Last Sunday morning I mentioned that we have been teaching our children a shortened/adapted version of the WSC (Westminster Shorter Catechism). I wanted to provide you parents with some reasons why we do this, along with some resources for teaching your children a catechism as well.
The reasons for doing this are simple: everyone needs to learn to think correctly about God through a right understanding of doctrine…even kids! Catechisms were created to summarize the doctrines of Christianity in small, easy to learn sections. With scriptural proofs and scholarly research behind each “question and answer” segment, the catechism has been the learning tool of millions of Christians (young and old) for hundreds of years. It’s only been in the last few decades (from what I can tell) that the evangelical church has stopped emphasizing the need for this kind of teaching. The result has been profound. Children don’t know what their purpose is for living, what God’s purpose was in creation, what Jesus wants for/from their lives, or why we believe in the core truths of Christianity.
I would strongly urge you to start teaching your children a solid catechism – and start reviewing the answers and questions yourselves!
The fruit of our work in this area usually comes at times when Chloe wonders about her purpose in life or why God made this or that. A typical conversation sounds like this:
ME: Chloe, isn’t that flower beautiful!
CHLOE: Yes, it sure is!
ME: Who made that flower?
Chloe: God did
ME: That’s right! Why do you think He made that flower though?
Chloe: For His own glory!
ME: What else did God make?
Chloe: All things!
You get the idea – the catechism helps children know the correct response to questions about life and matches it up with what they are learning in the Bible – it creates a framework from which they can piece together, at a young age, God’s sovereignty and attributes, and learn to give Him glory.
Here are some links to the catechisms that I know to be doctrinally solid – some might be for older children or adults.
Small Children’s Catechism (this is what we use with Chloe – there’s a Young Children’s Catechism as well, but after this one, you might as well just to straight to the WSC)
The Westminster Shorter Catechism (this is what I memorized in high school and is great for young adults on up)
The Heidelberg Catechism (terrific catechism for young adults on up)