Innocence and Theology
Mark 10:14 – But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
The other day I was driving my daughter home from her work. She works for a local Christian camp. She was talking about how she was writing Bible studies for the half-day students because the current series was not directed toward the age group she was responsible for. She wanted to do an entire weeklong series on “Finding Jesus.” As she was explaining it to me, she was explaining the plot line of the Disney movie “Finding Dory.” It was pure innocence, using the story of a fish-finding story to explain how we come to know the risen Creator of the universe.
As she spoke to me I found all these ways to poke holes in her theology.
But I kept my mouth shut and listened.
She explained how easy it was to find Jesus. She pulled a few Bible verses here and there, used a lot of Disney references, and showed a lot of passion in her voice as she explained it to me.
If a seminary graduate who has studied hermeneutics, Greek and Hebrew would listen to her speak, he would stop her from teaching this to the younger minds than hers.
But I sat and thought about it for a minute.
First, I thought about what Jesus said about children.
Matthew 18:1-3 – At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Now, please understand me that Jesus is not talking about becoming like children in ways of wisdom, but in innocence.
As adults, we tend to overthink situations so much more than children. If a child is angry or happy or sad they show their emotion and then, unless there is a significant outside influence like abuse, divorce, and death, the child will remember the major points of why they feel the way they do, but the details will be foggy. According to one study, “early emotional experience literally become embedded in the architecture of their brains.” (“Children’s Emotional Development is Built into the Architecture of their Brains,” National Scientific Council on the Developing Child)
While children are imprinting their brains, they simply do not have enough history to distort their realities. Adults, on the other hand, color everything we experience with our past.
Colossians 2:8 – See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
I think of it this way, what is the main thing at church?
When we look at church today, we focus on a lot that is not Jesus.
We package it up as Jesus, but it isn’t Jesus.
Music is great, but music isn’t Jesus.
Small groups are awesome, but they aren’t Jesus.
Mission journeys are needed, but they aren’t Jesus.
But people tend to make them Jesus.
Just like holidays. I think of holidays that celebrate the military or freedom. During those days in church, when freedom or the flag or the military is announced, the applause gets louder, there is cheering, and the church gets a great feeling.
The amount of excitement around those topics outweigh the excitement for hearing about the Savior of mankind.
But let’s look at the Hebrew church for a moment.
By the time the book of Hebrews was written and delivered, there were up to 100,000 Christians inside of Jerusalem. The majority of those Christians were members of house churches, what we would consider either a small group or an underground church. Most of those house churches had approximately 20-30 adults at it. That means there would be about 4,000 churches in Jerusalem during the distribution of the book of Hebrews.
The book was written to Christians in Jerusalem.
Now, before this letter came to those churches, what did they use? They used other letters.
So when the messenger brought the Letter to the Hebrews to the first church in Jerusalem around 60 AD, there were still 3,999 other churches that had yet to hear this amazing book!
The churches would spend all night studying the Word. They would consume it!
Matthew 4:4 – But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
We don’t consume the Word.
We consume the music. We consume the fellowship. We consume the opportunity to serve those who don’t have as much first world stuff as we do.
But we don’t consume the Word.
The church in Jerusalem consumed the Word.
And they changed the world.
They were able to affect people across several generations.
And they were able to build a foundation for faith throughout further generations.
They consumed the Word with an innocence and excitement similar to how my daughter shared the Word as she understood it with those younger kids.
Then God sat back and said to Himself; “You know, I’ve planned that men are to be the pastors and preachers and teachers, so I guess it’s okay to hinder the little girls from knowing too much, there has to be something their husbands can teach them when they grow up to be wives and mothers. That’s why if they want to know anything, they must be silent at church and ask their husbands when they get home.”
Jamie, I never once spoke about a male-only theological basis. My daughter is young and has no experience with theology. That was the point. It is sad that you feel you must troll my site looking for any reason to speak your mind.
You might as well start her off young, being told the Biblical truth and all. You wouldn’t want to let her get a crazy notion in her head like she could be a pastor. That way she won’t be disappointed when she’s all grown up. Truth isn’t “trolling”. It’s sometimes inconvenient and ugly – but that’s Christianity for you. Better to spare her the pain than to let her down.
You evidently have not read much of my blog lol. Unfortunately, lack of education can happen in both genders, you are showing your lack of wisdom right now by attacking something and someone you haven’t even taken the time to understand. I understand you are only trolling for the soundbyte, but it makes you come off as bitter and argumentative.
Go on … assign some motive … spin some tale of woe to explain it as if you know my thoughts or reasoning or who I am better than I do.
Or just listen. It’s hard, I know. It’s far easier to say “obviously, a troll, nothing to see, moving on” and dismiss a person or their point. But I’m also a devil’s advocate – I argue for the other side. So, convince me.
Convince me that little girls should learn theology because they can become preachers and teachers and the Bible says that they won’t have to remain silent or in submission.
You want that? That’s fine. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s start a dialogue in an appropriate manner.
Great post. Thank you for taking me on that journey with you!
I think that your article begs the question,
“If Jesus isn’t music, mission trips, or small groups, then what is he?”
Hi Tyler, thanks for reading the post. Jesus is the second person if the Trinity, fully God and fully human. He is the Word, the Creator. He is the embodiment of love. Not love as the world knows it, but Divine love. All of those other things are ways in which we show love as humans, but none of those other things are God.