Happy first snow day of the year!
This past week in Sunday school, we began to touch on one of the most controversial topics in modern Christian belief: whether or not Hell exists. We started this week with a story about a girl named Gina and her two uncles. Gina's Grandma died, and at her funeral, Uncle Chad takes it upon himself to remind Gina and her sisters that Grandma didn't believe in God, and therefore the pastor officiating her funeral was wrong about her being in heaven.
Nice going Chad.
Gina's younger sister breaks down, and runs to her mom, who is sitting next to Uncle Max. Uncle max attempts to console the girls by saying that Uncle Chad has no idea what hes talking about, because Hell doesn't exist!
This may be a made up story, but it's not that far fetched. We live in a world where books like "Love Wins" and "Erasing Hell" have entered the mainstream, and armchair apologists have beliefs that range across the spectrum.
So as we began, it was my goal to make sure our students know that there is a (semi) Biblically defensible position asserting that Hell does not exist, as many had never heard that before. I'm pretty sure everyone in the room thought I had two heads. The reasoning behind presenting this opinion is simple. We want to make sure that our students enter college, and the world with an existing knowledge of WHY they believe what they believe. I could teach them what the RCA believes outright, or we could talk about the other views, and why they fall short. A student is much more secure in thier faith when they know the challenges that they will have hurled at them, and have already grappled with them in their own minds. It's far better to have students ask these questions while they are still surrounded by a strong supporting body.
We didn't come to any earth-shattering revelations this week, but we did touch on atonement theory and what happened when Jesus went to Hell (according to the apostles creed) and paid for our sins. (Spoiler alert : lots of people who are lots smarter than me have agreed to disagree about this, so I'm doing my best to make all that information available to our students on an accessible level.) I would invite you all to come join and see how this looks! I want to be completely transparent as we address topics like this.
IMPACT was great! We had a pretty standard night, and talked about Mary and Martha with Jesus. So often we have expectations of what we should do to be "holy" or right with the Lord, but all He asks of us is to just BE with Him. So we talked about dropping those expectations and just trying to be close to Jesus this week, whatever that looks like. This snow day is a great start!
Next week we will keep hammering away on Hell, and talk about fresh starts during IMPACT. Next week is our last Sunday school/IMPACT time before break, but we will have a Christmas party the following Friday during our normal game night time slot at my house!
Thanks for sticking it out till now, this ones a doozie! Have a great week!