It’s What We Teach, But Also HOW We Teach

The documentary, Jesus Camp, has continuous talking points for church leaders.  In describing her approach of spiritually training children, Becky Fischer (Childrens Pastor) remarks:

As Becky has numerous critics (many of them accurate, but lack needed love), one of them is radio talk-show host, Mike Papantonio who reacts to Becky in an ABC, television interview stating:

As Mike makes some good points, the church can’t forget that it is called to teach people of all ages.  There is no question that Jesus loves children, and the church & the parents are mandated to teach them:

6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deut 6)

Let’s not forget that when speaking to his pastoral partner, Timothy, Paul explains,

“. . .and how from infancy you have made known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2Timothy 3:15).

So Timothy, being of Jewish descent, had parents that were expected to teach their children the Law from the age of five onwards.  This was seen as a blessing in Paul’s opinion.  Teaching children the Bible is not a bad thing!

But, (and here is the key) we are also called to teach w/ honor.  It is HOW we teach our learners that is the issue. In Ephesians 4 we find there is to be a spirit of being…

…completely humble and gentle; be patient…(Ephesians 4:2)

The hoped outcome of our teaching is to equip everyone (the old and young) so that…

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

But as we see in verse 15 we can find the manner in HOW we are to be taught…

15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

So part of honorable teaching is to teach in an age appropriate manner.  Speaking the truth in love is to teach at a level that is appropriate to who your audience is.  As Paul writes:

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me (1 Cor. 13:11).

There is to be an understanding that God has designed us to slowly develop in our faith and intellect. Again, Paul shows these differences when he says in Hebrews 5…

… You need milk, not solid food!  13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  14 But solid food is for the mature,…

Teach the truth, but teach it in an honorable fashion.

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~ by Dave Smith on March 26, 2009.

One Response to “It’s What We Teach, But Also HOW We Teach”

  1. And continue to love your learners even if they reject what you have to say (even when, and especially if, they are your children!).

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