Saturday, October 20, 2012

Theological thoughts about chldren's materials part 2

Day 20 of 31 days....

Sin, the fall, Jesus death on a cross, evil in the world, poor choices by man, punishment of God as seen in His sending a flood to DESTROY sinners....

My thought today is simple, yet profound for those muddling their way through ALL the resources for children that make the Bible developmentally/age appropriate wording.... but do they eliminate the FULL breadth, length, width of Biblical truth by being too nice, too friendly, or just plain skipping some vital elements of theology and doctrine? 

Kids need to know that there are consequences to disobedience.   Kids need to see it in the Bible storys that they are taught.   An example from a recent Sunday School lesson to help you understand this point, think about the story of Elizabeth and Zacharias. (taught in Luke 1). 

Read it here: from the ESV translation
In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah,of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. 8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared." 18 And Zechariah said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years." 19 And the angel answered him, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time." 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home. 24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 "Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people." 

Most storybook Bibles mention Elizabeth and her child, some mention her husband, but none of the big stack I looked at last week, bring up the fact that Zacharias questioned the Angel, and then was speechless/mute for her pregnancy because he did not believe his words... so they miss that opportunity to talk about a consequence in not immediately recognizing God's plan/promise.   Now this is a MINOR example, and I know that if all the details were included in every storybible- they would be too long, too detailed, and not on target for children, but I'm going to take some time and look at this concept in ALL my children's bible storybooks, and see if they bring up sin, consequences, and other troubling concepts that we all need to KNOW as we read God's Word.   

It's something to think about.... and a caution for using something that isn't complete, isn't a translation, and therefore isn't a full picture of the Bible.   Bible stories are great, and necessary for the full picture of theology, but if the versions we present to kids only tell the nice, polite part of the story, we are unintentionally hurting the biblical knowledge we seek our kids to have!    

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