Thoughts of a former evangelical Christian

The Dark Gospel Message of the Good News Club

In Child Evangelism Fellowship, Good News Club on June 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm

It’s been well over a year since my last post.  Two years ago, I began focusing on the authoritarian emphasis and shame-inducing content of a handful of Good News Club lessons, some of them dating back to the late 1960s.  I suspended those efforts until now because of the personal trauma they triggered.

Now, I’m back.  Recently, I purchased from CEF Press what was available of the entire Good News Club curriculum.  After scanning and OCR’ing the curriculum, I undertook a thorough analysis of it.  A portion of that analysis is incorporated into a new mini-documentary Youtube video, above, that I created on “The Dark Gospel Message of the Good News Club.”

The Good News Club curriculum cycle spans five years.  The most recent cycle comprised 21 lesson books, including 123 lessons.  The cumulative word count of those GNC materials — some 760,000 words — nearly matches that of the King James Version of the Bible.

The Bible itself has a very strong authoritarian, obedience-focused and sin-obsessed bent.  But the Good News Club materials has an even darker emphasis, including nearly 5000 references to sin, over 1000 references to obedience, 930 references to punishment, and 300 allusions to, or direct mentions of, hell.

Several times, children are directly told that they “deserve to die” because they were born with a sinful nature. In one activity, a child is given an envelope containing an insert with the word “DEATH” written on it, and told that this is what they have “earned” as the “wages” of their sin.  In another activity, a sign with the word “SIN” is hung around a child’s neck, and then the students prompted to accuse that child of being sinful.

By contrast, “grace” is mentioned a mere 58 times, the “Second Commandment” to love thy neighbor as thyself only once, and the Golden Rule is not mentioned at all.

This is no accident.  CEF trains GNC staff and volunteers to focus their attention “on the lostness of the child without Christ.”  The core of that training is around the “Wordless Book” and its dark heart.  Teenage teachers of GNC’s 5-day summer clubs receive similar training.  See http://www.cefeasttexas.com/pre-training-manual-cyia.pdf.  Teachers are evaluated and graded on their ability to relate several sin-centered concepts CEF wishes its teachers to emphasize both in the presentation of the “Wordless Book” and in the incorporation of those themes into each and every Bible lesson.

The so-called “Wordless Book” comprises 5 colored pages or symbols: a black page or heart; a red page or cross; a white page or heart; a gold page or circle; and a green page.  The theme of “sin” is central to CEF’s exposition of each and every one of these pages.  The black page or heart represents the child’s sinful condition and disposition.  The red page or cross represents Jesus’s death and shedding of blood to “take the punishment” for the child’s “sins.”  The white page or heart represents the “cleansing” of the child’s “sin” by Jesus’s blood and the imputed righteousness of Christ’s “sinless” life.  The gold page or circle represents heaven, where God cannot tolerate or be in the presence of “sin.”  Finally, the green page represents “growth,” where the child is encouraged to read and “obey” the Bible, go to a “Bible-believing church,” and — again — confess their “sins.”  The central theme throughout is sin.

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  1. This is just sick. I’m sorry that you suffered because of this garbage, and I’m glad you found the strength to take this stuff on. I will share this site with as many as I can. Thank you for doing this, it needs to be exposed.

  2. So glad to see you back! It is a painful process with many triggers, but so important to get the word out there and protect children suffering this same spiritual abuse.

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