You can also get this book from Kregel, here.
This is not a review, mind you, just some thoughts on Rainer’s interview with Steve R. Parr, author of the book. It is okay to take things away… You know, if you dislike one statement it doesn’t mean you have to throw away the book.
First, the statement I found to be a bit obnoxious.
“I have found that the less conservative-leaning denominations value Sunday school less because they value the Bible less.” (33)
Nevermind the fact Sunday School was started as a school for children in the factories (1780’s) and not to actually teach “the Bible.” Nevermind the fact that conservative is a subjective word. Nevermind the fact that for 1700 years, there was no Sunday School or that Communions and denominations “more conservative” that the SBC regularly devalue Sunday school. Nah, we just to take a swipe at those who do not value Sunday School… assuming that they somehow devalue “the Bible.” We can suggest, perhaps, Rainer and those who practice bibliolatry are really the liberals here seeing as their high view of “the Bible” is not part of Christian Tradition until recently.
But, if I were to take this statement and throw away the book, I’d miss some of the insight suggested by both Parr and Rainer on pages 30-31. Here, these speak about the “dismantl(ing) of the Sunday school in order to move small groups in the churches…” (Parr, 30). Rainer takes this line and issues some well qualified statements that to devalue one above the other is to hurt both. Sunday school works when it is respected for what it is. The same thing with small groups.
From the start, we have to recognize this book is written by a conservative Southern Baptist for other conservatives. Their value on “the Word of God” as well as Rainer’s swipe against “less conservative leaning denominations” may be off putting, but in reading further, I have found that the problems faced by each other in looking at the Sunday school movement.
We should ask ourselves first “why Sunday school?” There are some really good answers to that.
If you take every book whole you are going to choke. If you dismiss every book whole because you don’t like some of the statements found therein, you will starve.
- “Meaningless Worship Condemned” Sunday School Lesson for June 16, 2013 (wordforlifesays.com)
- My First Introduction to God and the Bible (awisewomaninthemaking.com)