Post at SBC ISSUES Concerning New “Gospel Project” by Lifeway

Today’s Baptist Press features an article introducing a New “ongoing Bible study series for children, students and adults under one theme.

For two separate articles on The Gospel Project, see the following:

Please read the following two articles at SBC Issues concerning The Gospel Project.

A Response to Trevin Wax’s Remarks Concerning The Gospel Project by Lifeway.

An Open Letter to Drs. Thom Rainer and Ed Stetzer and Lifeway Trustees

The Gospel Project is an in-depth and Gospel-centered Bible study designed to help participants examine the deeper theological and missional concepts in the text. It is slated for preorder in June and features a three-year study plan with 13-week units. Each unit uses an age-appropriate voice, depth and course of study.”

This sounds great! Finally an indepth “Gospel Centered Study” from Lifeway that Southern Baptists can trust or can they?

Grateful to be in His Grip!



10 responses to this post.

  1. I followed the links and looked at the sample lessons:

    For Preschool

    “Key Passage: Genesis 1:27
    God knew we would sin and already had a plan to restore our relationship with Him through Jesus Christ”

    Notice that it did not say, “God knew we could sin and already had a plan…”

    I note that it did not say that “God knew we could sin…” but rather that “God knew we would sin …” That is a subtle difference, but that same sentence is repeated in every lesson plan for every age group, and I am assuming that it was phrased that way on purpose.

    For Older Kids

    “Lead kids to open their Bibles and read the verse together. Form teams of two or three. Assign each team a phrase from the verse. Guide each group to create an action to go with its phrase (examples: hop on one foot, special dance move). After a few minutes ask everyone to form a circle with the groups standing in verse order, clockwise. The first group will share its phrase and motion. Everyone will repeat the phrase and motion. The second group will share its phrase and motion. Everyone will repeat the first phrase/motion and the second phrase/motion. Continue until the entire verse is finished. Lead the group to say the verse without the motions.”

    Maybe this is just me, but that seems a little bizarre. Splitting up a verse into tiny parts, hopping on feet, and performing special dance moves? Is this really the way that Southern Baptist churches are teaching their older kids to study the bible? This seems more like tribal dance circles or New Age worship, rather than something designed to engage logical thought processes or to teach the kids how to study the bible on their own.

    For Adults

    “If you listen to children playing long enough, you will eventually hear the recurring cry, “That’s not fair!” While we all have a moral compass that’s skewed in the wiring due to sin, we still have an innate sense of right and wrong, just and unjust, fair and unfair. Apart from the Spirit’s discipline, it is impossible for us to apply these impulses in selfless ways…”

    Apart from the Spirit’s discipline, is it impossible for us to apply right and wrong in selfless ways? That is the Calvinist doctrine of “Total Depravity” or “Total Inability.” Considering that the theme of this lesson was evidence of what we see in creation, this is a rather bizarre claim. Even very evil people will sometimes do selfless things. Regardless, scripture tells us a different story.

    Luk 11:11-13 KJV
    (11) If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
    (12) Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
    (13) If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

    1) According to the gospel of Luke, Jesus said that even evil people know how to give good gifts without the Holy Spirit.

    2) Jesus also said that the Holy Spirit was available for those who would ask. God does not give someone the Holy Spirit against their will, but the person must be willing to ask. That seems to directly contradict “Total Depravity.”

    Bob already noticed this in an earlier post, that Total Depravity is the foundational cornerstone of Calvinist theology. If this is slipped in from the beginning, then we can anticipate what will follow in future lessons.

    …If thou do well, shall thou not be accepted? but if thou do not well, then Total Depravity lies at the door, and unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shall rule over the TULIP.

    Other Concerns

    There are other concerns with adopting standardized lesson plans. There is a safety when Christians act as individuals and study the scriptures for themselves. This is considered “more noble” than being kept in line with a standardized theology or catechism. Christians should be studying for themselves from many different angles and then speaking with each other (Malachi 3:16, Acts 17:11)

    If someone is going to teach in front of a group, I think they owe it to themselves and that group to have studied the subject for themselves. The preparation itself is a valuable learning process. I have seen too many teachers that relied on “lesson plans” but were otherwise unprepared and not knowing the scripture.

    The church is not supposed to be a a factory environment where we try to reduce “wasted time” by cutting down on the amount of required preparation. The preparation is the most valuable time, and the goal should not be to make sure everyone across the world reads the same commentaries.


  2. Andrew,

    Thanks for your response. There are concerns when “standardized lesson plans” are adopted… perhaps but there are benefits as well. In a perfect world, the members of the SS classes do study the material for themselves… but unfortunately that is not done to the degree that it ought to be and teachers ought to understand more about what it is they are teaching than they do… so using a uniform program of study that is well prepared has its benefits and that is why Southern Baptists developed the Sunday School Board in the first place.

    Your standardizing position has nothing to do with the reason I object to the material. Your initial response is why I object and I do not even object Lifeway printing and selling the material as long as it is properly noted as Reformed Material. I doubt that will be done and there is where my problem lies.



  3. Posted by wingedfooted1 on January 19, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Gospel Project = Calvinist Project
    T4G = Together for Calvinism

    Calvinism, Reformed Theology, the Doctrines of Grace……..

    How many descriptions or titles can Calvinists give it so their unsuspecting audience won’t catch wind of it?

    For the vast majority of mankind, Calvinism is the worst news possible.


    • wingedfoot1,

      You seem to think there’s some kind of conspiracy by Reformed folk to keep their theology a secret. That’s quite preposterous.


      • Posted by wingedfooted1 on January 19, 2012 at 9:34 pm


        Not at all, just observation.

      • wingedfoot1,

        This is from the T4G site:

        The Gospel is the joyous declaration that God is redeeming the world through Christ (Matt 1:21; Luke 1:68; Eph 1:7; Col 1:20), and that He calls everyone everywhere to repent from sin and trust Jesus Christ for salvation (Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38; 17:30).

        Each of us has sinned against God (Rom 3:23), breaking his law and rebelling against his rule, and the penalty for our sin is death and hell (Rom 6:23). But because He loves us, God sent his Son Jesus (John 3:16; Eph 2:4; 1 John 4:10) to live for his people’s sake the perfect, obedient life God requires (Rom 8:4; 1 Cor 1:30; Heb 4:15) and to die in their place for their sin (Isa 53:5; Mat 20:28; 26:28; Mark 10:45; 14:24; Luke 22:20; John 11:50-51; Rom 3:24-25; 4:25; 1 Cor 15:3; 2 Cor 5:21; Eph 5:2; Heb 10:14; 1 Pet 3:18). On the third day, He rose bodily from the grave (Mat 28:6) and now reigns in heaven (Luke 22:69; 24:51; Heb 8:1), offering forgiveness (Eph 1:7), righteousness (Rom 5:19), resurrection (Rom 8:11), and eternal blessedness in God’s presence (Rev 22:4) to everyone who repents of sin and trusts solely in Him for salvation.

        Is there anything in the above that a) you disagree with and b) is deceptive?

      • If T4G are Calvinists, then that was extremely deceptive.

        Each of us has sinned against God (Rom 3:23), breaking his law and rebelling against his rule, and the penalty for our sin is death and hell (Rom 6:23). But because He loves us…

        That statement is completely incompatible with “Limited Atonement.” They are being extremely deceptive by changing their meaning of the word “us” from one sentence to the next…

        1) In the first sentence, the “us” means “every person who ever lived or will live.”
        2) In the second sentence, the “us” means “only the secret group of elect.”

        I don’t want to bother pulling that apart any further. Yes, assuming that T4G is a Calvinist site that believes in Limited Atonement, then that was deceptive.

      • Sorry Andrew. I just don’t see the issue there and certainly see no deception. The statement is perfectly consistent with standard Reformed theology, including LA. I think many of you non-Reformed folks see a conspiracy behind every theological tree. Maybe it’s because we Calvinists totally live in in your heads. Some of us call it OWCD.

  4. Gentlemen,


    The post is about Lifeway’s plan to promote and sell a Reformed Curriculum and all I am saying is make that information available to the churches who are looking to Lifeway for quality products that reflect their theological positions. That is fair for Reformed churches looking for good literature and fair for non-Reformed churches looking for good literature for them as well.

    This is Lifeway we are talking aboutm an entity that has been providing literature to Southern Baptist churches since 1891. The 85% that sits in the pew who are not reformed needs to understand that this new program is Reformed literature, written by reformed individuals. That is my point. Period.



  5. This is really not hard or difficult. DO NOT BUY the Life Way literature. Everyone has an agenda, especially the leadership in Lifeway. Look at their liberal past. If you use the Bible, instead of a book, the children will learn that there is only ONE Book, that you can count on. AS FOR ME, I will use the God agenda, the Bible’s words.


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