A Guest Editorial
Nancy Fehl, Former Member of the VOW Board of Directors
The 2001-2002 PW/Horizons’ Bible Study entitled “Esther’s Feast” should act as a catalyst for decisive action by PW circles and Christian Education committees throughout the denomination. The deficiencies of this study clearly point to the importance of diligence in overseeing the curriculum used by our congregations’ members.
In our own congregation, circles generally use PW material. However, because of the inconsistent quality of the Horizon studies over the years, one or more circles occasionally choose alternative materials. Even when the Horizon’s material has been theologically questionable, we have, in large part, been able to trouble-shoot those issues. Our pastor reviews the curriculum and teaches a study leader’s session prior to circles meeting. We have also had access to VOW commentaries and corollary studies to both supplement and correct the Horizons’ inconsistencies.
Still, after reviewing the Esther study, we have decided even that is not enough. We have asked our Christian Education committee to institute a policy of reviewing ALL material used by PW circles, including the Horizons’ study, which in the past has not been done. Based on that review, a recommendation will be made as to the appropriateness of the Horizons’ material, and possible alternatives as needed. It is unfortunate that steps such as these must be taken to protect our members from their own denomination’s bad material. Nevertheless, it is essential that we do so.
Consider taking the following steps to insure your PW groups have the best quality material to study.
1. Encourage your Christian Education Committee to review and make recommendations about all curriculum used in circles, prior to material being ordered. This needs to be done early in the year, when Horizon material is first published and sent to Horizons’ subscribers.
2. Encourage your pastor to preview the curriculum and then lead a study leader’s group during the year while circles meet.
3. Inform your session of the issues involved in choosing materials and any problem areas in the material.
4. If you choose to NOT use Horizons material. write to the editor and tell her why.
It is important that we become proactive in dealing with the use of Horizons’ material. Only if we are clear and persistent in voicing our displeasure when the material is poor or, sadly, heretical, will the authors and publishers consider using material which conforms to confessional, orthodox standards.