Stop teaching them to be good Christians

Posted by Matt Lane on April 20th, 2012 filed in Christian Living

I was in the gymnasium of a Christian school recently and while  it always surprises me to see Bible verses on the walls of a school, it also brought feelings of comfortableness. As in, Yes!, I fit in here with these brothers and sisters!

But alas, I started looking further and frankly I was appalled. Let me explain.

You see there were verses all over the walls of the school and then in the gym there were these huge banners with Bible verses on them. Cool right? Well, after I read one and then another and then all of them, I started getting angry.

Admittedly I’m a little sensitive to these things and so when I see versus hung up somewhere, I’m automatically suspicious of how they are being used. People who know me well will know what I mean when I say these were coffee cup verses. These are the verses that are on a plaque somewhere or they are made into test-a-mints or yes, put on coffee cups. Verses that are almost always taken out of context, misused and abused.

So the verses I saw up on the wall were all of the same theme. The verses on the walls in the hallway were in that same theme bucket too.

What’s so terrible about Bible verses being displayed all over? Didn’t God command the nation of Israel to have God’s law all around them in Deut 6:8-9 and specifically on their hands and foreheads?

Okay so I’ll concede some points here. We write a verse on the back stops of our stairs and change it depending on what we are memorizing during dinner. And I completely agree that we are to meditate on the law of the LORD day and night.

Then what’s my beef? Well the theme of these verses I saw was very man-centered. All about being a good Christian. Verses like Col 3:8-9, Phil 4:8&13, Matt 6:19-21, Eph 4:29, 31-32, etc.

At this point you might be thinking that those are great verses and having kids read and memorize them is great. And I would actually agree with you. BUT…

If the primary message kids get from the Bible is how to be a good Christian, the main message of the Bible has been missed. If kids are consistently taught mostly moral messages from scripture, their theology of who God is will be very weak. And I will go out on a limb and say that if most of the verses kids know are all about how to be a better person, then what separates that message from any other religion or new age teaching? And yes, I firmly believe that it is a quick and almost unnoticeable step from teaching how to be a good Christian to just teaching how to be a good moral person. Knowing how to be a good moral person does not add to the foundation of salvation. Such knowledge does not give motivation to be holy or to love God with all your heart mind and soul. It does not teach you to love and savor Christ. It does not teach you about God’s justice. It does not teach you about God’s wrath. It does not teach you about Jesus unique nature. It does not teach you (much) about God’s love. It does not teach you about God’s sovereignty. It does not teach you about God’s goodness. It doesn’t teach much at all about who God is and why Jesus should reign in our lives.

In other words, focusing how to be a good moral person might just teach how to rely on yourself not God and it might just reinforce getting a ticket to heaven like this:

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So as I looked around the gym, it hit me that focusing and pushing with unmatched intensity on how to be a good moral person is really the foundation of moralistic therapeutic deism not Christianity. (Read more on mtd here).

And if that is how we are raising up this generation of “Christian” kids, I’m scared for them. And their future.


2 Responses to “Stop teaching them to be good Christians”

  1. G Snow Says:

    Perhaps a book with a related message…

  2. Matt Lane Says:

    Hehehe…yep, looks like it. The misused verses are as bad as using verses to teach moralism separate from Jesus. Both drive me batty!

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