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Sugar-Coated Truth

Do today's curriculum and resources focus so much on making God's Word palatable to kids that they've lost the meat?

Sugary Sweet Isn't the Solution

by Jamie Statema

God is many things, but tolerant isn't one of them. He's full of mercy, grace, and slow to anger. However, God's wrath, judgment, and absolute intolerance of sin are just as much a reality. How do I know this to be true? That's easy: The Bible tells me so.

That's the real issue. Do we trust the Bible? If so, why have so many replaced it with the latest bestselling Christian author or curriculum? Do we trust the gospel of Jesus? Then why do we leave out the uncomfortable elements of sin, hell, and judgment when we teach kids? Jesus talked about these things all the time…so why don't we? Are we so proud that we think we know better than God? As extreme as it may sound, I believe we've gone down a dangerous road that's begun to show highly detrimental effects.

I know there are many fabulous curricula and resources out there that unequivocally assist in teaching the Bible. However, there are also many that've made compromises in the name of "reaching more people" and in the process have done eternal damage to countless little souls. This isn't something to be taken lightly. This goes beyond business and straight into eternity.

We have curricula, resources, and books that have sold--and made--millions, yet our society is as biblically illiterate as it's ever been. If we don't arm our kids with the sword of the Spirit (God's Word), they'll be led astray by false teachers and bad theology. What's worse is that when these kids become parents, they'll pass along their makeshift theology to the next generation. It's a vicious cycle that can be stopped, but we must change our approach.

From the garden to today, Satan's favorite trick is taking the truth and twisting it just enough to lead people astray. He's been having a field day in the church, and it's time to stop it the same way Jesus did--with Scripture.

In a world where technology is changing at an unprecedented pace, let us pause to consider that some things always have and always will remain the same. God doesn't change and neither does his Word. How people respond to Jesus hasn't changed: They either accept him or reject him. No matter how cool you look, how relevant you think your ministry is, or how awesome your latest album, book, or resource is-the world will always hate you. If the world loves what you're doing, chances are what you're doing looks nothing like Jesus (John 15:19).


A Message That Stays the Course

As ministers of the truth, our mission isn't to impress. I believe it's to trust God enough to point kids to the Bible. That's where absolute truth can and will be found. If Jesus continually talked about sin, judgment, and hell along with God's love, mercy, and grace-then so should we. If we genuinely love the kids we minister to, then we need to give them the complete truth (John 8:32). We need to stop being ashamed of the Gospel and understand that the good news doesn't make sense without the bad (Romans 1:16).

The Bible never says we're to change the gospel message when speaking to kids. I'd rather give them the truth of God's Word and risk them being offended by it than to lead them astray with an inaccurate "kid friendly" alternative. I'm a sinner who deserves hell. Only by God's grace have I been saved through the blood of Jesus on the cross. Therefore, I trust the unpopular gospel over the top-selling "opinion from a sinner like me" any day.

Let us not forget that when children invite Jesus into their lives, God sends the Holy Spirit to dwell there and help them understand the truth in Scripture. Now that's a church resource. If you want to give kids the strength and conviction to stand up to a secular worldview, the answer is simple: Give them biblical strength.

Jamie Statema is a member of the children's music group Go Fish (gofishguys.com).

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