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Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids?: How Moralism Suffocates Grace [Kindle Edition]

Samuel C. Williamson
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

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Book Description

How do we make grace part of Christian living? Does Sunday School encourage discipleship and teach our children faith?

People in the world often reject Christianity simply because they can't distinguish it from mere morality. The world needs morality--oppression thrives when consciences are abandoned--but we need more than that alone. We need the gospel of grace. A gospel that has largely been lost amid the dos and don'ts and preoccupations of religious culture.

12 Essays on the Distinction Between Grace and Morality

Includes perspectives on topics such as:

  • Why Do Our Children Leave the Church?
  • Graceless Goodness: The Problem with Moralism
  • The False Gospel of “Just Do It”
  • The Temptations of Christian Publishing
  • The Ugliness of Religious Righteousness
  • The Insidious Danger of “I’d Never Do That”
  • We Read the Bible the Wrong Way

Comments from Readers

I like what Sam Williamson has to say about how good people—people like us—may be piling burdens on our children they can't possibly bear. Has the good news of the gospel magically morphed into bad news for them? Read Sam's provocative new book to find out.
Ann Spangler, Author, Praying the Names of God (and many other books)

These days we hear so much and think so little. We consume without digesting and then wonder why our body is acting strangely. In this book, Sam helps us look carefully, graciously, and wonder-fully at the Gospel and the beliefs of our heart.
Gary Barkalow, founding director of The Noble Heart, and Author, It’s Your Call.

This has got to be one of the best books on raising Godly children (or simply new believers) I've ever read. Thank you. –Brian
This is as clearly and as beautifully communicated as I have heard the Gospel for a long time. –Bob

This is such an excellent read!!! I wish all Christians could read it. What a great blessing to see this truth presented in a way that it is so easily understood. Thank you for this thoughtful book. – Linda

This is a fitting warning that Christian education could fall into moralization (and idolizing "heroes of faith"). The same warning is applicable even to the whole teaching/preaching ministry of many churches. – Ray

From the Book

People often pit grace against moralism. And they should. Moralism circumvents heart-changed morality. We need moral men and women, but moralism damages the foundation of heart-change.

It's okay to pit grace against moralism, but let's not pit grace against morality. Grace is the source of real morality, and grace--thank God!--breaks the bars of moralism that imprison us.

Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids? exposes moralism for its false pretensions--the sham that it is--and it moves our hearts to believe the gospel, for the first, or the hundred-and-first, time.

Available in Print and eBook Editions

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Product Details

  • File Size: 1909 KB
  • Print Length: 104 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1941024009
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Beliefs of the Heart Press (January 28, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00H5C7GB2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,663 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Sam Williamson comes from a long line of pastors and missionaries and is a teacher and a writer. After spending 25 years in the business world he founded Beliefs of the Heart a group whose mission is `to help us examine the unexplored convictions that drive us. Why do we do what we do? What unseen forces motivate us? What is going on beneath the surface?' Of note he made the recent statement: `I studied at the University of Michigan in the 1970's (like, before indoor plumbing). I joined a campus ministry that emphasized community, the Holy Spirit, and outreach. It was a great group. About one hundred and fifty of us "sacrificed"--believe me, it was a sacrifice--to live in the dorms all four years for the sake of outreach. We roomed, did laundry, and shared meals alongside nonbelievers (of which there were two or three). Our evangelism efforts focused on leaders. We felt that if we could bring the gospel to these natural leaders, they would invite friends and become leaders in our ministry. So we purposely befriended students in the honors program, sports team's leaders, those in pre-med and pre-law, and significant influencers in our dormitory houses. I'm ashamed to admit, we called our strategy, Selective Evangelism. What was the result? Let's put aside, if we can, the obvious Biblical flaws with our strategy (man looks on the outside while God looks on the inside). What culture did Selective Evangelism create? The leaders we cultivated were innately disciplined; it takes self-will to excel at academics and sports. When these leaders joined us, they brought their native discipline to Christianity, and they created a culture of discipline. This discipline helped thousands of students. Read more ›
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem of a Book! December 10, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a must-read for every Christian, whether they are a new convert or a seasoned saint! Sam Williamson has been blessing my life for a long time now through his Beliefs of the Heart website. I have found his writing to be both gospel saturated and balanced (which is not as easy to find as you might think). This book is no different. He clearly shows that it is the gospel we need, not more to-do lists or moralistic self-help programs. Moralism is a soul killer. We are ALL prone to forget the gospel every day and if we do so for long enough we will either fall into moralism or license. In February of this year (three days before my 42nd birthday) I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am a married mother of two young boys and I was devastated to put it mildly. But, looking back, it was a blessing in disguise because God has used the whole gut-wrenching ordeal to bring me to the end of myself and to show me how faulty my foundation really was (and still is in many ways). Since the day of my diagnosis He has been bringing me back to the glorious gospel over and over again through books and sermons written by people who "get it", people like Sam Williamson. This book is a tremendous tool that I know God will use in my life and in the lives of countless others. In fact, before I even finished reading the Kindle edition, I ordered a hard copy. I plan to pour over it until the Holy Spirit cements the truths it contains deep into my heart. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book sticks a cattle prod up your *ss! December 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Sam has written a ZINGER of a book! If you are expecting bland, standard fare "christian-ese writing", you will be disappointed. IF, however, you are looking for some refreshing, straight ahead, slap in the face writing, sprinkled with Sam's quick wit, you will be delighted. Read it. Take it in. And let it stir you. It's THAT good.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read! December 10, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a must read for any parent, Sunday School teacher, or Christian School teacher. Actually, don't constrain it to that. It is simply a must read for any person who struggles with sin and can't overcome it on their own accord (which is all of the human race). I wish I had read this book when I was raising my four young children. Thank you for a direct and clear presentation of Gospel truth!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking December 9, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
A very though provoking book. Every chapter provided a different and refreshing perspective on on how I viewed the Christian life. I was challenged, moved, or struck by something the author said on almost every page. I could read this book in one sitting or slowly over the course of many days. This book said things that I needed to hear as a Christian.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buying this one for all my teaching staff at church February 24, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
My degrees are in Christian Education. So as soon as author Samuel C. Williamson asked me to read and review this book I jumped at the opportunity. Could it be that my life's work of the past 32 years has been for naught? Had I led a generation of kids and teens astray?

I had to wonder because some of the kids I'd worked with through the years had not only left church, but had also strayed from the Christian faith all together. Would this book hold the answers for me? Why was this happening?

I enjoyed this book so much that I want every teacher in my church to read it. This isn't a book that slams Christian Education programs in the local church, but a book that explains the difference between the Good News of Jesus and the yolk of moralism that too many churches place upon their parishioners.

On page 71 the author writes: "Our hope doesn't depend on how good we've been...Our hope depends on seeing Jesus."

Are we revealing Jesus in the Old Testament stories? The Old Testament laws are to be a mirror showing us that we simply can't ever be "good enough." This mirror should make us grateful that we have a Savior. We can live in Grace. What freedom!

Fact is, we can never be good enough for God. That's why Jesus came. The message we need to send our kids in the Bible stories is that these people were able to act wise and good, ONLY because God's GRACE enabled them and God's GRACE strengthened them.

God's beauty kisses the beast in us. God's grace is immeasurable and that's the message we should be teaching people of all ages all over the world.

Have I always incorporated this strong and most important message of grace? I'd like to think I have. But perhaps I could have done better.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Grace
I think this book is a good reminder that the gospel is about Grace and not about humans being good, even the "saints".
Published 2 days ago by Kellie
5.0 out of 5 stars A timely discovery
I have received a blessed reminder in grace just as I begin "learning with" preschoolers again in Sunday School. So glad you chose this title- it got my attention!
Published 3 months ago by Fay
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good info
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed
Provided great clarity on topics such as grace, moralism, and identity that I was confused about. Will be reading and re-reading this great book all throughout my life. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jinwoo Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars It's All About Grace
Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids is a book about grace. It points us back to God instead of towards good works.
It isn't really about Sunday School. Read more
Published 6 months ago by nicolthepickle
3.0 out of 5 stars A needed corrective, but not the whole story
Mr. Williamson (in the interests of full disclosure, is a friend of mine) is a Presbyterian layman, now retired from business and working in various religious causes. Read more
Published 6 months ago by GKC1951
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
This is the most brilliant book I have read recently. I feel like I highlighted almost everything, because everything was wonderfully insightful and thought provoking. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jolene Rodriguez
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking book!
Title caught my eye, and I was not disappointed with the contents inside. Easy, quick read; absolutely worthwhile. Wish I had read this earlier when my kids were younger.
Published 8 months ago by cindy corbin
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
This book is a thought provoking look at yourself and the understanding of the Gospel. It will stir up questions that maybe you should ask yourself.
Published 8 months ago by C. Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Agree
I totally agree with this book. Sunday School and Jr church have taken our children out of the worship service during their formative years and so when they get old enough they... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Barbara L States
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More About the Author

Sam Williamson is the son of a pastor, the grandson of missionaries, a speaker, a writer, and--he hopes--a thought-provocateur. He studied European intellectual history at the University of Michigan.

Finding no jobs in European intellectual history, he spent twenty-five years in the mundane business of business, the last two decades as an executive and owner of a software company.

After his twenty-five year stint in business, he felt called to ministry. He founded Beliefs of the Heart. Its mission is to help us examine the unexplored convictions that drive us. Why do we do what we do? What unseen forces motivate us? What is going on beneath the surface?

Sam and his wife, Carla, live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and have four grown children and an ever increasing number of grandchildren. In his free time he loves sailing, skiing, and scuba diving.

He writes a weekly article on his blog, http://beliefsoftheheart.com/

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