Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Children..... Teaching them to defend the Faith Pt. 2
It certainly has been a while since I sat to type. I had such a lapse in our work schedule that it sort of spoiled me. I am grateful to God for that though. It was nice not to be so rushed for about a month.
I wanted to continue some of my thought regarding teaching children. In the last post I was trying to remind myself of two things: make children familiar with the Scriptures and help them form their thinking, attitudes and overall practice according to those things they learn from Scripture. This must be the overriding principle of any Christian, not just children.
However, there must also be depth to our children's understanding. Familiarity with Scripture is good, must it must become deep familiarity. To many today are familiar with the Scripture enough to twist it (and by that I don't mean intentionally). Many are good Baptist brethren. Many are good Presbyterian brethren. Some can play "Bible ping-pong" better than most Jehovah's Witnesses I know. Context should always determine our understanding of a passage of Scripture. On top of that we should always direct ourselves and our children to an understanding of what is said in its immediate context and in the context of what the particular book has said. This is where I find homeschooling most appropriate, because we read all sorts of books. We learn context from all types of writings. Therefore, we want our kids to come to the Bible with the understanding that God wrote it to men so that they might understand what He has said, not try and figure out mystical codes and change His thoughts around with the "ping-pong" scenario.
Therefore, I find that reading the books of the Bible in context all the way through is good for developing that kind of context. Also, the preaching and teaching of churches should be expositional in nature. I realize that at times a particular subject will be addressed and that is fine, as long as, when verses are given there is a context that is always established. Too often I have heard people use verses completely out of context to make their point and sadly they are men who should know better.
Some will be offended I realize at this, but I do believe that a catechism is a good method to use in teaching right doctrine and context. When we taught it in the church and to our children, we took the issues very seriously and were transformed by them. We get the idea for catechism from three verses in the New Testament. First Corinthians 14:19 Paul says, "In the church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to INSTRUCT others, than ten thousand words in a tongue." In Galatians 6:6 he says, "Let HIM WHO IS TAUGHT the word share all good things with HIM WHO TEACHES." Acts 18:25 says that Apollos "has been INSTRUCTED in the way of the Lord."
In each of these verses the Greek word for "instruct" or "teach" is katecheo. From this word we get our English word "catechize". It simply means to teach Biblical truth in an orderly way.
Catechisms, for those not familiar, are simply a way of memorizing doctrines and why they are doctrines. A question is asked and then an answer is given. Following the passages of Scripture must be looked to not to some how pull out a doctrine you have made up, but to establish the reason the doctrine exists in the first place. During those times it is important to understand the context of those passages referenced, for their are many times where that will become clearly relevant to the learner. Children are most adept to this kind of learning, as well as, adults. It simply takes time and repetition. Remember how you learned your favorite song? By hearing it over and over and over again. The catechism works the same way. It engrains upon their minds the truth of God's word.
I recall my oldest, Tori, learning the first 25 questions and answers in just a few weeks. It was sort of funny too because she was pronouncing these enormous words at age 2. God has given our children incredible learning capacity. Therefore, we don't need to dumb them down. We need to encourage them to go on beyond where they are. I realize that every parent is at a different stage, but the important thing is to begin and pray that God would keep us consistent and add grace not only where we are not consistent, but where we are.
In our day and age the training of our children is more important than ever. If we really are desirous and asking God for revival in our land, He will more than likely do it through the generation that we are seeing come up today. I pray that He might see fit to use my little ones in such a way. How our nation needs to repent and turn back to God. Let us, as the people of God, repent and turn again to our Lord and may He "turn the hearts of the fathers to the children... to make ready a people for the Lord." -- Luke 1:17