As a mom who has, over the years, given her children both cats (which I don’t love) and dogs (I love them!), and as someone who cares deeply about accurately communicating the Gospel to children, I found this old post by Pastor Kevin DeYoung both humorous and, tragically, spot on:
Some people have a gospel according cats.
And others have a gospel according to dogs.
The gospel according to cats has God saying, “Please me. Stroke me. Fear me. Don’t get too close to me. Love me. Serve me and I may pay attention to you on occasion.” It portrays God as someone who is fickle, preening, and demanding.
The gospel according to dogs has God saying, “I love everything about you. You never upset me. You never do anything wrong. Don’t ever change. I don’t care what you do or who you are. You are my master and I love you. I am so happy to be with you—no matter what!” It portrays God as someone desperate for affection, without standards and without any real concern for our behavior or well-being.
The gospel according to cats offers no grace. The gospels according to dogs expects no obedience. Take your pick: a Christianity without mercy or a Christianity without repentance. Neither are truly Christian.
Don’t trade the bad news of finicky love for the false gospel of unconditional affirmation. There is more to grace than “it’s okay” and more to the law than “shape up.”
Why is this tragically spot on? Because many Bible resources for children, to varying degrees, have tended to portray God and the Gospel message in either of these two ways.
At Children Desiring God, we care deeply about being faithful to the true message of the Gospel. That is why we believe it is so important to first give our students a deep and expansive vision of God—one that focuses on the deep meaning of His holiness. Within this context, the children can then see how the central message of the Bible culminates in the person and work of Jesus—the Gospel—in which He brings sinners near to God. The Gospel is simple, yet amazingly profound, freely offered, yet extremely costly, and should be communicated as such.
(Image courtesy of Vlado at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)