Repost: Why Catechize?

I originally posted this article back in February of 2013. In discussing catechesis with my wife tonight, I went in search for it. After reading it, I decided it was worth a repost. I hope you find it helpful.

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It has been such a blessing for our family to catechize our daughter. My wife and I use The Baptist Catechism, but my four-year-old and the children’s ministry at our church use the more basic Catechism for Boys and Girls. Every night we get together as a family to pray, sing hymns, and read God’s word. Of course, we haven’t always been able to do this perfectly, but it has become a fairly regular expectation for my family. When we gather together at night to have family worship, we also spend some time catechizing our daughter and one another. We even let our daughter ask us questions from The Baptist Catechism. She loves it. So, today, I was thinking about the benefits of catechesis and thought I’d simply blog about it.

Some Benefits of Catechesis:

  • It helps us to make sense of the things we are reading regularly in Scripture. We should not simply be concerned that our families understand what the texts say in their immediate contexts, but what the Bible as a whole has to say on various topics. If we simply focused in on the immediate contexts of certain texts, we would never arrive at a full-fledged understanding of even the essentials of Christianity such as the Trinity, Justification by Faith Alone, and the Hypostatic Union.
  • It helps us to set a context for making sense of the gospel. When children have a big picture understanding of the teachings of Scripture, they can better understand not only the truths of the gospel, but also the importance of those truths to their everyday lives. The Bible’s claims make the most sense from within a biblical worldview. It is this worldview that catechetical parents hope to instill in their kids.
  • It provides us with healthy opportunities for daily, intentional interaction with our kids. Our kids crave and long for our attention. When we catechize them, we are providing them with an opportunity (scripted, but an opportunity nonetheless) to interact with their parents in a way that few other things do. They have a sense of accomplishment and, more importantly, they bond with their parents.
  • It provides us with the opportunity to pass on our worldview and subsequent values to our children. The influences in our society are plenty which compete for our children’s affections. Catechisms are an invaluable tool for ensuring that our children are immersed in a biblical worldview on a daily basis.

This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list. I’m sure there are many benefits I have yet to consider, but I think these are sufficient for whetting our appetites for catechizing our children. I pray this has been an encouragement for you in your endeavors to raise your children in the fear and the admonition of the Lord.

Repost: Why Publicly Contend for Christian Morality?

I found this article, today, that I originally posted all the way back in 2011. It’s the earliest original article I posted on CredoCovenant, and it pretty much summarizes the reason for my participation in the current Public Theology series. As such, I thought it was worth a repost. Enjoy.

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In the subculture of evangelicalism I inhabit, the issue of publicly contending for Christian morality (i.e. abortion, the definition of marriage, “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” etc.) surfaces from time to time. There seems to be basically two camps: those for it and those against it. On the surface, I tend to agree with many of the arguments made by those who are against making a public defense of the moral claims of the Bible. They say it detracts from our focus on the gospel. They say that it can often stem from post-millennial idealism. They say that it makes us look silly to a world that already hates us for the gospel. On the surface, I can agree with all of these arguments. However, allow me to offer some arguments for the other side in response:

  1. The gospel does not make sense apart from conviction of sin, and there is no conviction of sin in a society where the church is by-and-large silent on moral issues in the public sector.
  2. To want a better society for one’s children, and to want to see people live according to the precepts of Scripture, does not automatically make that one a post-millennialist.
  3. The authors of Scripture spent more time defending the moral assertions of the Bible than they did defending the epistemological assertions of the Bible. Think about it.
  4. The law and the gospel are not diametrically opposed to one another, but rather God uses both to bring people to repentance and faith. The problem comes when one is shared without the other.
  5. Throughout church history, church leaders have contended for biblical morality in their cultural settings.
  6. Someone’s worldview will be the current that drives the culture. Why not Christianity’s?

Why Catechize?

It has been such a blessing for our family to catechize our daughter. My wife and I use The Baptist Catechism, but my four-year-old and the children’s ministry at our church use the more basic Catechism for Boys and Girls. Every night we get together as a family to pray, sing hymns, and read God’s word. Of course, we haven’t always been able to do this perfectly, but it has become a fairly regular expectation for my family. When we gather together at night to have family worship, we also spend some time catechizing our daughter and one another. We even let our daughter ask us questions from The Baptist Catechism. She loves it. So, today, I was thinking about the benefits of catechesis and thought I’d simply blog about it.

Some Benefits of Catechesis:

  • It helps us to make sense of the things we are reading regularly in Scripture. We should not simply be concerned that our families understand what the texts say in their immediate contexts, but what the Bible as a whole has to say on various topics. If we simply focused in on the immediate contexts of certain texts, we would never arrive at a full-fledged understanding of even the essentials of Christianity such as the Trinity, Justification by Faith Alone, and the Hypostatic Union.
  • It helps us to set a context for making sense of the gospel. When children have a big picture understanding of the teachings of Scripture, they can better understand not only the truths of the gospel, but also the importance of those truths to their everyday lives. The Bible’s claims make the most sense from within a biblical worldview. It is this worldview that catechetical parents hope to instill in their kids.
  • It provides us with healthy opportunities for daily, intentional interaction with our kids. Our kids crave and long for our attention. When we catechize them, we are providing them with an opportunity (scripted, but an opportunity nonetheless) to interact with their parents in a way that few other things do. They have a sense of accomplishment and, more importantly, they bond with their parents.
  • It provides us with the opportunity to pass on our worldview and subsequent values to our children. The influences in our society are plenty which compete for our children’s affections. Catechisms are an invaluable tool for ensuring that our children are immersed in a biblical worldview on a daily basis.

This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list. I’m sure there are many benefits I have yet to consider, but I think these are sufficient for whetting our appetites for catechizing our children. I pray this has been an encouragement for you in your endeavors to raise your children in the fear and the admonition of the Lord.