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In Defense of Christian Grandmas: A Response to Shane Claiborne

February 5, 2015

This is a response to a book jacket blurb by Shane Claiborne recommending Mike Slaughter’s Renegade Gospel: The Rebel Jesus

Shane writes on the cover “This isn’t your grandma’s Sunday school curriculum… this is a call to a holy uprising.” Shane Claiborne, Author/activist

I wrote the following and submitted it to Claiborne’s website and facebook page.  Whether he will ever read it, I don’t know, but since the book is out there and the above quote is on the Amazon page, I thought I would publish this response.  I hear and read too many pastors and author’s attempting to sell books or attract crowds by belittling or dismissing as quaint or worthless the faith, Christian lives and spiritual disciplines of our older generations.  These suggestions are unlike the Apostle Paul who commended the faith of Timothy’s grandmother Lois and mother Eunice and gave them credit for the faith residing in Timothy (2 Timothy 1:5).  It is a shame that this honoring of Christian ancestors has been replaced by attempts to bolster one’s status and image at the expense of our spiritual grandfathers’ and grandmothers’ model faith.  On this book cover, Claiborne’s blurb is published as a banner achievement. This response of mine might seem like an overreaction; however, this attitude reflected by Claiborne is a blossoming trend that I have noticed and despised among the contemporary Christian culture.
My response:

I may just be a pastor of a church on the corner of a corn field in a small town with two stoplights; however, I know Jesus and the Scriptures, too, to some extent. I also know several grandma’s who know and live the Bible better and more Christlike than anyone I know. To put it frankly, I am quite angered that Shane would disavow and belittle the faith practices of these women. It is shameful to so disrespect and repudiate faithful women who are today the models of faith, commitment to marriage and family. These grandmas in our church had and have Sunday school curriculums that are The Bible! They don’t study some man’s façade of an innovative look at Jesus. They study the revelation of God in the Scriptures and then go and live it taking care of adult parents, children, praying for others, sharing all that they have, because through their studies they have learned the kingdom of God and that all that is not of him passes away.

I’m sure that the Sunday School or small group curriculums Shane espouses are cool and edgy, but when his students know the Bible and live out their callings like these ladies, when they have been married to the same person for 50 years, when they have spent hundreds of hours on their knees in prayer for loved ones and strangers, when they have given more than the tithe through their careers and still give more to missionaries and those in need, then have Shane endorse a book by dismissing these ladies’ spiritual disciplines. Until that happens, Shane, the author and publisher ought to repent before the next Christian grandma they see and publicly apologize to the them all.

May God give the above grace to live like the Christian grandmas in my church!

Craig Stephans — Rector
Church of the Redeemer
Camden, NC

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2 Responses to “In Defense of Christian Grandmas: A Response to Shane Claiborne”

  1. lorirodeheaver Says:

    I have always looked up to the faith of my little old lady friends who especially always prAy for everything. For a guy with so many great insights, (loved much of his thoughts in Jesus for President, Irresistable Revolution, and even the Red Letter Revolution) he does tend to have a problem erring as an authority over the Word of God rather thAn being a servant to it in many controversial areas. I hate seeing this over and over again in the accepted men of my generation – Driscoll, Warren, Bell, just to name a few. Are they brothers? Are they cult leaders? Apostates? I guess. Idk. It’s sad.

  2. Beth Fraser Says:

    I learned of Christ in Sunday school and church. I learned of faith and grace from granny. “Trust the Good Lord little girl. Trust the Good Lord.”


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