Teaching is a vital and extensive gift granted by the Holy Spirit for strengthening the church (see 1 Cor 12:1-31); the days of a teacher are ever spent in a lifelong pursuit of knowledge. Along with pastors, those in teaching positions form the core foundation of the local church. The fundamental and evangelical basis of knowledge for the average lay-adult stems from the pastor’s teaching; however, the average lay-adult primarily instructs a child’s or teen’s life, who often has a slightly different view on certain aspects of the scripture and the pastor’s teaching. While pastors specifically prepare for their position, the average Sunday-school teacher’s knowledge base draws from personal study.  All too often, the discernment required to distinguish correct Biblical teaching from postmodernism is not properly utilized. In 2002, Robert Grahmann published a study on Christian college students in secular universities; he discovered that the majority of Christians do not know how to properly study the Bible. In summarizing his findings, Grahmann comments about the student’s Biblical knowledge and understanding:

Their unequivocal and near-unanimous answer that the Bible is true, and even that the Bible is truth itself, is a very modernist response. It belies their belief that there is truth, and that the Bible reflects that truth—is that truth. Yet, their response to the question of why they believe the Bible is true reflects postmodern culture. Their answers were all experiential, relating to their experience of meeting Jesus in his Word or hearing from him in the Scriptures…There was a lot of emphasis on digging deeply, analyzing the text, making observations, finding connections in the text, etc. Yet in the same breath they talked about studying in community, seeking Jesus in his Word, being empowered as learners through generating and answering their own questions, and reliving the narrative of the text in their own experience.

The students reflected modernist beliefs with postmodern reasons for their beliefs; modernist methods mixed with a postmodern approach. And they seemed quite comfortable to live in the tension.

This problem in the evangelical youth of today has a foundation in the local church. The Christian youth are not getting enough spiritual knowledge to combat postmodernism. The local church has a duty to teach its youth the fundamental ideologies of Christianity. “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, and the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). The apostle Paul states a divine imperative of the church, and we as a Christian community are commanded to make sure that the youth in our church have a firm foundation rooted in scripture and proper presuppositions. For these youth to be faithful men, their foundation should start in the church body and more specifically with the Sunday-school teacher due to the fact that the youth of today are constantly on the front lines bombarded by today’s culture.

-Next, What is the gift of teaching?


Robert Grahmann conducted interviews with students from the following university campuses: University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Hunter College in Manhattan, New York; University of Wisconsin, Madison; University of South Florida, Tampa; University of Southern California, Los Angeles; and Duke University in Durham, North Carolina (“Studying Scripture Within the Postmodern Secular University Context,” CEJ 6 [Nov? 2002]: 67-68). Grahmann’s study consisted of 65 in-depth interviews; all students interviewed were involved in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

Ibid., p. 74-75.

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