Graphic of 3 crosses with sunrise against purple and yellow sky with text overlay, should we censor Easter to make Jesus approachable to kids?

Why editing the gospel message of Easter to make Christ more approachable to children is damaging

What’s the most important thing you can teach your kids, that you could share with a stranger, or the one thing you know with absolute certainty? The answer to these 3 questions should be the same: the gospel of Jesus Christ.

But when kids start asking questions at Easter, are they able to understand the gospel, or should we censor it to make Christ’s sacrifice more palatable? Here’s how to answer kids’ questions with the truth of the gospel.

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Testing censored Easter lessons for kids against scripture

I came across a post on Instagram about the kinds of questions kids ask about Easter. The poster, @meredithannemiller, poses 5 questions that children tend to ask, and—using a “say this, not that” type of structure—gives her opinion of appropriate and inappropriate ways we should respond.

After scrolling through her post, I was flabbergasted and saddened. Her answers are weak and incomplete, often not even answering the question at all. Other times her answers even stand in opposition to the gospel.

When we look at what Meredith Miller suggests that we teach and not teach our precious children about Christ’s sacrificial death for our sins, the concerning thing to note is that she’s giving HER OPINION about how Christians should talk about Easter with children, but nowhere does she share what SCRIPTURE says.

How frightening is it that a pastor and children’s minister is instructing Christian parents based merely on her opinions and not the Word of God?

My friend, we must always remember that it’s not important what we think or feel or philosophize about the gospel or Who God is, the ONLY THING that matters is what GOD says. Scripture is the living word of God, and it should always be our final authority.

Now, I understand that parents are concerned about overwhelming their children with truths that might be above their understanding, but let scripture be clear on that issue with the very words that Jesus spoke when parents brought their children to Him:

But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” // Matthew 19:14, NLT

So for anyone who is worried that the gospel is too big for kids to understand, rest in Jesus’ assuring words:

"The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children."

If this isn’t proof enough that children can understand the gospel, then, well, there’s no other way to say it—we have disregarded the very Word of God.

I looked up some background info to get an idea of where Meredith Miller is coming from. She holds a Master of Divinity from a seminary that promotes egalitarianism, she pastors an online church, and she’s been involved in children’s ministry for 20 years.

According to her website and social media, she and her church stand in support of LGBTQ+ beliefs, she values deconstruction of faith, and she seems to believe that teaching about hell is a fear tactic that conflicts with God’s love. Yikes.

But now that we know a bit about her background, let’s take a look at each of these 5 questions she suggests that kids might have about Easter and how she answers them—and more importantly—let’s see how her answers hold up against the truth of scripture.

RELATED: 3 points you should focus on when sharing the gospel (to avoid making false converts!)

Photo of smiling mom and daughter reading Bible with text overlay, should we censor Easter for our kids, can we make Jesus approachable?

Question 1: “What is Easter?

What is Easter?
THIS: Easter is when we celebrate that Jesus is alive!
NOT THAT: Easter is when we celebrate that Jesus died for our sins (Good Friday and Easter are two stories, tell them as such. Also, Good Friday isn’t appropriate until about age 6.)

@meredithannemiller on Instagram

Firstly, Good Friday and Easter are inextricably connected. There is not one without the other. Christ’s resurrection is only possible because of His sacrificial death.

“Good Friday isn’t appropriate until about age 6.” This is strictly an opinion and is completely unfounded in biblical truth.

I remember hearing the truth of Christ’s crucifixion and His precious blood shed for our sins as far back as I can remember, so probably at age 3 or 4. Praise God that my church and my family saw fit to share the whole truth with me from the beginning!

Matthew 19:14 bears repeating here:

"But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” (NLT)

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Question 2: “Why did Jesus come?

Why did Jesus come?
THIS: Jesus came to show us what God is like, and to invite anyone who wanted to join the kingdom of God. That’s where everything is just as good and lovely as God wants it to be. Where everyone lives in God’s goodness and justice.
NOT THAT: Jesus came to die because people had sinned and were separated from God.

@meredithannemiller on Instagram

When I read Meredith’s comment that encourages Christian parents AGAINST sharing the truth that our sins separating us from God is the reason that Jesus came to die… It’s heartbreaking.

Just imagine withholding that priceless, life-saving truth from your dear children. It’s unthinkable. And for a pastor and children’s minister to instruct parents to do so…? She might as well say, “Do not teach your children the gospel.”

Church, this is a serious problem.

Meredith’s suggestion of what to say in place of the actual gospel is just as bad. She instructs parents to tell their kids that Jesus came to invite us to join His kingdom where everything is good and lovely.

This is not the message of the gospel that Jesus preached. He pointed out our sins, called for us to repent, instructed us to follow Him by taking up our cross alongside Him, and to face persecution for His sake—even unto death if need be. THAT is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The kingdom of God is serious. It’s not something to be depicted as light and fluffy where anyone can jump in however they fancy. Jesus described the kingdom of God as a call to labor and service.

Look at the parables He told that illustrate what the kingdom of heaven is like. They speak of evangelism, service, and labor—and scripture also makes it clear that not everyone can join:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. // 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, NKJV

Christian parents should make Easter approachable to children by censoring the gospel message — that is the heartbreaking agenda.

Do you see the danger here, church?

Once someone begins to edit the gospel, it is no longer the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, but an idolatrous, fictitious work imagined to suit a god of one’s own creation. You cannot remove any part of God’s Word and still have God’s Word. In fact, scripture warns very strongly against this:

If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. // Revelation 22:19, NKJV

RELATED: Are you sure you’re saved? (3 ways to know with absolute certainty!)

Question 3: “Why did Jesus die?

Why did Jesus die?
THIS: Because Jesus was talking about being king of a new kingdom, the Romans and their king, Caesar were very upset. They wanted to kill Jesus for threatening the empire.
And because Jesus was talking about God’s kingdom, the religious leaders were very upset. They thought Jesus was not allowed to speak on God’s behalf–to say a new thing was happening. They wanted to kill Jesus for being disloyal to the way they were sure God wanted things.

@meredithannemiller on Instagram

On the surface, these statements appear somewhat true. But the religious leaders weren’t simply upset because Jesus was speaking on God’s behalf. The prophets had been speaking on God’s behalf for ages. The religious leaders were upset because Jesus was the Son of God, and He brought conviction.

They saw themselves as beyond reproach, believing that they’d kept the letter of the law. But Jesus brought knowledge of the spirit of the law:

“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell."

“You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart." // Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28; NLT

Christ shone the light of the spirit of the law on their sinfulness, but they loved the darkness and clung to their pride and self-righteousness in unrepentance.

The religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus not because they believed Him to be in opposition to God, but because He showed them their sins.

They hated Him because the darkness hates the light. They hated Him because He laid bare their sin, and they refused to repent.

Why did Jesus die?
NOT THAT: Jesus died for our sins.
3 reasons why not:
1. It lacks context, and as such
2. it makes it seem like the child’s fault and
3. it can be over-focused on the individual “for me and my sins” instead of holistic global redemption.

@meredithannemiller on Instagram

Do you see what I’m seeing, my friend? It’s unbelievable!

Yet again we have a pastor and children’s minister instructing parents NOT to tell their children that Jesus died for their sins.

Church, this is in direct opposition to the gospel! This is anti-scripture. Again, the words of Christ in Matthew 19:14 ring in my head:

“Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them!”

Meredith’s justification for withholding the truth of the gospel from our children is grievous and nonsensical:

She claims that telling children that Jesus died for their sins lacks context. *crickets* Yep, gonna need to say more than 5 words to teach your kids about Easter. So. Teach. Them. More. Tell them the complete gospel message and don’t hold back! I don’t know how many more times I can say this, but Jesus Himself said, “Do not stop the children from coming to Me!”

She also says it’s a bad idea to tell children that Jesus died for our sins because it makes it seem like it’s the child’s fault. *sigh* I feel so very sorry for Meredith Miller because she seems not to realize that IT IS OUR FAULT.

Sin is our fault. That’s the plain, ugly, uncomfortable, bad-taste-in-the-mouth truth. Each of us is responsible for our sins. And if that realization convicts a child’s heart, praise God!

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. // Romans 1:16a, NKJV

When we teach children the complete, unedited, uncensored, true gospel, the Holy Spirit will bring conviction—it is the power of God unto salvation!

This verse is so simple yet so dense, my friend. Look at it again: What leads to salvation? The power of God, that is, THE GOSPEL!

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To censor Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins is to rip away the power of salvation.

Storytime for a minute. One Easter Sunday when I was growing up, I was sitting in church with my family. I thank God for the message of the gospel that was preached that day. The preacher shared how sinful we all are and how righteous and just God is. He also explained that, because of our sinfulness before Holy God, we stand in need of His forgiveness and mercy.

Praise God! Jesus was obedient to the Father, suffering for our sins and dying a horrendous, excruciating death on the cross in our place. All because He loves us so, for scripture tells us that “God demonstrated His love for us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He gave up His life, and He poured out His blood to cleanse us from our sins.

It wrought such conviction in me, though I was already born-again! But it brought a swell of humility to my heart and a tear of intense thankfulness to my eye. What a Savior to love us that much!

It was then during the church service that I noticed something happening in the pew in front of me. While the preacher was proclaiming the saving power of the blood of Christ that cleanses from sin, a mother sitting in the seat ahead of me was covering her daughter’s ears. 💔

I felt sick just seeing that tragic sight—what a heartbreaking thing to withhold the gospel from your child!

After the sermon was over, that mother commented to the preacher that his sermon was “too bloody.”

Can you imagine? What contempt for the loving sacrifice of our Savior! I was only about 14 or so, but I knew that without Christ’s bloody death, we have no promise of forgiveness and would be bound for an eternity in hell.

I know this mother and her daughter well, and the daughter appears to remain a false convert to this day. It’s gut-wrenching to remember where it all started, when the mother clasped her hands over her young daughter’s ears to prevent the power of God unto salvation from getting in.

The final reason Meredith Miller gives in support of NOT telling kids that Jesus died for their sins is this: “it can be over-focused on the individual ‘for me and my sins’ instead of holistic global redemption.”

This is possibly the most dangerous of her teachings. She has thus far refused to define or even acknowledge sin, but even more detrimental is how this statement screams of the unsound, unbiblical philosophy of universalism.

There’s a great article that explains universalism at Got Questions, but it basically refers to the belief that all people everywhere will be saved, unconditionally. This belief is only possible through a blatant disregard of scripture. The Bible tells us that hell is real and that not everyone who calls Jesus their Lord will make it into His kingdom.

Universalism cannot possibly be true when Jesus commanded everyone everywhere to repent and believe the gospel. He constantly warned through parables and plain speech that sin is serious, hell is real, and that we must repent and follow Him to be saved.

To refuse to tell a child about the truth of sin, death, and hell, yet to promise them unconditional salvation is to create a false convert.

My friend, this teaching will send a child to hell while allowing him to tragically believe himself destined for heaven. It is the very doctrine of devils.

Please, always make sure to test every teaching—even if it’s from a pastor with a Master of Divinity—against the Word of God.

RELATED: How to share the gospel online (with examples!)

Question 4: “How did Jesus’ resurrection help?

How did Jesus’ resurrection help?
THIS: Our world has hard and sad things in it, including death. The Bible calls that sin–anything that’s not what God wants. But Jesus won and sin lost, all because he’s alive!
NOT THAT: Jesus took the punishment we deserved for our sins by suffering on the cross.

@meredithannemiller on Instagram

So far, Meredith has continued to discourage us from talking to children about sin. Now she’s saying it’s okay to tell kids that Jesus won and sin lost. That’s nothing short of vague and confusing when you’ve refused to discuss sin up to this point and given your children no understanding of it nor its seriousness.

But she seems ready to make an attempt at tackling the topic of sin now, only, she’s offering a definition of her own making that’s found nowhere in the Bible.

She wrongly defines sin as the “hard and sad things” in our world, “including death.” This is once again contrary to scripture:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. // Romans 6:23, NKJV

The Bible is unmistakably clear on this when it further states:

The soul who sins shall die. // Ezekiel 18:20a, NKJV

Death itself is not sin—sin causes death. Death is the wages of sin, it’s what we’ve earned from sinning!

And all the hard and sad things of this world are a consequence of our sin. God created this world perfectly in the beginning, but our choice to sin ushered in death, disease, suffering, and the presence of evil in this world.

When you try to avoid sin—or erroneously define it—you miss the entire reason for our need for God’s mercy provided in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. You miss the gospel.

Meredith then goes on to say that we should avoid talking to kids about Jesus’ suffering. Brings back to mind that account of the mother who plugged her child’s ears from hearing the life-saving gospel, doesn’t it? 😟

I’m just still in shock over how this blatantly false teaching is labeled as Christianity and is being promoted as good, sound Easter teaching for kids. It’s a damaging travesty.

If you want some ideas for sharing the gospel with your kids (or any children in your life), check out this article from Children’s Ministry with 5 tips for talking about the crucifixion.

Photo of three cross against beautiful sunrise with text overlays, should we tell our kids everything about Easter or can we tone down Jesus' graphic death?

Question 5: “What does Easter mean for me?

What does Easter mean for me?
THIS: Jesus is alive, and we can be friends with him. We can join him in showing God’s love to the world. It’s like living in that kingdom he started, where goodness and justice spread. And it goes on forever.
NOT THAT: You can accept Jesus as your savior and invite him to live in your heart.
2 reasons why not:
1. Both ‘accept’ & ‘savior’ are new vocabulary for many kids.
2. “Living in our heart” is abstract.

@meredithannemiller on Instagram

Here is the only time that I’m going to agree with Meredith Miller, because even a broken clock is right twice a day. She is right in that asking Jesus to live in your heart is something we should NOT encourage kids to do (or anyone for that matter).

Asking Jesus into one’s heart simply isn’t in the Bible. Jesus didn’t say to ask Him to come live in our hearts—He said, “You must be born again.” He instructed us to repent, forsake ourselves, follow Him, and take up our cross.

HOWEVER, Meredith’s reason for not encouraging kids to ask Jesus to live in their hearts is once again seriously flawed. She doesn’t say it’s wrong teaching, she says that it’s too abstract of an idea. That’s also her reasoning for not teaching kids about their need to accept Jesus as their Savior—because “savior” and “accept” are new vocabulary.

Is it just me or did she not use the word “empire” earlier as an age-appropriate term for kids? 🤔🤨

So, yes, there might be some words kids are unfamiliar with. DEFINE THEM. That is never an excuse for refusing to share the truth of sin, death, hell, and the need for repentance and trust in the Savior.

Her alternative offering to teaching children of their need to accept the Savior is to teach them that they can be friends with Him. That they can live in His kingdom of goodness forever and show God’s love to the world.

Church, this is a lie. There is no entrance into God’s kingdom without the knowledge of sin and the need for the Savior.

If you do not come to Jesus with a humble, repentant heart, acknowledging and turning from your sin and transferring your trust from yourself to the Savior, you cannot even SEE the kingdom of God, much less be His friend.

The Bible has this to say about it:

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. // John 15:14, NKJV

Commands of Jesus:

“God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him." // Acts 17:30, NLT
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ // John 3:3-7, NKJV
Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. // Luke 9:23-24, NKJV
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. // Matthew 10:28, NKJV
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. // John 15:12-13, NKJV
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. // Matthew 28:19, NLT

So what should we do when it comes to teaching our precious children about Jesus’ wonderful Easter sacrifice, my friend? 

Do we avoid the truth of the gospel, censoring it to make Christ more approachable for kids?

Or do we teach our children the true gospel that has the power to save—the truth that we’re sinners headed for hell, in need of the cleansing blood of Jesus?

I stand with the words of Christ, my friend, and I hope you will too:

“Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”

Jesus Christ in Matthew 19:14, NLT

If you’d like more resources to help explain Easter to kids in an age-appropriate way without compromising the gospel, check out this article from Focus On The Family.

Resources for sharing the truth about Easter with kids—without censoring the gospel

This post may contain affiliate links. Anything I earn helps maintain this site at no added cost to you. I’m grateful for your support!

How to Bring Your Children to Christ & Keep Them There: Avoiding the Tragedy of False Conversion (affiliate link) This book by renowned evangelist Ray Comfort will help you teach your kids the full truth of the gospel and lead them in the way they should go.

Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids (affiliate link) This book addresses the gigantic problem of millions of “Christian” children who grow up and leave the church because they’ve never actually been born again. The author provides a priceless solution by teaching adults how to properly teach children the gospel.

Talking with Your Kids about Jesus: 30 Conversations Every Christian Parent Must Have (affiliate link) This book is broken into short chapters that each pose a question to discuss about the Lord Jesus. It addresses who Jesus is, His teaching, His death, His resurrection, and His transformative power to save.

A Child’s First Bible (affiliate link) This has 125 illustrated Bible accounts from the Old and New Testaments that are perfect for little children. A neat feature is the question at the end of each story to check your child’s comprehension and help them recall what they learned!

NKJV Adventure Bible (affiliate link) This is a full-color children’s Bible with notes that highlight ancient times and cultures, complete with illustrations and colorful maps. And the NKJV is a great, easy-to-read version for any age!

The Action Bible (affiliate link) The rich, dramatic illustrations combined with the accounts from scripture will captivate readers with this unique type of story-telling. Tweens and teenagers will be sure to love this one!

Final thoughts on answering kids’ questions about Easter and making the gospel clear

While the intent of omitting sin from Easter might be to make Jesus more approachable, trust me, He’s already done the perfect job of that Himself, and He says to the little children: “Come.”

Children can understand the concept of sin. They can understand their personal accountability before Holy God. The only caveat to make is that IT MUST BE TAUGHT TO THEM. Teach children the gospel and forbid them not from coming to Christ, as He said Himself.

🤔 What do you think about this topic? Share your opinion in a comment below!

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