About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

Home Page

The Sundayschoolization Of Scripture


As a child I attended Sunday school every Sunday.  Bible stories were simplified for us kids to help us understand.  Even as teenagers I seem to recall this simplification of Scripture.  From time to time we'd ask our Sunday school teacher a question that would require a more complex answer, yet for the most part, we got the simplified version that left us in bewilderment. 


A typical Sunday school lesson might be the story of Noah and the ark.  Although being taught as Biblical truth, it was presented in fairy-tale fashion which in my thinking blurred the lines between truth and fable.  We were seldom taught the story's historical significance, or the truth relating to the stories.  Events recorded in the Bible aren't simple bedtime stories to make us feel good.     


Over the years I've asked people specific questions concerning Bible stories they were taught in Sunday school.  More often than not, their answers were the simplified answers they recalled from Sunday school.  Apparently no further thought had been given to the subject of my question since their Sunday school days. 


I do understand a certain measure of simplification is needed for three year old children.  That being said, I believe our children have more intelligence than what we give them credit for.   If you watch a four year old maneuver his way through a computer, you'll see that to be true.      


The problem that I see is that many of us have not moved beyond this simplification of Scripture upon reaching adulthood.  I call this simplification the "sundayschoolization of Scripture".  As adults, we still approach the Bible as if we were Sunday school children, which results in our limited understanding of Biblical truth.  This should not be. 


One of my biggest complaints is that as adult Christians we haven't grown up in our thinking processes.  We still think like Sunday school kids.  The apostle Paul told the Corinthians to stop thinking like children. (1 Corinthians 14:20)  This problem is now compounded by the influence of post-modern thinking in the Evangelical church.  The acceptance of such worldly philosophies discredit the details of the Bible.  In many respects the Bible is being viewed as a devotional book, like a book of bedtime stories to make us feel good.  Its not viewed as a book of truth for us to live by.      


I fear for the western church if  we allow this "sundayschoolization of Scripture" to continue.  We're already reaping the results of this trend. Many of us have exchanged the pursuit of truth for the pursuit of  personal inspiration.   We have no desire to bury our heads and our hearts in the Word of God, as we claim it to be..  In some Christian circles truth doesn't really matter any more.  Truth is relevant, and possibly unknowable.  And, when it comes to a balanced intellectual understanding of Scripture, who has the time and energy?  I believe Biblical truth matters.  As we de-emphasize Biblical truth, we destroy the very reason for its existence, and in the process we walk away from the God of the Bible, the God we claim to serve.    


Home Page