The New Christians

The New Christians


Beck Responds to DeRose

posted by Tony Jones

Over at Experimental Theology, Richard Beck has responded to Keith DeRose’s post, “Really Believing in Hell.”

Money Quote:

Going back to Keith’s post, my hunch is that hell is most terrifying
for children in the Concrete Operations stage. In this stage children
have the concrete, logical ability to work out the calculus of
salvation and damnation. Abstractions such as grace are beyond them,
cognitively speaking. A concrete punishment/reward calculus better
suits the cognitive stage they are in. And by doing the theological
math unattenuated by abstractions such as grace most Concrete
Operational children conclude they are doomed to hell.

Nota bene to children’s and youth pastors: read the post and read Piaget.



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Nonnymous5

posted January 9, 2009 at 12:57 pm


I’ve read Piaget. And a host of others. I was the Mother of a “gifted” child. A prodigy, actually.
My once four-year-old once asked eighteen different priests/preachers/elders “Did God create evil?” Only one had an answer for her. And, no, we had nt prompted her. She had come up with this one on her own. Cognitive ability, logic, reason, et al are often found in infants…much to their parents initial delight, pride…and dismay.
Not all kids are the same. The extremely sensitive child is abused by the concrete notion of a fire-and-brimstone hell (and the Protestant insistence that you are going there, do not pass go, do not collect $200. unless you Roman Road it) and we do them a great violence by teaching them such (with spurious images of things unseen… now which commandment was it that asked us not to make such images???)… And this sensitivity waxes and wanes as the child grows and changes. Many parents miss it.
Children can understand Grace, It depends on how it is taught, modeled, fostered, shown. I’ve raised 2 children and I’m the GrandMother of three Boys. I interact with them almost daily. Showing them Grace is something they actually get from the time they are very, very little.
Kids are smarter than you think. Why else would Jesus welcome them and bless them and tell US to be as they are in faith?
I do not deny the existence of hell, but I would rather my Little Ones concentrate on the existence of God and their need of Him and His Grace; that they are born into His Covenant Family; baptised into His Church; and that He sent His Son to defeat sin and death so that they could have right relationship with Him. There is plenty of time to talk about sin and the personalness of that in their lives. Later.



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