Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Teaching in the Church

Being a Seminary student I get the chance to talk about the Church and theology on almost a daily basis, but every once in a while I get a chance to do the same with someone who is not seminary educated. Sometimes I find that the conversations with these people are great and that they are very knowledgeable and well read, but other times I am frustrated and greatly disappointed. What disappoints me is the fact that there are many people in the Church who have no clue what they are talking about. They don't have to be theologians or bible teachers, but Christians should know what they believe and why they believe it. The Church is not doing a very good job of teaching Church members about Christianity, about theological doctrines and history, or even about correct interpretation of the bible. This is a big problem for a number of reasons. The first being that it is fundamentally important to know what you believe and why you believe it. Second, many people live their lives not trying understanding who God is and not really caring. Thirdly, if these last two issues are the case than the Church is made up of a lot of people who don't know what the heck it is that they believe. One of the problems leading to this issue is that a lot of Church's have done away with Sunday school. I grew up in a Church that had Sunday school and myself and my parents went to it every Sunday, before or after the service. I then went to a great Church during college, but one thing I missed was Sunday school. Sunday school is a time apart from the main service where people can gather in smaller groups and classes to learn and discuss topics and issues in Christianity and the Church. For a Sunday service all I want is a simple sermon focused on scripture, a sermon that gives me some context, and then a word on how I can apply that to my life today to better serve God and the Church. I don't want a bunch of theology and Greek or Hebrew words thrown out there. Theology and biblical languages fit in the place of a Sunday school class and not a sermon. Sunday school is a time to dig deep in the word, learn some theology, maybe some church doctrine and history and then to discuss. I am afraid to say that the Church is greatly lacking in this area. Jews go to Hebrew school, Muslims learn Arabic, and Mormons go to classes from the time of their youth until they become adults. Now I don't agree with any of these other belief systems and I believe some of them to be a form of brain washing, but at least they are doing something. What do Christians do? We go to Church on Sunday and then out to brunch. Now, some people are involved in bible studies, some in small groups, and some Church's have Sunday school and other classes on a regular basis, but for the most part the Church isn't doing crap. We need to be teaching in the Church. Church members need to know what they believe and why they believe and they also need to know why they don't believe certain things. I am pretty sure most people cannot coherently talk to you about the Trinity without mistakingly committing heresy. This is a problem. If the God we believe in is Trinity, than we should be able to talk about God correctly as Trinity. I love the Church and will forever be a part of it and strive to do what I can to help the Church teach its members more efficiently and effectively. We need more people to help do this. The Church is lacking in its teachings and it needs to teach more and teach better.