Monday, October 29, 2012

The Gospel Project...assessed

A few weeks  ago Trevin Wax, Managing Editor of TGP, noticed a comment of mine that I had not had an opportunity to read any of TGP materials and offered to send me the next quarter's materials to read.

I appreciated the offer and have had them for some time now. If it was noticed that I posted no blogs at all last week the reason was that I took the week to plow through all the adult, student, and children's Gospel Project literature.

Not really...but I do recall last Wednesday giving it a fleeting thought while catching some really nice saltwater trout at an undisclosed location on the Atlantic coast.

I scanned TGP materials a couple of weeks ago and here are my thoughts on them:

What I read looked fine. I found nothing untoward or inappropriate. I uncovered no rabid calvinists lurking between the pages. There was nothing that I would have objected to were I still a pastor and some Sunday School classes in my church were using the curriculum.

One might consider that TGP is the most scrutinized product LifeWay has ever produced with the possible exception of the controversial Genesis commentary decades ago. Thus far, all of the dedicated scrutinizers have pointed to the writers of the literature and not the writing itself.

I thought Eric Hankins' critical evaluation of the overall approach to the curriculum made some good points but no one has pointed to any 'aha' 

LifeWay says TGP subscriptions far exceeded their estimates. They should send some of the anti-calvinist bloggers Outback gift cards for widely publicizing the literature and generating a lot of free marketing and street buzz. Priceless.

Every decade or two, seems to me, we get a new iteration of the latest, greatest, red hot new Sunday School curriculum. TGP fits the pattern. I see it as not being any more Biblical than the others that LifeWay publishes. It may fit better for some churches and pastors and some may look and say, 'No thanks.' Not that any denominational folks need a reminder, but churches and SBCers get to choose where they spend their literature dollars. Let each make their choice.

This semi-retired pastor recognizes that the most salient item about any dated literature are the writers. I predict that TGP, like the other dated curricula, will have some that are very good and some that miss the mark.

LifeWay sells stuff. They had better come up with new products and improved output or SBC churches will find what they like elsewhere.

LifeWay should ask David Hankins or another notably non-Calvinist to write a quarter's worth and see how that is received...but what do I know about selling literature to churches? 

I hope The Gospel Project has success.

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