Growing up in a protestant Christian church I learned many things that I later found out to be heretical. I’m not convinced that those who taught me intentionally lied to me about the Truth found in the word of God. I’m not even convinced that they are completely at fault for their actions. I do believe that it is their fault to the extent that they should have been good students of the Word and found out the Truth for themselves. I do have to say that they probably assumed that those who taught them were trustworthy enough and knew what they were talking about. I’m sure this has been happening for more years than we realize, but my goal here is not to trace this problem to its roots, just simply to state and discuss the problem that we know exists. Also I’m not here to state this as a problem with the protestant church, but I do believe this problem is more concentrated in the protestant church.
My biggest example of this is the idea of Jesus’ divinity. I was raised knowing that Jesus was God, and the Son of God. This is Truth. I was also taught that Jesus was fully man and fully human. This is also Truth. My problem came when nobody explained that to me, and the ideas that were conveyed to me about Jesus’ divinity were that they canceled out His humanity. That may or may not make much sense, but the rest of this is for another time. My point is just to show that we can be misled because our leaders in the church are uneducated.
Why are the reasons for this? A big one I’ve already mentioned I’ll call generational stupidity. This is one uneducated person teaching something that’s wrong to someone else, who in turn teaches it to someone else. This is probably the second most common reason. Another reason is lazy stupidity. This is someone not taking the time to prepare and actually study the word and what it is really saying, not just what they might think it says. I’m not convinced that this is extremely prevalent, but it does exist. These are two problems that are with the teacher, but neither one of them is biggest reason for all of this.
The number one reason is something that I call administrative stupidity. This comes from a pastor or youth pastor, or whoever puts the teacher in their position. Unfortunately the church as a whole faces this problem. Why does this happen? It happens for a few reasons. One is that there aren’t enough Sunday school teachers out there in the church to fill all of the slots that we need. Not enough people volunteer to teach and so the pastor (used loosely, this could be whoever is in charge of Christian Education in the church) feels as if he has no choice. Another reason is that a Sunday school program is unguided and unmotivated. The Christian Education program has been written off in a lot of churches so a lot of pastors pay no attention and put whoever in charge to fill a slot. The last reason is that the pastor gets excited about certain people being in the church and feels he must plug them in somewhere, and the Christian Education department takes the hit.
Some people may sympathize with some of these excuses, but I do not at all. If volunteers are low, do you sacrifice the Truth to fill a slot? If ambition is low, do you not make a mission for Christian Education because the congregation just doesn’t seem interested? Or do you plug people who need to learn into teaching positions, just so they’ll feel important and continue to come? Absolutely not! These are all excuses of laziness on the pastors’ end. Our churches need to take the Spiritual Education of its congregants very seriously. I was once asked what is worse, a moral sin or a doctrinal sin? If make a moral sin, you suffer, but others may not. If you propagate bad doctrine and bad theology, you cause many to stumble. Our churches are responsible for handing out bad theology in candy wrappers in Sunday school. This needs to be fixed.
I do have some ideas on what to do about this problem but it’ll have to be continued at another time…