Bonzo Teaches Sunday School

Many moons ago a movie featuring Ronald Reagan and a chimpanzee was released under the title, “Bedtime for Bonzo.”  It was a moderate success, and was followed by at least one sequel.

I chose the title for this posting in the hope of shaking some people up, and getting them to think about what it means to teach the Bible.  I do not lift myself above the need, either, as we all need to be reminded periodically of the importance of good teaching.

But, let me take a few moments to define this term, ‘good teaching.’  Because that is really the subject of this posting, and why the title is important.  Before anyone gets upset, I’m not comparing anyone to that of the chimpanzee.  Nor am I saying anyone can do a good job at it, even a chimp.  What I am saying is it is no mean feat to teach the Bible lesson.  Practically anyone could do it, even a sinner who doesn’t know Christ as Savior.  So, in a manner of speaking, I am saying that Bonzo could teach the Sunday School.

All that said, it does not mean the Word will be taught correctly by the sinner, for I do not believe an unsaved person can adequately teach the truths of the Word of God, without the Spirit giving guidance.  However, someone who is unsaved can provide teaching and illustrations that ‘seem’ to be correct.

How can this be?  Although it seems a bit complicated, the answer is really pretty simple and is simply this – most people, including Christians, operate at least some of the time, in the flesh realm, which is easily fooled by fancy teaching and oratory.  In other words, we are swayed by the delivery, and the skill at speaking, and the charisma of the speaker, more then we are at the content of what is being said.

The early church leaders recognized this, and sought to alert believers about the dangers of being swayed by fleshly emotions.  They talked about pride, lust, envy, and other damaging emotions that hinder the gospel.

To put it bluntly – the things of the Spirit, and the things of God, cannot be discerned through our fleshly emotions and feelings.  But, to most people this can be confusing.  To put it to the extreme it means simply – “You cannot gauge spiritual things by how you feel about them.”  You might feel weak, but God may say you are strong.  You might feel strong, and God may say you are really weak.  Going by feelings, or emotions, is not going to take you to the depths of spiritual understanding and wisdom.  The only path to greater depth is prayer and studying the Word of God for yourself.

This sounds so simple, but is it really?  Let’s take a simple example and see if we can understand what this means.  When Christ said, “if anyone will follow Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me,” what does that mean?  Denial of self means we are no longer operating in the realm of the flesh, for the flesh doesn’t want to be denied of anything.  To ‘take up his cross’ implies that our life is not our own, but we are bought with a price, and are therefore guided and direct by Him, not by others, or by what we think.  To ‘follow me’ means our path has been changed from my following my own direction to one where He will direct me.  Sometimes that path leads me to joy and pleasure, but often it leads down a path where I’d rather not go.

Unfortunately, I do not have the space to say much more about this topic, but I encourage you to seek this out for yourself, and see what the early church leaders had to say about it.

One final thought – it’s not someone else’s flesh we are concerned with here.  It is our own fleshly desires that are drawn into question.  We have a full-time job just tending to our own garden, much less trying to cultivate and prune someone else’s.

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One Response to “Bonzo Teaches Sunday School”

  1. Bea McGuire Says:

    I LOVED the very last line of this blog. What a great way to sum it up!! Blessings…..

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