In 2009, I wrote an article for the children’s ministry of our church as to why we were going to focus on the gospel in our children’s curriculum. I made that article public and it has been downloaded by the tens of thousands from churches all across the nation. Almost every year I have someone write me a note about how God used this simple article to change the direction of their church’s children’s ministry as it concerned teaching. Now, it has been translated into Spanish (specifically to be used in my church’s Latin American church-planting efforts in Honduras). Considering that the church is exploding in Central and South America, I hope this can be one more resource to bless the planting and establishing of gospel-centered endeavors.

Download the article here:

Spanish Gospel-Centered Children’s Curriculum 2017

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I’ve written in the past as to why that’s usually the case. I’m a pastor first, blogging is way down on my priority list. Frankly, most of my posts are simply the overflow of my local church ministry. However, one of the reasons for the current gap in blogging is due to putting the finishing touches on my upcoming book, Preaching That Moves People.

This is my second book, something I had planned to write a year or two earlier but, as one might surmise, life and ministry (and a little bit of procrastination) led me to completing this project now. But the finish line is in sight. The book has been written, edited, and is currently being proofed. I’ve also had the pleasure of receiving several endorsements from ministry friends far and wide (with more coming). I’ve even had some leaders from different church-planting networks comment on how they will be using my book for training their residents when it comes to preaching. Needless to say, I’m excited to help with this latest offering. There’s just a few things left to do before this ship sets sail. Preaching That Moves People has a release date set for the first week of January 2018. Now you know. 😉

Renowned Old Testament scholar, Dr. Bruce Waltke, in his critically-acclaimed An Old Testament Theology, suggests five different prepositions describing how professing Christian groups understand the Bible. It won’t be surprising, as an evangelical Christian1, that the last view is presented as the one preferred. Still, while admitting the breakdown may represent a “cartoonish presentation” due to its hard distinctions, Waltke hopes these generalizations will help us “recognize and remember the various, and sometimes confusing, approaches ‘Christians’ take to the Bible.”2 Maybe you surprise yourself in seeing where your view of the Bible fits?

Liberals Stand ABOVE the Bible

Makes reason, including experience, the ground floor of theological reflection. Reason is placed above revelation and, as they embrace historical criticism, liberals set another “bible” above the Bible. Liberals read the Bible under the canon3 of skepticism, coherence (only “natural” explanations of biblical events), and analogy (this assumes nothing happened in the past that doesn’t happen in the present). With these assumptions, liberals read the Bible to discover what they believe “actually” happened once they strip away what is believed to be tradition or mythology.

Neoorthodox4 Stand BEFORE the Bible

Believes the Bible becomes the Word of God as the listener encounters them in the written “witness” to Jesus Christ. Therefore, the Bible isn’t the locus of revelation as much as how it meets the human audience.  Waltke writes that, according to neoorthodox thinkers, “one hears the Word of God in the Bible as one hears music on a scratched record. In this way they tend to set up the canon of the message of Jesus Christ (i.e.– The music) as more valuable then the whole canon of Scripture (i.e. — the record); a canon within the canon. This dichotomy creates an unstable theology — evangelical and unorthodox regarding the authority of all of Scripture. A canon-within-a-canon theology ultimately places authority in the audience.”5

Traditionalists Place Traditions ALONGSIDE the Bible

Finds authority in the text and the tradition that accompanies it. For example, in Roman and Greek Orthodoxy, it is commonplace to affirm that revelation is understandable only through the authoritative tradition of interpretation. Can place systems of doctrines, confessions, or creeds over the Scriptures themselves. While deeply appreciative of written formulations of the Scriptures, such as the Westminster Confession of Faith, Waltke concludes, “When dogma rules, the church is in danger of ceasing to be self-critical.”6

Fundamentalists Stand ON the Bible

Presumes the biblical writers, though writing in an ancient environment, will not have any different or stray thoughts, ideas, or concepts from their modern understanding of the way things are (especially in matters of science and historiography7). For the fundamentalist, the only qualified standard for which the Bible can be measured is the logic of contradiction. Walke writes, “What I have in mind here is that fundamentalists do not ‘stand under’ the Bible long enough to ‘understand’ it.”8

Evangelicals Stand UNDER the Bible

Accepts the inerrancy of Scripture as to its Source and its infallibility as to its authority. Needs the inspired revelation of the divine reality to judge wisdom or folly, right or wrong. Waltke writes, “I dare not presume to understand what this revelation means before coming to it on its own terms. I must allow the Bible to dictate how it seeks to reveal God’s truth. I study how it writes history; I examine and learn to recognize the different forms of literature: poetry, narrative, prophecy, and so on. I consider the Bible utterly trustworthy and I commit my life to it, but I do not presume to know beforehand the exact nature of its parts. With this posture, I must allow myself to be taught and corrected by the Bible.”9