4Borrowed from my friend, Dr. Harry Wendt of Crossways!

When I began graduate studies in the US in 1967, it did not take me long to understand that, in my previous studies, I had been taught a lot about dogma but not much about the Bible’s “big story.”

Furthermore, although I had been taught something about how to preach, I had not been taught much about how to teach.  Little wonder that since 1979, I have experienced much joy in heading up the ministry of Crossways International (CI) where the focus is on knowing the Bible’s big story, teaching that big story, and using teaching graphics to help people understand, believe, live, show, and share the biblical message.

Soon after launching CI, I read something that has remained with me: “Tell me and I will forget; show me and I will remember; involve me and I will understand.”

How often do the Gospels refer to Jesus preaching?  Never!  Instead, the Gospels refer to Jesus as a teacher, as a rabbi, and teaching about 115 times.

It takes about six to eight hours to prepare a sermon and about 15 to 20 minutes to preach it. However, how can a preacher expect people to understand and remember by listening to a 15- to 20-minute sermon that took many hours to put together?

Although we read of Jesus blessing and hugging children, we never read of Him teaching them.  Parents were to do that.  If Jesus taught adults and played with children, why do the majority of churches today teach children and play with adults?  And what do they teach them?

Materials prepared for teaching children often contain edited, adapted, “dumbed down” versions of the biblical story.  The classic examples of that “editing” show up in materials that deal with the lives of David and Solomon. If we do our homework on 2 Samuel 1 through 1 Kings 11, we find that David was “a political animal” (to quote Jewish scholar, Robert Alter) and that Solomon treated many of his subjects cruelly; among other things, he enslaved them.

If anything, David serves as the foil for Jesus. David and Jesus were dead opposites in relation to lifestyle and kingdom–style.  What does it mean that David was “a man after God’s own heart”?

It means that he was the one who captured Jerusalem, named it “the city of David,” made it his capital, brought the Ark of the Covenant there, and began the practice of worshiping and offering sacrifice in one place—Jerusalem; read 2 Samuel 5:6–11; 6:1–19; ch. 24.  However, Jesus attacked the “salvation marketing system” being conducted within Jerusalem’s walls.

Yes, we need to teach children and adults that we are sinners, that Jesus died for our sins, and that we shall go to heaven.  However, the Jesus revealed in the Gospels is much greater than the majority of Christians understand.  Jesus’ definition and demonstration of God’s kingdom so angered the Jewish religious and political leaders, that they had Him crucified.