Teaching the Hard Parts to Young Ears

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In her seminar “Teaching the Difficult Doctrines in Children’s Ministry,” Sally Michael addresses the  sentiments of yesterday’s post, “Can We Just Skip that Part?” concerning the necessity of teaching children the “raw parts” of Scripture—the violence, adultery, etc…She answers the common objection that these parts are inappropriate to teach to children. She states the following:

  • An average American child will see 200,000 violent acts and 16,000 murders on TV by age 18 (according to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s report on “Children, Violence, and the Media” in 1999)
  • Programs designed for children more often contain violence than adult TV (according to the National Television Violence Study in 1998)

It’s ironic that parents who often let their children watch these films object to teaching the hard truths of the Bible. The Bible puts all these hard things in the proper perspective—Hollywood doesn’t.

Sally then gives an example from her daughter’s experience as a young child in reading about God’s command to the Israelites to kill the Canaanites. Sally asked her daughter,

“God told them to kill the women, children, and animals. Does that bother you?”

Her daughter’s response,

“No, because God had to do this because He loves his people, and He didn’t want the bad people with His people.”

This is the benefit of teaching the whole counsel of God—God’s judgment is rightly understood in the context of His holiness and His protection of His elect…

The Bible is full of “inappropriate truth”—two daughters who plot to get pregnant by their father; a brother who pretends to be sick and violates his sister; a king who commits adultery and then murder; a woman who drives a tent peg through a man’s head; a seductive young woman who dances before her drunken stepfather and a crowd of lustful men who then demands the head of a prophet on a platter…and a Savior nailed to a cross.

The Bible does not shield us from the unpleasant and the ugly—it is a true portrayal of mankind. But the Bible always presents these realities appropriately and without unnecessary details, with the aim of producing a correct heart response. We can do the same.

You can watch Sally’s seminar here. Not only does she address teaching the “raw parts” of Scripture, but more importantly, the necessity of teaching children the difficult doctrines of Scripture.

(Image courtesy of Iamnee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Written by Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and author. She has taught Sunday School for over 20 years and writes God-centered curriculum for Children Desiring God.

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