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  • Re: Is Sunday School Biblical (Mindy, June 14 2004 at 1:47 AM)
    • Donnie Cruz (no login)
      Posted Jun 15, 2004 4:23 AM


      For now I’m going to respond to your question briefly. Hopefully, I’ll be able to expound or elaborate on this issue later on.

      It would be illogical to discuss “Sunday School” without connecting or relating it to the “worship service.” [Frankly, I prefer the expression “Bible study” or “Bible school” to “Sunday School.” I also prefer the expression “assembly or gathering of the saints” to “worship services.”] In addition, the assembly of the saints would be greatly misunderstood without associating it with the synagogue.

      The word “synagogue” does not appear in the Old Testament except in Psalm 74:8; but it is very frequently referenced (at least 60 times) in the four gospels and in the book of Acts. This is proof that there is a bit of history involved in the development of the synagogue during the intertestament period, as well as during the establishment and the early life of the church. The term “synagogue” is derived from the Greek language and means “to gather” or “to gather together” or “to bring together.” The Hebrew equivalence is “assembly” or “convocation” or “calling together

      Without discussing the historical aspect in detail for the time being, we should note that by the New Testament times, the synagogue was firmly established and of major importance or role in the “religiousness” of the Jewish people. It is noteworthy that the Jewish assembly was [God’s] Word-centered. The meeting was on a particular day, of course, the Sabbath (Saturday, the seventh day of the week). They prayed; they read from the scrolls—the law of Moses and the prophets; they heard a lesson of exhortation. NOTE this one: they did read, sing or chant from the Psalms—with NO mechanical instruments used or accompanying. An offering was taken each Sabbath mainly for the poor. And each synagogue had a ruler(s) or elders—men of age, experience and dedication.

      The New Testament assembly is patterned after or similar to the synagogue gathering format, indeed, WORD-CENTERED. Simply put—the New Testament gathering is also a school of the Bible in itself. The book of Acts (a history of the early church) and the epistles have a lot to say about how the early Christians gathered. They met on a particular day, specifically on THE first day of THE week (Acts 20:7); prayed and read from the scriptures (Acts 2:42; Col. 4:16); sang the word of Christ to admonish and teach one another (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16); heard a lesson of exhortation (Acts 20); gave of their means in a freewill manner (I Cor. 16:2; II Cor. 8:12)—TO HELP THE POOR. They had a plurality of elders and deacons (Acts 14:23; Phil 1:1). As you can see, the nature or purpose of the gathering did not change except for the day of the assembly. And, understandably so, the observance of the Lord’s Supper was instituted as part and for the purpose of the gathering of the New Testament saints (Acts 20:7ff; I Cor. 11).

      So, now, the big question—Is Sunday School biblical? Historical perspectives indicate that the “gathering” or “assembly” of New Testament Christians is WORD-CENTERED, in which studying and learning is already an integral part of “the school of the Bible”—the assembly itself—along with the commemoration of the Lord’s suffering and death, the collection (conveniently on the same day) for the poor and needy. In other words, this form of BIBLE STUDY is already an important part of the “ASSEMBLING OF OURSELVES TOGETHER” that we are not to forsake, EXHORTING [TEACHING] ONE ANOTHER (Heb. 10:25).

      Now, what about the so-called “Sunday School” (say at 10:00 a.m.) that is SEPARATE AND APART from the “synagogue” or assembly to exhort and teach each other (say at 11:00 a.m.)? Well, this Sunday School, a misnomer, would be less questionable if intended as an “additional” Bible study period. Such a study period is biblical in the sense that we are commanded to study anyway (II Timothy 2:15), but not necessarily only on Sunday because it can occur anytime, any day of the week. In other words, a Monday or Thursday or another day or even everyday could be designated as a Bible study period. Remember in Acts 17:11 when “they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures DAILY”? Perhaps, the “Sunday School” should be called instead the “Daily Bible School”—it just happens that the Bible study period on a Sunday is undoubtedly convenient to those already assembled.

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    ...........................THE BOOK

    What Happened at the Madison Church of Christ?

    There are thousands of churches being taken over across America.

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    Madison Church of Christ was a 60 year old church. At one time it was one of the largest churches in the US, and the largest Church of Christ.

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    120 "Deacons" (allegiance unknown)
    2,800 - 4,000 church "members"
    2 "teners" (people who have publicly confessed to have broken all ten commandments)
    Unknown number of "sinners" (This is what the 10 elders call us.)
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