On Sunday morning, Pastor Josh took some time to talk about our society’s recent trend of moralizing the stories of the Bible. Softening them up to make them “kid-friendly”. This practice is unbiblical and it ends up giving us and the next generation an emasculated view of God. What follows is this specific portion of the sermon copied directly from Pastor Josh’s sermon manuscript. Read it and be sure to share your thoughts below in the comment section.
So all of these Old Testament stories, that we’re right to remember, get put into children’s books and sanitized so that our kids and ourselves no longer feel the weight rightly on what kind of God we’re dealing with here.
Now there can be a problem in our remembering though. Somewhere along the line of church history, we started to remember in sort of tame ways. Shinier, more polished, palatable ways. It got so tame, that the stories that God’s people are right to remember and pass on to generation after generation got turned into children’s Bibles. Now don’t get me wrong. I love children’s Bibles. I own the Jesus Storybook Bible. Love it, read it to my kids, and pimp it to you so you’ll buy it and read it to your kids. But if we’re not careful, we read those things to our kids the same way we read Dr. Seuss or Disney books. So all of these Old Testament stories that we’re right to remember get put into children’s books and sanitized so that our kids and ourselves no longer feel the weight rightly on what kind of God we’re dealing with here.
We take the stories that we’re supposed to be remembering and passing on, but aren’t kid friendly, and made them weaker so that kids won’t be scared. Hey or even worse, we moralize them. We’re not supposed to soften them or moralize them. We’re to remember them. As they happened.
That’s why I think a common testimony when I ask new folks who come to our church or in our member interviews, how’d you come to Christ? I hear a lot, I grew up church and believed in Jesus but when I was 25 I finally or when I was 18 I finally saw that this God is real. He really does this stuff. He’s really like this. We take the stories that we’re supposed to be remembering and passing on, but aren’t kid friendly, and made them weaker so that kids won’t be scared. Hey or even worse, we moralize them. We’re not supposed to soften them or moralize them. We’re to remember them. As they happened. As God has told us. Listen it is completely ok to tell your 4 year old the story of the Exodus like this: Ok, here’s the deal. When God’s people were slaves in Egypt God decided he was going to go in like a hero and help’em. And the most powerful man and nation in the world was just a flea to Him. So God sends Moses, this 80 year old man to tell Pharaoh, let my people go. But Pharaoh says, Nah. So God just flips out. He sends millions of locust to start eating people. They still don’t let’em go. So he kills all of their cows. Which is a lot of their food. Still, no. So he turns their water into blood. I mean blood everywhere. He makes the sun stop shining. Pharaoh, still doesn’t let’em go. So God finally says, alright, I’m killing the oldest son in every family. Hundreds of thousands of dead boys. Some babies, some grown men. God doesn’t lose. Good night buddy, love you.
I know the folks on the Today Show, right after they tell you some $600 dollar skirt is a good deal, will start crying and bring on a psychologist and say don’t tell your kids these stories, but God says remember these things so you and they will know me.
I know the folks on the Today show, right after they tell you some $600 dollar skirt is a good deal, will start crying and bring on a psychologist and say don’t tell your kids these stories, but God says remember these things so you and they will know me (Duet. 6:4-13).
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
“And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.
Tell these stories to your kids, but these aren’t children stories. These are stories of God’s holiness and power and deliverance. We have a God on our hands who tells water molecules what to do and the sun will go black if he tells it to. Every first born son could die tonight at his hands and he has the right to do it. This is the God of the Bible. He rains bread on his people to feed them. Gives them water from rocks. Fire from heaven. Seas parting. This is awe inspiring. And one of the reason its stops being that is because these things become children’s stories. That’s no good ya’ll. These are God telling us what he can do and what he does. We are to remember he cannot be stopped. He will do as he pleases. That’s a way to remember.
So let us open our Bibles and remember together the real life stories of our great and awesome God. And let us recount them to each other with the full weight of glory that God deserves without apology. God has written and preserved His word so we might have a robust and weighty view of God, not some fairy tale view of God. So, because the glory of God is of supreme importance, quit trying to moralize the Bible and start simply remembering that our God is outside of all our categories, definitions, and, yes, even outside of our political correctness. Read about Him, remember Him, and worship Him with your soul unguarded.