Feb 27, 2014

Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids?


Does that title grab you or what?!

No, this book actually isn't even about Sunday School. 

Despite it's title, this book is not about Sunday School or its teachers. It's about our daily need to remember grace. If we want heart-changed joy and heart-changed morality, we need grace. (p. 81, emphasis mine)

It's about morals versus grace. It's short (fewer than 100 pages), to-the-point, and can be read in an hour or two. Oh. . .

And it is amazing!

Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids?: How Moralism Suffocates Grace has given me so much to think about! Here are a few of my favorite lines from Sam Williamson's book (click here to read Sam's blog, which is also awesome!):

Several years ago I met with a woman distraught over her son's rejection of Christianity. She said, "I did everything I could to raise him right. I taught him to be like the 'heroes of faith,' with the faithfulness of Abraham, the goodness of Joseph, the pure heart of David, and the obedience of Esther." She wondered why he had rejected Christianity. I wondered why it took him so long. (pp. 1-2)

Back to the book in a minute... 

Reading this quick book reminded me of something I read on facebook not long ago, did you see it, too?

It also talked about the dangers of moralism supplanting the need for grace in our kids. Click here to check it out; it's awesome, too.

I'm sure you've heard of (and possibly grown up with) Veggie Tales. What you may not know is that Phil Vischer, creator of the show, has since spoken out against the moralism taught in his popular series:

I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, ‘Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so,’ or ‘Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!’ But that isn’t Christianity, it’s morality…
…We’re drinking a cocktail that’s a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we’ve intertwined them so completely that we can’t tell them apart anymore. Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. It’s the Oprah god. So I had to peel that apart. I realized I’m not supposed to be pursuing impact, I’m supposed to be pursuing God. And when I pursue God I will have exactly as much impact as He wants me to have.
Click here to read more about that. 

Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary also has a great article entitled Why Moralism Is Not The Gospel - And Why So Many Christians Think It Is. Click here to read that one if you'd like.

Interested? Stuff like this just fascinates me, I think it's because I'm a recovering legalist. 

(Confession time: good for the soul - bad for the reputation.) ;)

I like rules. I like knowing what I'm supposed to do. If I follow the rules and check the boxes, I get praise for a job well done. That praise becomes my self-worth. I am significant because so-and-so thinks I'm a good wife/mother/daughter/friend/tutor (pick your poison, right). That's what I've believed for so long, and I've looked down on others who didn't follow the same rules or share my standards. What makes them so special that they don't have to do what I have to do? The nerve!

Oh, friends, God has been doing some work on me! Don't get me wrong, there's still much more to go, but praise God for His grace and mercy to continue chipping away at my ever-so-uglies.

Here's a great line from Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids?: How Moralism Suffocates Grace:

Sound moral behavior apart from the gospel can lead us - ever so slowly - to feel good about ourselves, which can lead us - ever so slowly - to self-righteousness. Which is the enemy of the gospel. (p. 30)

When we can admit that we are really no better than anyone else and that we are also incredibly loved, then - and only then - will we be able to love those around us who don't live up to our moral standards. Because, like others, we didn't live up to them either. But God loved us anyway. So now we can comfort others with the comfort we've been given. (p. 31)

I just LOVE that!

There are too many good things to share about this book!

Just check out the Table of Contents:

Although I have many, many passages underlined in this book, I'll leave you with one more:

Being a Christian means that our self-saving died with Christ - that old person who self-applauded through self-significant deeds (my followed rules and check-marked boxes) is buried six feet deep. It means that we have risen to a new life where all the significance we'll ever need is lavishly poured into us - even though we didn't deserve it - thanks to the self-sacrifice of Jesus, who died for the joy of having us as his brothers and sisters (THAT is my significance, friends!). Being a Christian means that we finally cease from the interminable striving for self-applause, and we rest by faith in the significance freely given to us by God's grace. (p. 78)

I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts on this amazing little book! It's $3.99 for your Kindle and $5.99 for the paperback. I'd also love to know your thoughts on grace versus moralism. It's something I struggle with quite a bit, and I need to be reminded daily that there is absolutely NOTHING I could do as a Christian that will make God love me anymore than He does right now. Nothing. When the Creator of the universe looks at me, He sees his precious Son.


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  1. Thanks for linking this up! You rock Melody! :)

    1. Happy to link up, Colleen! Thanks for all you do! :)

  2. Interesting idea, I wish it was on Nook too. I'll have to keep an eye out for it, and read it later. Now I want to read the interview with Phil Vischer because I love his newer stuff, and I'd agree a lot Veggietales smacks of moralism, especially the more recent stuff.

    1. I was surprised to hear about Big Idea's bankruptcy when I read the interview. But I'm very happy to hear how God has turned Vischer's heart back to the gospel!

  3. Whoa!!! Good, good stuff!!! You and I need a girl's night out just to chew on all this good stuff!! I definitely want to read this book. You KNOW that I struggle in this area too. Grace is SO freeing!!! Thanks for sharing. Let's talk more about it soon!! Love you, Friend!!

    1. I agree, Jennifer! Girls' Night Out should be planned VERY soon! I'd love to talk about this with you; the book was just so to-the-point and in-your-face about God's grace. Amazing!

  4. Curiously, how do I get the "free" kindle copy? My amazon account shows $3.99. I'll pay it, but if I can get it free that's definitely better!
    Jellytelly (from Vischer et. al) is loaded with incredible content to include the Buck Denver "What's in the Bible" series. I think we are about to ride a beautiful grace wave in the church and I'm thrilled for it!

    1. Hi Kelly! It looks like the price has changed since I posted... sorry about that. We love Jellytelly, too! And I LOVE how you phrased your comment, "about to ride a beautiful grace wave..."! That's lovely, and I hope it's true, too. :) Thanks for taking the time to comment, friend!

  5. I found you from the Google link Sam posted. I love your review and believe I'll love the book even more. God has been slowly teaching me this as well, and I can say that for the first time in my life, I'm OK with making mistakes because I know GRACE HAS ME AND WON'T LET ME GO. Thanks for posting!

    1. That's a great way to put it! Yes, Grace has me and won't let me go - love it! Thank you for sharing, and God bless you!


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