Ok, I’m going to be approaching this entry pretty delicately. Last week, we had asked the teens what they wanted to study. A good majority of the kids gave as their preference other denominations and what they believe. I think that is a wonderful topic and very relevant to their lives and even ours as college students, young adults, or older. What do Baptists believe? How about Catholics? Pentecostals, Methodists, Lutherans, etc? When we talk to our friends who share the same faith as us, but approach it differently, do we really know how they arrived at the way they do things?
Well tonight was the first class. We had a few questions to ask of them that were standard fare for me (and I’m sure many of ya’ll) growing up. Questions like “What makes the Church of Christ different?”, “Why do we not use instruments?”, “Why do we take communion every week?”, “What are the steps to salvation?”… I’m sure you see what I mean by standard questions. I don’t about you, but I imagine most of our backgrounds involved being ready to give an answer for those questions… kinda like machines. Tonight was more or less meant to let us know where they stand and how much they know of their own background.
But all I can say is wow, how things have changed. For example, when we asked them what the steps to salvation were, one of the first answers we got was “You have to accept Jesus in your heart.” Now that is very true, if you don’t accept Jesus in your heart, you’re only going to be able to complete step 1 to salvation… Hear. You’re probably aren’t going to be able to Believe, Repent, Confess, Be Baptized [and live faithfully] if you don’t accept Jesus in your heart. When I was their age… there wasn’t a single person in the room who wouldn’t be able to tell you that the steps to salvation were hear, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized. To throw in aspects of The Sinner’s Prayer, would have been unheard of.
We grew up knowing that we get authority to do things in church by one of three methods… Apostolic Command, First Century Example, and Necessary Inference. Of course, this has to be combined with the hermeneutic of the silence of scriptures. That’s an example of the kind of answer I was raised to give. Yet if we were to have said something like that in class tonight, maybe only one or two would have understood what that meant.
In a way, these kids were blessed to not have been raised in that legalistic mindset, but I can’t help to feel that maybe an injustice had been done to them, since they really didn’t know much about the traditions of the Church of Christ. One kid in particular didn’t even know that there were deacons at Laurel and what they did. If I was gonna stereotype this kid, I would normally throw them in with the other bright kids. But it wasn’t just this one kid… there were about 4 or 5 other kids near that also seem puzzled about deacons.
Ok, this class is going to be a fun class to help teach, but its also going to be pretty challenging. It was refreshing for me that in some of the discussions, it was suggested that we look at the original Greek instead of just taking the English translation for what it says. Feel free to share you experiences.