What does the Bible say about Bible School (Sunday School)? What does the bible say about all the organized efforts we see in the church today that was NOT present in the days when Christ established the church. Is this a result of man (us) improving on the church Christ established.
I don’t think it is a matter of men trying to improve on what God established. In my experience it is more a matter of men taking a generic command and finding different ways to fulfill it. Let me explain.
When Jesus said, “Go into all the world and teach the gospel, immersing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all things I have commanded you,” (Matthew 28:19-20), he included some specific commands and some generic ones. He specifically commanded that his disciples immerse those they taught. This doesn’t leave us the choice to immerse or not immerse, nor do we have the choice to immerse or sprinkle. On the other hand, he gave the generic command to go into all the world. He did not tell the disciples that they had to travel by foot, by boat, or by camel. Therefore, we can today use cars, trains, and planes to go. We can use the same methods they did, or methods they never even considered or knew about.
It is the same with his generic commands to teach the gospel and to teach obedience to those who were immersed. Jesus did not leave a specific lesson plan. Philip (in Acts 8) used Isaiah 53 to teach the Ethiopian about Jesus. Paul (in Acts 16) used idols to teach the Athenians the same thing. Today we have films, correspondence courses, and PowerPoint™ presentations as methods of teaching. We also may use Bible classes, gospel meetings, door-knocking campaigns and other methods of reaching groups of people rather than individuals. Such “organized efforts” may not be found in the Bible, but neither are they specifically condemned therein. They are merely a way to fulfill the commands to teach.
If we were to go back to using only those methods we specifically find in the Bible, we would be more restrictive than even the Amish. We could not use our cars, our printed materials (including Bibles), our church buildings or their amplification systems, or many other modern conveniences. We would have to change the way we conduct our assemblies, and, for that matter, not use modern languages like English.
Having said that, I must qualify my remarks. When we start teaching Bible school and stop teaching the gospel, then we are no longer following the command. That is, when one teaches that anyone who doesn’t attend Bible School is sinning, then we have added a command. However, anyone who teaches the opposite, that those who attend Bible School are sinning, they are equally adding a command. When a preacher’s presentation is more important than his message, or if we draw people in by basketball or bingo, then we have gone away from the commands to teach the gospel or obedience. There are many methods, but the method should never become the message.