The Centrality of the Bible in Christian Education -- By: Edward L. Hayes

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 126:503 (Jul 1969)
Article: The Centrality of the Bible in Christian Education
Author: Edward L. Hayes


The Centrality of the Bible in Christian Education

Edward L. Hayes

[Edward L. Hayes, Associate Professor of Christian Education, Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary, Denver, Colorado.]

The increasingly marginal role of the Bible in the life of the Christian church is cause for deep concern. Recently Frank E. Gaebelein expressed the uneasy feelings of many: “One of the major problems of Protestantism today is the biblical illiteracy of the laity.”1 In a recent editorial appearing in Christianity Today, neglect of the Bible in the life of the congregations was singled out as a major liability of American Christianity. The absence of the great Bible preaching from the American pulpit and the neglect of sustained Bible study in the pews, according to this leading evangelical journal, reflects the weakening pulse of American Christianity.2

One does not have to look far to document the slippage of the Bible from the center of Christian educational concern. The minimization of the Bible in the Sunday School curricula of major denominations has left its mark on the average man in the pew. It is not the intention in this article, however, to document tediously Protestant biblical illiteracy or to defend the Scriptures from the attack of its antagonists. Rather, it is my desire to set forth as briefly and tersely as possible what I consider to be an evangelical position on the Bible in Christian education. Without pretense to any degree of definitude this statement may, nevertheless, help fill a gap in evangelical writing.

Lest Christian education be labeled “antitheological” or “non-theological,” a close working relationship with Christian theology and theologians must be initiated. If Sara Little is

correct in asserting Christian education to be “a servant and not a master of revelation,”3 then Christian educators must work closely with theologians both in searching for truth and in teaching it in the Christian community.

An affirmation. The Bible functions as the primary source and the only inerrant criterion of truth. The primary source of our theological and educational commitments is Scripture. All opinions on faith and practice are tested by their adherence to the inspired writings. “For Christianity the sourcebook is the Bible,”4 wrote Frank Gaebelein, and the abbreviated Protestant principle which contains a large element of truth is stated by Chillingsworth: “The Bible, I say, the Bible only, is the religio...

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