Saturday, May 3, 2008

Book Review: Will Our Children Have Faith

The Christian Church, Protestant and Catholic alike are failing in their attempts to conduct proper Christian education. This statement is what John H. Westerhoff III would say in his book Will Our Children Have Faith? In observing the Church’s movement towards a brand of Christian education that begins and ends with a small Sunday morning class outside of worship, Westerhoff notes that this form of Christian education is weak and outdated. The author tries to move people into an understanding of Christian education as something that does not educate on the basis of facts and definitions. He wants the Church to leave its current paradigm in which he calls the schooling-instructional model. Westerhoff sees God calling people into a community that acts as a transforming agent to bring forth the community of Jesus Christ. He wants to see the Church as the body that helps people to live out their lives above and beyond the institutions and societal barriers that they face in the world. This is done through communal participation and discipleship that form faith.

Personally I find the book accurate in its depiction of the current trends of Christian education. It speaks to a vital component of the Church that must be constantly evaluated while seeking contextual relevance. Where I think he lacks in his book as often many theoretical books do, is in offering practical examples to springboard from for those moved by his argument. It is however a very good read and I would definitely recommend it.

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