Educational Ministry of the Church - Lesson 11


Tailoring curriculum by taking into peoples' physical and spiritual developmental stages can make teaching more effective.

Gary Parrett
Educational Ministry of the Church
Lesson 11
Watching Now

Continuity: When do we teach what?

Part 1

I.  Developmentalism

A.  Spiritual Development

B.  Developmentalism

1.  God's Design

2.  Resources

a.  Created to Learn, William R. Yount

b.  Nurture that is Christian, Wilhoit and Dettoni

C.  Cognitive Development - Piaget

1.  Sensorimotor (0-2)

2.  Preoperational (2-7)

a.  Preconceptual

b.  Intuitive

3.  Concrete Operations (7-11)

4.  Formal Operations (12-15)

D.  Faith Development - Fowler

1.  Primal (0-2)

2.  Intuitive-Projective (2-6)

3.  Mythical-Literal (7-11)

4.  Synthetic-Conventional (11-22)

5.  Individuative-Reflective (Young adult)

6.  Conjunctive (Middle adult)

7.  Universalizing (Older adult)

E.  Stages of Moral Reasoning - Kohlberg

1.  Preconventional (4-10)

a.  Concern with obedience and punishment

b.  Concern with satisfying needs

2.  Conventional (10-13)

a.  Desire for "good boy" or "good girl" image

b.  Concern for law and order, duty, and respect

3.  Postconventional (13+)

a.  Concern for legitimate rights of the individual

b.  Concern for ethical principles

  • Seven questions that provide a framework for choosing and implementing curriculum.

  • Our misconceptions about Christian education can cause us to choose poor or inaccurate content and use ineffctive strategies.

  • The three essential tasks of the Church are worship, outreach and teaching.

  • Christian formation focuses on the process of becoming more like Christ.

  • Instructions for spiritual education from passages in the Old Testament and New Testament.

  • History of Christian education from the early church to modern Sunday school.

  • The Heidelberg Catechism provides essential elements for a Christian education curriculum.

  • The Torah contains the essence of what God wants us to know. Jesus clarifies and exemplifies the Torah.

  • A CORE curriculum should be Comprehensive, Orthodox, Reforming and focused on Essentials. Delivery systems may include bible studies, small groups, Sunday school and sermons.

  • The Ten Commandments are the basis for Old Testament Law and the core teaching of the New Testament.

  • Tailoring curriculum by taking into peoples' physical and spiritual developmental stages can make teaching more effective.

  • Tailoring curriculum by taking into peoples' physical and spiritual developmental stages can make teaching more effective.

  • A key element for effective education to take place is for teachers to know their students relationally.

  • Effective teachers know their audience and avoid attitudes and expressions that would create obstacles to communication.

  • Asking the right questions about the curriculum and the audience can help you identify what information to emphasize and how to present it effectively.

  • How you define teaching determines content and strategy.

  • Effective teaching engages the whole person.

  • When preparing curriculum, an effective teacher will take into account both the content and the audience.

  • Many people fill the role of teacher in your life at different times and in various ways.

  • Christian education involves recruiting, training, modeling, organizing and supporting people who volunteer to teach.

  • Being trained in skills for conflict resolution helps you to have realistic expectations and gives you the tools you need to effectively resolve situations as they arise.

Through this course, you will gain a deep understanding of the educational ministry of the church, its foundations, principles of teaching and learning, and the development of an effective educational ministry. You will also explore strategies for different age groups, including children, youth, and adults, and learn how to address contemporary issues such as cultural relevance, technology, media, and special needs inclusivity.

Educational Ministry of the Church 
Dr. Gary Parrett 
Lesson Transcript


All right. Well, what I'd like to do now is move from the what question to the wind question and the issue of continuity. We'll touch on this briefly and then tomorrow move to the issue of whom and congruence on the when. Question two or three different sub questions that we're asking here. One of the questions is when are we encountering this person on the spiritual journey? Where are they on their own journey and how much do they know already? How familiar are they with Christ? And how can we build on what's already known? How can we prepare them for what's to come? That's part of the continuity issue. The other piece of it is how can we achieve just better sense of cooperation in the life of the church so that from one age to the next we're building on we're in in for it reinforcing. We're preparing, as I mentioned earlier, part of the the key issue for me is the issue of transitions, especially from youth to college, college to the life of adulthood, things like that. To get at this right now, I just want to return to and play with a little bit. Couple of things that we just talked about from the Ten Commandments in terms of spiritual development. There are two different places that we would talk about here. One is just development in general will help me answer this question. The other spiritual development, spiritual journey to think about spiritual development and go back to the Ten Commandments for a minute here. And I ask the question, What shall I teach? When and when will I present these truths? Well, think about those two uses of the law we talked about using use and guiding use.


Part of what I will do with the commandments or what I will do with truth has to do with where someone's at in their spiritual journey. So again, law and gospel is the Lutheran idea. If I find someone is on their spiritual journey, let's call it Pre Christ, they're there out of pre Christ, placed on their spiritual journey. Maybe here in sensitivity to where they're at, I present the commandments of God, whether there's the Ten Commandments or some other way of getting at God's requirements. And I presented in this accusing use. I present it to show them sin, to show them their sinfulness. And one application of the wind question would be where somebody out do they know Christ already or do they not know Christ, then they don't know Christ. This is a good time for me to present the commandments in a way that shows them their truth or shows them the truth of their sinfulness. But if they're already in Christ, then I could show them the Ten Commandments in a different way. So here I be looking at it in the second use of the law. Here I'd be looking at it with the third use of the law there in Christ already. Now I'm talking to them about their grateful response to the Lord. That might be one application of the when question. Look at somebody in terms of spiritual development, other applications here outside of discussion of the Ten Commandments we saw last time, a couple of times ago, this whole idea of the way Jesus called his disciples and calling people just to hang out with him for a while, because in their spiritual journey they're seekers. So maybe we teach a seeker by simply building relationships, inviting them to be with us, and we hang out with them a little bit and then we find out if they're ready to come under instruction.


One of the recent ways that this has been done in the church is through something called the Alpha Training Program. Number of you are familiar with this came out of England, I think, and a number of churches now in North America are also using Alpha as a training program to reach these seekers. People who said, Yeah, I want to know about I want to know about Christianity, what's this all about? And it's a combination of components of cognitive teaching with a lot of relational pieces is added as well and some fellowship things. So an alpha program kind of approach to the seeker and all kinds of other sort of discipleship approaches available for the more mature believer. Now I've got somebody in the faith and maybe if they're in the faith and they're at that point where they're hungry to know more about God, then I find another kind of training material out there, something like experiencing God. Experiencing God aims at the Believer, who's motivated to go on with Christ and they're motivated to go on with Christ. And experiencing God from the Southern Baptist teaches them about how to develop a relationship with God in their daily life. That would be an example. Going a bit further. All kinds of ways of thinking. Then along this line of spiritual development, from pre vandalism to informational kind of stuff to basic discipleship, training, catechesis, ongoing training, the other way that we could look upon this, this movement would be to go back to those four terms that we used in class earlier. Our first set of teaching is focused on justification and getting people the gospel and getting them to know. And then we focus on sanctification and then we focus on vocation. And all the while, we keep before their eyes the prize like Paul keeps before his eyes that I press on to lay hold of that which Christ Jesus laid.


Hold on me. I want to know Jesus. I want to be just like Him. That's another way to keep the spiritual development point in mind. So the teacher is paying attention not only to the content that needs to be taught, but I'm also paying and or the goals about what we're aiming at. But I'm also paying attention to where are these people at, what's appropriate for them. And it could give shape to all kinds of ministries or approaches to ministries. But it's not just spiritual development that we're concerned about. We're also concerned about development generally and develop mentalism. This will be the one place where we'll spend a few minutes together here, one of the places where we'll spend a few minutes together just wrestling with kind of what the educational world or the social sciences have unpacked a little bit, unpack a little bit, the concept of how people grow and how do we pay attention to where a person is at in their cognitive growth, in their moral growth, issues like that, in their social development. We'll just look at this briefly, too, and talk about how this might show up. Let me begin by just making a couple of comments about developmental ism in general. There is clearly a growth process in the scriptures. So even though we're looking at this and saying what the social sciences have to teach us about developmental ism, we're not saying that this is not part of God's truth. Developmental ism is a God designed. God designed things to grow and God designed people to grow. So we know it all the way in Genesis one and two. In fact, I think you read about plants with their seeds in them already. The principle of growth is at work.


But just skipping ahead to the story of Jesus, even with Jesus, we find Jesus in Luke Chapter two at age 12, and in the person of Jesus, we find development. So Jesus grows in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and with men. Great place. We could linger Christological for a while, but we won't. And then the New Testament makes much about spiritual development and ongoing growth of believers. And here are a few examples of how development shows up on the pages of Scripture. First Corinthians three Paul talks about developmental sensitivity, relates to the when question relates to the issue of continuity. I was a seed planter, a polis was a seed water, and it changes the metaphor. I laid a foundation. Someone else now is building on the foundation that's developmental ism on the pages of Scripture. So as this, later in first Corinthians, when I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child, reason like a child. But when I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Here's a rebuke, in a sense, to the Corinthians, who ought to have been at a level of maturity, but they weren't there yet. So First Corinthians is full of that. Chapter one He says You do not lack any spiritual dark, but chapter three I can't call you spiritual. You're fleshly. You're like infants in Christ when you ought to be mature. Hebrews five and six. Same thing by now. You should be teaching others, but you need to be taught all over again. Here's a developmental idea as well for Peter to to like newborn babies craves pure spiritual milk so that by it you may grow up in your salvation. And Paul plays with this idea about milk and meat in a little different context, I think, meaning something else than Peter means here.


But Paul says for a young Christian, there is a certain kind of stuff that they can digest and for a mature believer they should be getting to meatier things and deeper things. Oh, and that's actually Hebrews five as well. Anyone who lives on Milk still being an infant is not acquainted with teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature two by constant use of train themselves to distinguish good from evil. Let us therefore leave behind the elementary teachings. So that's not. Paul, I'm sorry. That's the author to the Hebrews. Here's some applications of developmental ism to Christian education. And let me just give you the title of two books here. If you want to read further on this, this one is called Created to Learn by William R Yount. It's a good book, but I was surprised by something here. One time. I remember when I first picked up this book and I was flipping through. This is a major book in Christian education from a very major Christian education publisher, Rodman Horman, Southern Baptist people. And usually they they they put out much of the best stuff, actually, in Christian education. But there is a there's a statement on one of the pages here that just kind of made in passing. It says, as it says in the Sixth Commandment, remember the Sabbath, They keep it holy. You guys have to work through your fingers, wants to find out that none of our three numbering systems have the Sabbath Commandment is number six. And yet there it is right there on the page of a major Christian education book that shows part of our probably a typo or an oversight. But the fact that it made it to print and didn't get cut is interesting.


Same thing happens, though, in the early editions of Walter Kaiser's book, the first book on toward an Old Testament epic. There's a section on the Ten Commandments, and when it's explaining at the bottom of this page, the opening page of the chapter is explaining the different numbering systems. There's a typo in there. I'm sure it's just a typo about the numbering of between the Lutheran system and the reformed system. And it's got it messed up at the bottom That didn't get caught by the editor. Maybe all of this is proof of the fact that we just don't know the commandments as well as we used to. Created to learn by William around another book that's good in this regard is nurture. That is Christian. This is Wilhoit and the Tony Wilhoit working with a different editor, John Bertone. So it's another edited book. It's got some strengths and weaknesses, but this is a good one. Couple of ideas from them. Here's some of the things that they have to say about developmental wisdom and our application of growth and development of persons in all areas of their lives come primarily from inner processes. This is a developmental assumption will challenge some of these assumptions in just a little bit. But the idea is that growth comes from within, not from external causes. And the idea again is that growth is programed by God. So just like a seed, how's life sort of programed into it? We know we even know this from what's all what's happened in the world of DNA and our understanding of that. So much of who we are is already programed in us from the beginning. Internal processes and operations cause growth, development and learning, and we reach stages of growth at certain points in our life when a new kind of growth occurs.


We were just at the dentist yesterday and the dentist was explaining to me how my daughter's teeth are being transitioned from baby teeth to adult teeth. He was drawing me sketches about things. So there's growth that we're program for in some areas of life at certain stages of life. This is an important point from a developmental perspective. The environment contributes to growth and development, but the environment does not cause growth and development. What causes it? Internal processes preprogramed by God, but environment may facilitated or it may hinder. So we have to think about issues of context. When we think about some of these questions, development is an interchange of how one processes experiences that I have. That one is unpacked this way. Development is the internal change from simple to more complex processing ability, and we'll look at that in just a couple of minutes in a specific way. Here are some key developmental assumptions that we'll join into Toni, unpack or discuss. At least these are developmental assumptions. And again, we're going to come back and challenge some of the assumptions from a Christian perspective in a minute. Human beings are more similar than they are dissimilar. That's a developmental assumption, regardless of your context, regardless of what part of the world you grew up in, regardless of your culture, regardless of your environment, we're more similar than we are dissimilar. So some of the same kind of processes that are taking place in me will take place in people across the globe. Human beings will only be human. That's an assumption that there are human patterns of life and we'll all experience them. Human beings are made for growth, but growth may be uneven. We may be made to grow in the same way, but you and I may not grow at the same pace or parts of my life may not develop at the same way that others are developing.


My daughter, for example. Sorry to keep using her, but she's the easiest one that comes to mind. She's eight years old. She's huge. Physically. She's developing very quickly, but she's in a third grade. She just finished third grade. She was the youngest in the class, the tallest in the class, but socially not as developed as some of the other kids because she's younger than them. So unevenness and development patterns of development are in the nature of the person. Some of these are not as significant for me as others, so I'll walk through them quickly. If patterns of development cannot be significantly altered, this one will question, at least if not challenged in just a minute. Another assumption Human beings are integrated holes. So even though we're going to talk about developmental ism in just a minute in various areas, the fact is we are whole people. And to some extent our growth is as a whole person, not as isolated pieces of ourselves. This point is just reiterating what we said above. External environment either enables or hinders development. Notice it doesn't use the word causes development, but enables or hinders development. Development and learning can be thwarted or stalemated. Another way of restating what we said about all of that, sort of just to give you a flavor of developmental assumptions, growth programed into us by God, and it's going to happen. If we're humans, we're going to grow. Unless something comes to really halt that growth or our life is cut off or some physical or environmental thing that challenges it. But here is some things that the Christian brings to the table that maybe the non-Christian social scientist doesn't work with the reality of God. The reality of Scripture particularly important here is Letter D, the reality of Sindh's influence.


Much of developmental thinkers are moving with this idea that people are blank slates and they don't have an eye, a place for sin nature in the equation. So a Christian brings that to it. Christian also brings the idea of personal responsibility and hits this much harder than to a non-Christian mind. You can't just blame this on what's going on inside of you. You're responsible for what's going on in your life. Let me add one to this. The reality of divine intervention when we talk about developmental ism in some applications of that. But the other thing that developmental is don't necessarily have in mind is the idea that the Holy Spirit can break in and there can be divine intervention, sort of jump a person from one stage to another stage or at least stimulate the growth in new ways. Let me show you just two or three applications of this and how that might be applied again, to the ways in which we teach cognitive development, cognitive development. Piaget is one of the key thinkers here, sort of the father of all this developmental stuff in the modern world. Piaget divides cognitive the way we grow in our thinking processes, studied children and divided the processes into four stages or sometimes referred to as great leaps of growth. And these four stages are identified this way. First, there's a sensory motor stage. Ages zero through two. At this stage, a child makes sense of the world, primarily through physical observation, by seeing, hearing and touching. At this stage, a child makes sense of the world, thinks about things through the senses, and an application of this, an object may seem to cease to exist when it's out of sight. So I mentioned this McDonald's, and I don't know if any of you remember the McDonald's that a couple of years ago there was this ad of a baby on a baby swing swinging back and forth.


And when it was in the front position, there'd be smiles and giggles and then it swing backwards and it would weep and cry. And then the the scene shifts to the window. And outside the windows are the golden arches at McDonald's. So when this child swings forward, there is a McDonald's and life is well and good and happy and then swings back. McDonald's is out of sight. Misery sets in and ceases to exist. PJ said, How do I know as an infant why? I know through the senses and there's not a lot of other stuff going on except apart from the senses. Pre operational stage in operation, by the way, is a child's imaginative. Cassidy to envision an object and thought or a logical thought process from ages 2 to 7. In the scheme, people learn through, make it make sense of the world through language and fantasy, learn more through intuition than through logic. Thinking and feeling are tied together. A lot of use of fantasy and imagination to make sense of the world, to process information. In this game, an application is the idea that a child may think the moon follows them when they go for a night walk. Remember that my daughter has said that a number of times would be driving down, driving down the road and she'll say, Daddy, the moon's following us. But the bigger application here is when my daughter was this age, when she was with her kids or with her friends all the time, they're playing, they're playing 90% of the time as imagination. You be so-and-so. Let's pretend you be so-and-so. And that's part of their dealing with information and making sense out of life is through this sense of of imagination. And then for most of our purposes, we're thinking now about these two stages.


Ages seven through 11. In the previous games of concrete operations here, mental logic begins, but is limited to the real and concrete limited to the real and observable situations. So the emphasis here is a child not really is now be able to think logically and based on Piaget's research, but not really able to think abstractly. I think this is an overstatement. I think you can fine abstract thinking very early on in a child, but probably there's a general truth to pay attention here that most people are going to think at a concrete level here. By the way, in Piaget scheme, some adults never get beyond this. So some adults are never able to really think abstractly with you. You have to think very concretely with them. But what a child can do at this age is learn facts very easily, be aware that they'll be very literal. Things will seem black and white, right and wrong. Think about this now and think about applications for teaching. If this is true that the abstract is difficult, but just the facts and accessibility of those facts is easy. And retention of them at the level of memory is easy. What might that imply about some of our teaching of children in the church? What would be good things to be doing? Yeah, give them the facts and let them be embedded in the memory. So if we go to the Ten Commandments, for example, it's a great time to have a child memorize the Ten Commandments, not necessarily wrestle with them as deeply as they'll wrestle with them years later, but they can begin to wrestle with them. More importantly, they can just have that stuff to work with. At this level, I would say this is a great time to memorize books of the Bible.


Memorize statements like Creed or a Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, memorize lots of verses, and in fact, may be a great time to train children, not to memorize individualized verses, but chunks. I'm always disappointed when my daughter comes home from Sunday school and is given a Bible verse for the week that she can memorize in 3030 seconds. And sometimes that one Bible verse is reduced to half of the Bible verse, and she's got it done in 30 seconds. And I'm thinking, Well, you know, she's capable of so much more. Why are we not challenging? I guess it's my duty to do it myself as a home. But I wish that the publishers, Sunday school publishers notorious for under undershooting everybody all along the line from youth to children to adults, find the lowest common denominator and shoot there. And the bar is up here. It's marketing driven. The bar is up here and we're shooting down here all the time. Part of the reason why I wound up as a youth pastor almost never using pre published materials is because I found they were just insulting to the kids I was working with. So anyway, this great time for memorization, maybe even memorization of languages, why not have a little Greek and Hebrew in here? We could do that. I'm serious. We could do that. It's going to be harder when you're older, you know that. The greater application that makes sense to me is the memory itself is is really capable of great things at this age. So let's do it. Maybe I can't get my kids chewing on these truths that profoundly, but if I want them to chew on a profoundly later, one would be much easier if they've got the foundations already part of them.


This is, again, the thing about transmission of content. No, not mere transmission of content, but if you have the content down, are we able to really wrestle with it later? Much more level. So formal operations begin at age 12. We'll come back to the previous stage. Just a minute. Her formal operations begin at age 12. This is the ability to engage in propositional thinking, enables the young person to go beyond the here and now to grasp historical time, celestial space, to comprehend abstract subjects, to think about thinking, to think about thinking is a good definition of what this is about. So here's a stage from this on up. It doesn't mean you never have to teach things at a concrete level now. You still do. There's always new stuff to be introduced to people. How much of the knowledge of the universe do any of us have mastered, by the way? Let's call that 100%. What percent of we got down that much? So there's always new concrete things to be introduced. There's always new things to be engaged through the senses and learn that way. But now we can go beyond. We can start thinking at deeper levels again when we're dealing with these with these developmental thinkers, almost always. But most of the time we're not dealing with Christian thinkers, we're not dealing with Christian values or Christian goals. So this is only one piece of a puzzle. We're going to look at it, see if they've stumbled on to something that may be useful to us. But particularly of importance for us is particularly missing is the content piece. We have to supply the content piece and also the concept piece piece. So yeah, what are we aiming at? It's not just a bigger mind.


We're aiming to transform lives, so we have to supply this stuff. We'll see this in moral development in a minute. These kind of developmental thinkers, this entirely a process focus. It's all about the process. We're focusing on both content and process. So this is only is there a tool here that may help me understand the process? Perhaps. But now we're moving more into another domain domain here of faith development. And the key name here on faith development is James Fowler. And Fowler is a Christian, although a Christian of a mainline more of a mainline liberal background. We would also have problems about the content and the concept when we come to Fowler with Fowler in the areas of faith development, these two books that I put down, you can find all this stuff and those books are a host of other books that talk through these tables. But look at some of these things. This is how people form their faith. And again, Fowler is not concerned about the object of faith. He would say it doesn't matter whether you're a Buddhist or a Christian, you're going to walk through these processes as a as an infant. This is very kind of pre operational pre stage for him. But look at early childhood. Intuitive, projective in emphasis is unimportant. Others, especially parents parents, are primary authorities regarding faith and religion. Child has difficulty divorcing fact from fantasy. If I take this a key person, our our key thought here is who are those key adults in a child's life? And it's the relationship itself that's basically whether they're going to become trusting or non trusting people with a capacity for faith will be linked to how they have related to their parents and how they related to other people.


If parents become go back to our idea about the commandments, the Fifth Commandment, if parents are the first glimpse of God, then a person's understanding of God is going to be shaped by what they see and experience through their parents. And if we translate this in the life of the church, we could also say what happens to our kids when they go to the nursery and what kind of people do they meet in the nursery and what are they greeted with there? Another developmental thinker, Erick Erickson, says that a young child at this stage is wrestling with trust versus mistrust. And based on their relationships with adults, they'll either become trusting people or distrusting people. So the person is critical here in their childhood adolescence. Again, parents, teachers, religious leaders, they are the traditions sort of living in a mythical world. This might be a great time, childhood adolescent to put focus on the story. If we wanted to think of a content piece. The use of the word myth is interesting. We typically don't like to use the word myth when we talk about scripture, of course, but myth can be a word to mean sort of larger or a universal truth. Universal a story, a myth. One definition of a myth is a story that has universal application, a story that has universal application. Well, in a sense, Fowler saying that everybody's kind of forming their myths of life here. This is a time for us to make sure that children are being immersed in our metanarrative in the story of the scripture, and that begins to take shape. Give shape to their life. Related to that, based on some other pieces is the use of the symbol, the the the rituals of life and the and the symbols of life in the home and in the church.


At the adolescent level, a huge thing is the interpersonal relationships and at the adolescent level. And Fowler biggest issues have to do with who are who are my peers. And the key role of, say, in the church, the key role of youth workers and youth minister, this is huge for faith development and Fowler's scene. It's huge because if you take this and put it together with other developmental thinkers. Erick Erickson, again, what a teenager is doing at this time is trying to find their own identity apart from a connection to their parents. So the kind of pushing away to parents, but according that's to find their own identity and they're at a stage in their faith development, according to Fowler, where their faith is shaped by the people they hang out with. So you're pushing away from parents just at a time when you need people so desperately. And I've been realizing this as a youth pastor, how critical my role was praying for my daughter about this. So look at Fowler, look at Piaget and these things. One of the things that takes place here at this stage is people tend to be kind of black and white. And one of the things that causes real tension for an adolescent who is at the black and white stage of faith development is if two of the key people in their life disagree with each other. So if my parents are telling me this is right, but my peers are telling me this is right, that creates a great dissonance within me, it's very hard to process stage four Young adulthood tends to be an age where people are very critical and kind of finding their own way through life. But one of the things that hurts is a loss of the comfort of stage three, because in stage four you realize things are not black and white as much as you thought they were.


And so for some people in stage four, this leads to a real despair, I guess. You know, you're so confident about things as a youth, but now you're sort of despairing. I see this in the church a lot, where young, young people in the church who are just gung ho and on fire for God as teenagers when they got their first job or they've gone through college, they've gone to university, they're still a church, but they're kind of just sort of lost. Sometimes they're struggling, perhaps at this level. Stage five, this is the next step where you sort of learn that black and white do sometimes coexist together and that maybe it's okay that I don't have all the answers to life and that sometimes people who disagree with each other can still have something to contribute to each other. More of an emphasis on tolerance, less of an emphasis on my own rightness about everything. Anyway, I take all of these guys with a grain of salt. There's something useful. It's like they're sort of pointing in a direction, so I want to pay attention to it. But you take it all with a grain of salt. The one I'd really like to just spend a few moments on before we leave. This stock is Kohlberg Kohlberg work in the area of moral development. And I want to look at one more application of the Ten Commandments here and combine the what question with the wind. QUESTION Here's some Kohlberg who did thinking based on research with adolescent boys, and he's asking the question about moral decisions not concerned at all by his by his statements. I think some of them are some of his conclusions belie that, but focused on the process of moral decision, not the content of moral decision.


So it's not what you decide is right or wrong as much as why you decided that was right or wrong. That's what Kohlberg is looking at. So here's here's the here's the let me set this up for you By use of a famous story that Kohlberg uses. It's the hind story. I don't know if any of you ever were introduced to this someplace along the way, but one of the ways that he tried to figure out why do people decide what's right or wrong was by telling a story in the interviews. Story was about a man named Heinz, whose wife was dying of a really rare form of cancer in a small town. And there is it turns out there's one druggist in town who has the drug to make something that would cure Heinz, wife of the cancer. But the druggist can get the drug for X amount of money. He wants to charge much more for the drug. And Heinz doesn't have the money. So Heinz tries to come up with the money. But try as he might, just doesn't have enough money to heal to get the medicine. So the moral dilemma is presented. What should Heinz do? Should he steal the drug? That's the moral question is posed. And then Colbert's interviewers listen to the response. And really the response key is not do they say yes or no, but why did they say yes or no? So here's how it might look. These are the six stages that he comes out with and should hide still the drug. Stage one is letter A here should hide still the drug? No. Why not? Because if he steals it, he'll get in trouble. So why is it right or wrong? Well, punishment versus reward.


It's right or wrong for a young child and Colbert scheme. It's right or wrong based on whether I get punished or not. That's what decides whether it's right or wrong. Stage two should hide. Still the drug. Someone says yes. Why? Because if he doesn't steal the drug, his wife will die and he'll be lonely. So stage two moral thinking is what's in it for me? What's in it for me? What do I get out of it? If I get something good out of it, then of course, I'll steal the drug. That's stage two kind of thinking. Stage three, kind of thinking, Should he steal the drug? Know why? Because if he steals the drug, other people in the town won't like him. They'll look down on him. He'll be an outcast of society. That's stage three thinking, which is a desire to gain acceptance and approval. And if he becomes a thief, he might lose that acceptance. So, no, he should Stage four. Should hide, steal the drug? No. Why? Because it's against the law. Stage four Moral thinking is simply law. Kind of thinking something is legal. Something's not. Something's right. Something's wrong. Black and white. Stage five kind of thinking. Should I steal the drug? Yes. Why? Because the law is unjust. Here is a case where there's something bigger than the law. There's a law that is being violated here. It's unjust for this person to withhold medicine that could save a person's life. Stage five and stage six would both be thinking along those lines. There's something bigger than the law. So just look at these for a minute. Again, they're available in these these books and lots of other C books and general education books. Here's here's the idea for Kohlberg that people, as they grow in their cognitive ability, are also able to grow in their ability to reason morally.


Cognitive growth is essential for moral growth to occur, but cognitive growth does not guarantee that moral growth will occur. So you can look at this and although it says young children may be a punishment obedience level. In fact, some adults are still there. We know lots of adults who think this way, right? Should I do it well? Should I cheat on my exam? Well, yeah, if it helps me get my am. Did ask you to miss that stage too. Well, what's in it for me? Or should I change my exam? No. Why not? Because I get kicked out of school If I did a stage one. Should I change my exam? No. Why not? That's against the law. That's stage four. Should I change my exam? No, because I'm committed to loving God with hearts. All the minus three. That's stage five or six. Something bigger than law. That's guided me. Well, this is the the Kohlberg idea, and it's got some significance for it. It's got some problems. Let me show you the problems. First. Problems especially have been pointed out by some women researchers who said that Kohlberg had a problem when he made his subjects all men. And he looked at this through the eyes of men and and stacked it all up on the men's scale, which is a scale of justice, where a woman's scale, based on Carol Gilligan and other people's research, a woman's scale is not about universal principles of justice, but it's about compassion, it's about community, it's about care. They noticed that when women were asked the same questions about the high story, they asked questions back like, Well, did Hines go to the members of the community and ask for help? So they were asking questions like that, and different sets of questions were pointing to this idea of maybe there is a different scale of what we're aiming at, not justice, but compassion, care, kindness.


So there is a there is a great debate there about this. And from our perspective, again, a huge problem with the fact that Kohlberg is not concerned about content of the moral choice, just the process where I like to apply this. This thing is thinking about the people that we train in our church. What this says to me is indoctrination is not sufficient. So suppose I'm a youth pastor again and I train my kids. You shouldn't have sex before marriage. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Why? Well, because in my youth, Pastor said. The Bible said. So if that's all it is, and I get them simply to repeat it back to me, the right answers. What happens then when they go off to college and they're off at university? And all I told them was, Don't ask why. Just give me the right answer. And now they're off to college in their youth pastors, not their mom and dad aren't there and all kinds of time on their own and a whole society which says, No, this is right, this isn't wrong. This is right, This is good. If I haven't trained them to think more deeply about the why question, to simply indoctrinate them, to give me the right answer, I've set them up for disaster. The real wisdom for us here is in our teaching, indoctrination is insufficient. We have to probe. So if I'm a teacher now, I'm asking my young I'm asking my young adult group. I'm asking them about their you know, their some of the moral dilemmas that are coming up in the world of bioethics, for example. We start talking and they answer with the Christian East kind of answer. Let me ask back. Well, why do you think of them and probe a little bit and see why the thinking is is there because it may turn out to be very shallow and it may turn out to be simply repeating what I think you want me to hear.


So I think about some of these developmental thinkers, just again, remember, if they've tapped on anything wise, I think they've tapped into something that God designed. And the problem is, again, content is not important to some of the developmental thinkers. It's hugely important to us as Christians. I'm not just concerned about whether or not you're moving towards self-actualization or, you know, self-understanding or self, whatever. I'm concerned that you're moving towards Christ likeness and that you're honoring the Word of God, and the Word of God is getting into you. But some good things for us to think about relative to the one question.