How Moralism Suffocates Grace

Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids?

People in the world often reject Christianity simply because they can’t distinguish it fromIsSundaySchool 3D mere morality.

The world needs morality–oppression thrives when consciences are abandoned–but we need more than morality alone.

We need the gospel of grace. A gospel that has largely been lost amid the dos and don’ts and preoccupations of religious culture.

But how do we grow in grow in grace without abandoning morality; and how can we be moral without becoming moralistic, and how do we grow in morality through a grace-fueled life?

Join thousand of other readers who have delighted in this short, story-filled, thought-provoking book on grace. Buy paperback or kindle versions on Amazon here.

It’s not just about Sunday school. We can either have a life of drudgery driven by personal performance, or we can have a life overflowing with joy. It’s a book about the lessons we speak to ourselves everyday, and then we speak the same suffocating messages to our children.

How can we live lives ourselves that will stir our children to desire the same joy-filled, grace-overflowing life of wonder?

Buy now: Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids?

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What people are saying:

This is the best book I’ve read in a long time (and I read a lot of books). — LH

This is the most brilliant book I have read recently. I feel like I highlighted almost everything, because everything was wonderfully insightful and thought provoking … Thank you very, very much for this substantial book. — Jolene

When I first saw this book, I missed the subtitle, “How Moralism Suffocates Grace”, and thus almost missed one of the best books I’ve read in a l-o-n-g time. Sam writes like he is talking, making him interesting and easy to understand and follow. This book explores why so many of us fall in love with Jesus, and then build structures of rules for ourselves and our children – or our friends and co-workers – to follow. Then we wonder why our children don’t follow the Lord. Sam balances love and law instead of excluding one of them. And he keeps the focus on Jesus. — AR

This book is a must-read for every Christian, whether they are a new convert or a seasoned saint! Sam Williamson has been blessing my life for a long time now through his Beliefs of the Heart website. I have found his writing to be both gospel saturated and balanced (which is not as easy to find as you might think). This book is no different. He clearly shows that it is the gospel we need, not more to-do lists or moralistic self-help programs. — Michelle

This is a must read for any parent, Sunday School teacher, or Christian School teacher. Actually, don’t constrain it to that. It is simply a must read for any person who struggles with sin and can’t overcome it on their own accord (which is all of the human race). — Suzan

I enjoyed this book so much that I want every teacher in my church to read it. This isn’t a book that slams Christian Education programs in the local church, but a book that explains the difference between the Good News of Jesus and the yolk of moralism that too many churches place upon their parishioners. — Karla

Popular quotes from Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids?

The wonder of the gospel is not the love of the beautiful; it’s that Beauty kisses the Beast.


The wonder of the gospel is not the love of the beautiful; it’s that Beauty kisses the Beast. The Beast isn’t loved because he has changed; the Beast is changed when he is loved. Joy doesn’t come when he’s loved for his beauty; joy overwhelms him when he is loved in his hideousness.

Most religions believe in mostly the same moralities. So what distinguishes Christianity? We need the gospel. The gospel exceeds mere morality.

In the Garden of Eden, God gave one rule. It would fit on a Chinese fortune cookie: Don’t eat from that tree. And we blew it. Do we really think God said to himself, “I know the problem with the Bible so far: it doesn’t have enough rules”?

Why do so many people—with incredible conversions—parent children who leave Christianity?

Our kids reject Christianity because they can’t distinguish it from mere morality.

Why do we paint our biblical heroes more heroically than the Bible does? Hiding the faults of our heroes robs us of grace. That’s why the Bible doesn’t hide them.

The message of the gospel—the entire storyline of Scripture—is God’s loving pursuit of people who run from him as fast as they can and who live lives unworthy of his love. That’s why it’s called grace.

God didn’t come to earth to give us more moral blueprints or doctrinal design plans. He shed his blood to make us friends, co-laborers in his construction project. God wants friends, not independent contractors.

Self-reliance on willpower has only two results: misery when we fail or smugness when we succeed.

Like Yellowstone, grace is an ecosystem with interdependent parts. When Yellowstone got rid of its “bad” animals, the good animals began to die too. Similarly, when we rid grace of the parts we don’t like, the good parts also die. Until we understand and embrace all of the interacting elements of grace, we won’t live the joyful, rich life that it promises.

I’ve witnessed dozens of families (and churches, ministries, and prayer groups) who began with a furious fire of love for God but whose next generation couldn’t blow a smoke ring.

God can make the littlest great, but he can’t use the greatest until we become little.

This is the evangelical world: we began with the Spirit and end with a to-do list.

But in our morality, we need to be cautious. Sound moral behavior apart from the gospel can lead us—ever so slowly—to feel good about ourselves, which can lead us—ever so slowly—to self-righteousness. Which is the enemy of the gospel.

External “sins” arise from inner forces. There is a stimulus beneath the sin. Our constant complaining, anxiety, and frustration are the result of inner pressures on the heart. Willful repression of external sin does nothing to relieve that inner pressure.

I don’t care what others think of me; I only care what I think of me. It sounds like freedom. The opinions and agendas of others no longer control us. That’s good. But think with me a moment. Does it comfort us to claim our high jump bar is so low that we can trip over it and still win the blue ribbon?

Restraints are like training wheels. They keep us upright as we develop an inner poise. But in a moment of mechanical failure, the wheels may fall off and we crash. How dare we disparage our friends when their training wheels break! Our friends may actually have more inner poise than we do—just not enough to stay upright on their own.

The opinions of others do matter. It just depends on who the other person is.

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