Parent Alert 2: What AWANA Leaders are Saying

Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if the AWANA Summit 2007 speakers taught about Jesus and God’s great love for teens, how to have a relationship with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and how important it is to love God’s Word. That did not happen, so this post will be about the talk of Greg Carlson, the second Speaker at Summit 2007.

Palm Sunday session: Greg Carlson (Rorheim Institute director)

• Greg told stories, experiences, situations, but not much Bible until the end.

• Greg Carlson mocked Awana students that do the very things Awana stands for: Bible quizzing, bible knowledge, and scripture memory. Then at the end, Greg promoted memorizing scripture.

• While Greg didn’t outright say memorizing the Bible is wrong, his comments made one doubt the Bible’s ability to be used to know God/Jesus.

MC: It gave me a feeling of hopelessness: if learning the Bible doesn’t work, what else is there?

• Greg kept saying Bible brat.

MC: I understand that just memorizing scripture or knowing lots of trivia about the Bible does not make you a Christian, but to me, Greg’s talk seemed to infer that one was being a Bible brat for memorizing scripture. He would deny this I imagine, but his talk was very ambivalent.

• Greg used the research of Josh McDowell to prove that only 2 of 4 will be walking with Jesus in 10 years. He had kids get in groups to demonstrate the principle. He said some demeaning things which he excused or explained away.

MC: What does research have to do with what God says in the Bible. Is this trying to prove Awana, which has always taught Bible Memory isn’t working; that God’s Word doesn’t work, so they need something else?

The Lord has his own statistics. Read the parable of the sower, Matthew 13:18–23. It sounds like the Word of God takes root in only 25% to possibly 50% of the hearers. There is no inference anything is wrong with the sower or the Word that is sewn.

• At the end, Greg Carlson explains 2 Timothy 3:14–16 (but not verse 13 which tells WHY you need to continue in the scriptures), using the kids in the groups of 4 to give an example of the Josh McDowell research.

MC: It didn’t seem to me that the group illustration connected with the scripture adequately.

• Greg Carlson: 1. Know word in your head; know Jesus Christ as Saviour; what does the Bible say?

MC: Knowing God’s Word in your head? What about “Hiding God’s Word in my heart?”

Greg Carlson: 2. Understand: what does it mean; matter of the heart
3. apply: what does it mean to me.

MC: NO…what does it mean. What is God saying in the passage? Does that apply to me? It is NOT about what I think it means.

• Greg said he made this decision; made God’s Word real to himself; When you choose to obey, God will Show you, he said.

MC: How do you make God’s Word real to yourself?

• Greg would get a bit weepy and his voice would change to real soft at places.

• Greg Carlson repeated this twice and with emphasis: We can do better than that; We need to do better.

MC: We can do better than the Bible? If the Bible doesn’t work, what does? It doesn’t hinge on us. I don’t remember God’s Holy Spirit being talked about.

God tells us clearly in HIS BOOK

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”—Psalm 119:11

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.”—Matthew 22:29

“And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.”—John 5:38

“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”—2 Timothy 3:13

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