(illustration by Holly Garcia)
As summer vacation time rolls around, I am reminded of the legion of camps and vacation Bible schools being offered by “churches” of every stripe. And, since there is so much false doctrine being promulgated from the pulpits, books, and websites of “Christian” ministries, it stands to reason that their camps and vacation Bible schools would follow suit.
Christian camps and vacation Bible schools can be a great way to train our children in Biblical doctrine, but not if they are doctrinally aberrant – particularly with respect to the gospel message.
As alluring as it may be to give the kids a nice, wholesome getaway (not to mention giving the parents a break from the kids), we should be cautious where we send them.
Most parents would not even think about sending their children some place where their physical safety would be a concern. This vigilance should extend to children’s spiritual well-being. We should not send our children to church camps or VBS without knowing EXACTLY what they are being taught, and whether or not it lines up with scripture. Otherwise, our precious children may be being fed a diet of theological poison, without our being aware. This could have serious long-term consequences.
Some good up-front questions to ask yourself would include:
- Do I know what the gospel is? If you are not sure, click the link below:
- Do my kids know the truth of the gospel?
- Do I know what the false gospel of Lordship “Salvation” is? If not, click the link below:
- Who is the sponsoring organization, and what are their beliefs?
- What print and other media are being used?
- Who prepared those media, and what are their beliefs?
- Who are the teachers and counselors, and what are their beliefs?
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If the sponsoring organization, materials, or teachers are not crystal clear on the doctrine of salvation, then sending your kids to their camps or vacation Bible schools would be ill-advised.
The camps and VBSs are often packaged with clever themes, focused on fun and adventure, or some special interest. Those that are teaching false doctrine will not advertise that, because most of the time they don’t even know.
I have come up with several examples of false doctrine that one may encounter in camps and vacation Bible schools, and have chosen to illustrate those with the following fictitious offerings:
- Camp Sherlock: Join Holmes and Watson on a Journey of Fruit Inspection
- 19th Hole Christian Golf Camp: Shooting Par for Salvation
- Social Media Evangelism: Lordship Salvation Proof Texting
- Green Missions: Become Equipped to Save Planet Earth!
- All Aboard! Choo Choo the Meat and Spit Spit the Bones on the Ecumenical Soul Train
- Camp Vegas: Salvation Roulette and 21 Reasons Why Christ is not Enough
I used hyperbole in the above examples to make a very serious point. We should stay away from false teachers, and we should keep our kids away from them too. If we don’t know whether or not a teacher is sound, we should not use our kids as guinea pigs.