is that is not a program or a curriculum. That's a challenge and a major commitment.