Wednesday is grocery day. Every Wednesday, I drive my husband to work, drop him off, do my groceries and run any other errands that need to be done. This past Wednesday when I was doing my shopping, I happened to look at some kids books they were selling in my grocery store. (As a note, I would never buy books at a regular store unless it was absolutely necessary. My husband works at a bookstore and gets great deals. Any book you need, he can find it for cheap.)
As I was looking, I happened to spot a children's first Bible, published by Scholastic. Since my daughter is just discovering the joy of turning pages (though not much else about reading makes sense to her as yet) I decided to pick it up and take a look. The Bible was expectedly simple. There was roughly one page allotted for each major story in the Bible, perhaps two. There were, however, two glaring and unforgivable omissions.
The Creation story ended with God creating Adam and Eve and calling His Creation good. The story of Jesus ended with Him sitting the little children on His knee, telling us that He will always be our friend. In other words, there was no fall and no death or resurrection. Jesus was not God; He was just some guy. There was Christmas which, when you really stop and think about it, is a bizarre inclusion in the light of no fall and no salvation.
It occurred to me that whoever put this children's Bible must have thought they were doing a good thing. After all, children would be exposed to what is arguably society's most important book. If the author/editor was a Christian, they may even have convinced themselves that they were presenting children with the Good News of the Gospel, perhaps for the first time. In fact, I have no doubt that there will even be a few Christians reading this thinking "Why are you concerned? At least they are putting a Bible for children out there. That guy was doing a great thing for our kids and should be commended."
Consider this fact. Such a view of what the Bible is and should be utterly omits its raison d'etre. The Bible exists to tell us that we are in sin and that God loved us enough to do something, namely send His Son to die to bring us out of that sin and bring us into relationship with Him. If a Bible is presented to anyone and it does not contain these key elements of sin and salvation, then what does that Bible actually present?
It presents a world in which everyone is ok, not in sin and not in need of God's divine grace. The book's omission of the fall naturally resulted in the omission of the death and resurrection of Christ. How could it be otherwise? If we are not in sin, salvation is unnecessary. There is nothing to save us from.
Where is the Good News of the Gospel if this is as good as the world gets? What kind of a loving God leaves us in a world like this one and tells us we are fine? Think about it. Does this version of Christianity offer any hope? Any joy? Any meaning? Does this version of Christianity distinguish itself from other religions as being the Way, the Truth or the Life?
The Bible, no matter what version, teaches something. To be honest, before Wednesday it had never occurred to me that there might be a children's Bible out there that would omit the central tenets of Christianity. Proverbs 22:6 tells us to Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. We must keep in mind that this verse applies to the bad as well as the good. Regarding children, Matthew 18:6 says But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. When we teach our children, we must do it with the utmost care. They are young, impressionable and their minds are easily influence, especially by what their parents tell them. James 3:1 says Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. The crucial components of the Bible cannot be removed or even watered down. To do so would lead our children astray and put ourselves in danger. If we love our children, then we will teach them what is right and true. We will never present them the Gospel according to Scholastic.