Friday, December 5, 2008

Voddie Baucham on Sunday School and Youth Ministry

The comment in context.

From "Biblical Womanhood, Part 1 of 8":(a YouTube video – a photo with audio only)

Yesterday evening Paul talked about this idea of Sunday School ministry and youth group ministry and some of these things that we do in our church that are actually, absolutely not from Scripture, but they are from the culture. And it’s ironic, you know, that we talked about Sunday school ministry. And early on in Chicago, and how that happened here in Chicago, and before it was here in America, it was actually in England. And actually in England, Sunday School ministry started not just to minister and disciple, you know, to lost kids. But remember, this was before child labor laws, so small children were working in factories because they had smaller hands and could do things with, you know, smaller pieces of material. They weren’t going to school. They weren’t being educated at all in any way, some of them. And again, especially in the lower classes. So the Sunday School movement in its origins in England, even before it was here in America, was designed to make these kids literate. It was literally “School on Sunday” because they weren’t going to work on Sunday, so they could go to school on Sunday and use the Bible to teach these kids and make them literate.

Now there have been two complaints about the Sunday School movement, even from its inception, from its origins. Complaint number one is that if we do this, eventually we will make it available to Christian kids. That was argument number one against it. If we do this and we commit to this, we will make it available to Christian kids. Argument number two is that when we begin to make this available in the church, families will stop catechizing their children. That was the argument. And people screamed from the rooftops. If we make this available in the church, families will stop catechizing their children at home. Now if you want to know how true that is, all you have to do is realize that 90% of the people in the room are now looking at me like a calf staring at a new gate going “Should I be embarrassed that I don’t know what catechizing is?” That’s how true their fears came. We don’t even know what it means for somebody to be catechized. Okay? We don’t even get it. What –what? What is that? You know? And those of you who heard the word, you know, you go “I thought that was like a Catholic thing.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Is it something that is present in Cathoicism? Well, yes. But the Reformers are – really paint the way in the area of catechism. Catechism is learning doctrine and theology through a series of questions and answers, okay? And that’s what catechism is. We’ll talk some more about that here in a little bit but – –

And so basically, that was the idea: that was the big problem. The Youth Ministry Movement sort of followed along the same lines but the Sunday School movement. It’s actually even newer than the Sunday School Movement and more recent. The Youth Ministry Movement as we know it has its origins in the Jesus Movement of the late sixties and early seventies. And so what we now know as youth ministry does not at all come from Scripture. It does not at all come from the life of Christ at all, does not at all come from the Epistles, does not at all come from the teaching of the early church. Um, it is a modern American construct. And so, having a conversation, coming back to what we’re talking about here – familiarity breeding contempt and that’s not understanding what passages of Scripture are about.

I had a conversation with a guy who knew what my position was on this whole very concept of, you know, age segregated ministry within the church. By the way, the idea of segregating people by age – again – not a Biblical construct. The idea that you have a class for people of this age and a class for people of that age that we do now in our Sunday School movement? Not a Biblical construct at all. Well where does it come from? Well, that comes from the modern education movement. Well, where does the modern education movement get it from? Darwinian evolution. Yes. The idea of age segregation has its roots in Darwinian evolution. So the fact that we have age graded ministries in our churches not only is not Biblical, it’s actually Darwinian. Now, you go run and tell that. It’s Darwinian, okay?