Recently my mother showed me a lesson her Sunday school class is about to go through Sunday on 1 Samuel 13, specifically on Saul’s illegal offering of a sacrafice to God without waiting on Samuel, God’s prophet, to get there.
This lesson, published by Lifeway, was full of what the reader should and shouldn’t do. Complete with a psudo-ethics question framing the lesson but the appaling part is how the lesson completely missed the central teaching of the text that Saul simply didn’t trust God or his prophet and, instead, decided to take matters into his own hands and in doing so shows why he was not chosen to carry the seed of the Messiah.
Lessons like these are all too common in churches today and it saddens me to see so many people feeding off what amounts to theological popcorn rather than searching for pure spiritual milk (for the babes) in full view of those eating meat (for the more mature).
I believe this is because we have very few people who are concerned with actual growth in Christ which is charactarized by careful study. I believe most people in the modern Church in America are more concerned with simply maintaining the status quo, filling seats in pews with warm (tithing) bodies, rather than digging into the text and gnawing on the marrow of theology.
In short, I believe we, the Church in America, simply don’t think that learning is important and would rather focus on quaint moral sermons that call us to merely do something (get busy for Jesus) rather than teach us about God for the sake of teaching us about God (what a novel concept).
I’d be willing to bet that the Sunday school lesson my mother is about to suffer through tomorrow is all too common across most Churches and happens far more often than we would care to know. I’d like to be wrong, but the dirth of Biblical knowledge and understanding seems to indicate that I’m not.