Ann Voskamp for kindergarten children?

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augustacarguy

Puritan Board Freshman
My wife received this from our kindergarten teacher:

I am excited about how we will celebrate Christmas using Ann Voskamp's, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. We will use "The Jesse Tree" as a different way to celebrate advent season. Look for a note to come home on Friday with an explanation about how we will "unwrap the greatest gift"using "The Jesse Tree." Your child will bring home ornaments and scripture to share and "unwrap" with your families.


Is this worrying?


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Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
I've been a communing member of the church for a half century, and this is the first I recall ever having heard of a 'Jesse' tree.

to celebrate advent season
Some of the TRs here are likely to have some concerns about the reference to the Papist liturgical calendar.
 

augustacarguy

Puritan Board Freshman
I’m very disappointed. This is a school associated with my PCA church.


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Parakaleo

Puritan Board Sophomore
Is this worrying?
You'll probably get a range of responses here. As someone who wants nothing to do with Roman Catholic holy days and wishes all of them to be long forgotten in the dusty annals of history, I could never allow my children to participate in such activities.
 

JTB.SDG

Puritan Board Sophomore
Catholics may do this but the whole thing is simply walking through Scripture (right?). If that's the case, I think it's a wonderful thing. Maybe you can help me understand why it should be worrying? Is no Scripture better than Scripture that Catholics use?
 
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augustacarguy

Puritan Board Freshman
My concern was Ann Voskamp. I don’t know much about her, but I’ve heard nothing good.


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Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Some Jesse Tree devotionals are actually quite good. They tend to take you through Scripture, showing how the entire Bible speaks of Christ. If you aren't opposed to the whole idea of Advent, there surely are worse ways to observe it than by chewing on 25 Bible passages.

But I'm not a big fan of Voscamp's (very popular) Jesse Tree book, because I feel it takes the emphasis away from the Scripture and puts it instead on Voscamp's writing style. At times her writing really can be beautiful, but nothing compares to the beauty of looking at Christ in the Scriptures.

I don't own a copy of the book, but I can't remember seeing anything overtly heretical when I looked at it. I just thought it wasted an opportunity to really celebrate the gospel by instead using gospel themes to produce a homey sentimentality. A good teacher who knows the gospel could still work with the material, though, and draw out some excellent points.

You might want to cut this kindergarten teacher a bit of slack. Perhaps the teacher is excited about looking at Scripture passages and happens to like Voscamp's style, in which case the teacher's intentions are good. If you're nice about it, you might be able to encourage the teacher to emphasize the Bible content and move beyond the sentimental stuff.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
My concern was Ann Voskamp. I don’t know much about her, but I’ve heard nothing good.


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Regarding her personally one could definitely do worse though I'd chose other devotional sources. I'd say she's a believer. Here's her statement of faith. I don't see any Joyce Meyer/Beth Moore prosperity stuff.
 

JTB.SDG

Puritan Board Sophomore
My concern was Ann Voskamp. I don’t know much about her, but I’ve heard nothing good.


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Maybe you should read her stuff before voicing concerns about her? (ie, John 7:51). You are kind of implicitly slandering her, though you don't even know anything first hand about what she writes. That is a bit worrying to me.
 
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augustacarguy

Puritan Board Freshman
Maybe you should read her stuff before voicing concerns about her? (ie, John 7:51). You are kind of implicitly slandering her, though you don't even know anything first hand about what she writes. That is a bit worrying to me.
That’s why I was asking. Man, lighten up.


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Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
I don't care for her style and have never read anything much from her, but I remember this review from Tim Challies that caused a stir. He quotes from the sections of the book that are of concern. You might want to look over the material the teacher is using to see if there's anything concerning in it. It's hard to get away from this kind of stuff in many PCA churches. https://www.challies.com/book-reviews/one-thousand-gifts/
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
I don't care for her style and have never read anything much from her, but I remember this review from Tim Challies that caused a stir. He quotes from the sections of the book that are of concern. You might want to look over the material the teacher is using to see if there's anything concerning in it. It's hard to get away from this kind of stuff in many PCA churches. https://www.challies.com/book-reviews/one-thousand-gifts/
Of course, that review is of a different book than the one Will is asking about. But as I read the review just now, I thought Challies had good insight that applies to the Christmas book as well. It's hard to take a particular page from Voscamp's Christmas book and find much fault with it. But the overall effect seems to have her finding God mostly in places other than Scripture. Given that she's supposedly following a form that's about seeing Christ in the Old Testament, the inattention to Scripture seems odd.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Yes, I remember it well. It was very odd to many of us; he had not said anything personally against her, just against some of her theological thinking. There was a comment box on the blog at that time, and many seasoned readers and contributors expressed concern that he had muddied the waters- after all, he didn't back down from his review and conclusions about the book. I had known Tim a pretty long time, had interacted with him as a friend for years, so I know he's a very tender-hearted guy who didn't want to be or come across as judgmental; he wanted to keep in mind that there are real people behind faulty theologies. But I don't think he handled that situation following his review and her contacting him as it should have been handled, and many agreed.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Of course, that review is of a different book than the one Will is asking about. But as I read the review just now, I thought Challies had good insight that applies to the Christmas book as well. It's hard to take a particular page from Voscamp's Christmas book and find much fault with it. But the overall effect seems to have her finding God mostly in places other than Scripture. Given that she's supposedly following a form that's about seeing Christ in the Old Testament, the inattention to Scripture seems odd.
Yes, her inattention to Scripture seems to be pervasive in her writings, from what others have written about them and I've seen for myself. Mysticism can be a very subtle thing; from what I've seen, women are vulnerable and it tends to keep them from engaging with the arguments and reasonings of Scripture; mysticism makes one more comfortable with easier, more intuitive-feeling answers.
 
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