Ephesians 4:14: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
It is that time of year again when the advertisements for Vacation Bible Schools (VBSs) start showing up on church marquees. Unfortunately, the VBSs are only as good as the churches that sponsor them.
Many of the churches that sponsor VBSs are either unclear, inconsistent, or just plain wrong on the subject of how one receives eternal life. As such, they are completely unsuitable for teaching God’s word to anyone, including our children.
A couple of years ago, we featured an article on summer Bible camps and VBS, which is linked below. We still believe it provides a useful framework for evaluating these programs.
In addition to the Biblically unsound churches that sponsor VBSs are the commercial purveyors of VBS supplies to the churches. I recently came across one such purveyor whose complete list of “frequently asked questions” was as follows:
- What Bible translation does Group VBS use?
- Is Group VBS associated with a denomination?
- What are God Sightings®?
- Is there a missions component to your VBS programs?
- How do preschoolers tie into Group VBS?
- How can I easily manage my VBS?
- Who do I contact if I have questions or issues?
- What are the main differences between the programs?
- Do I have to follow Group’s suggested format?
- Where can I go to find decorating ideas?
- How many volunteers do your vbs programs take?
Please note that none of the questions had anything to do with how one receives eternal life. When I drilled down into the first question regarding Bible translation, I was dismayed to find that they use exclusively the NLT (New Living Translation), which contains a lot of error that is central to the gospel message. I also find it astounding that a company would actually purport to trademark “God Sightings”!
I would strongly advise against allowing your children to go to any VBS sponsored by a church that is clueless, careless, or callous.
Clueless means any church that is not absolutely clear regarding the gospel message. That would include any church that teaches salvation by works, either directly or by implication. It would include any church that teaches that water baptism or public confession of Christ are required to receive eternal life. Or, that eternal life can be lost or forfeited. And, it would include any church that insists that “a true Christian will ___.”
Careless may mean that the church is affiliated with a group, such as the Southern Baptist Convention or the Presbyterian Church USA, that distorts the gospel message. It might also mean that the church allows the teaching of books like “The Fan,” that contradict the gospel, or that the church allows false teachers, such as Charles Spurgeon or Billy Graham, to be quoted favorably.
Callous means that the church isn’t really concerned whether or not your child has eternal life. Instead, they may be focused on promoting false social gospels, on ill-conceived missions, or on the performances of good deeds.
Of course, in order to be able to determine whether a church, or its VBS are sound, you must know the gospel and be well-grounded in it.
If you would like to know where to start click here: The Gospel