Are You Teaching Your Kids Theology?
Many parents teach their kids Bible stories. That’s great! Unfortunately, they are not teaching their children theology. That’s not so great! One of the most important topics to study is the subject of theology. Before this makes you offer up the proverbial yawn, let me briefly explain why. The word theology comes from two Greek words theos and logos. The word theos is the Greek word for god, and was actually used to refer to the gods of Mt. Olympus.
The word logos can be translated a number of ways: study, logic, reason, or words. In short, theology is the study of God, or words about God. Once we see it in that light, what could possibly be more important than this topic!? The way we think about God affects absolutely everything in life from sex to grocery shopping. As such, those of us with children at home, or who are now impacting grandchildren, need to be strategic about the issue of theology in our home.
Far too many American evangelical Christians have settled for teaching their children Bible stories, and not theology. This is a massive mistake. Both are critical! This is why many traditions have incorporated catechisms into the life of the family. A catechism is a summary or exposition of doctrine, for use in the home. Catechisms are doctrinal manuals usually crafted in the form of questions followed by answers to be memorized. In our home, we used the Westminster Shorter Catechism for a number of years (it was a modern language version, since the original came out in 1647). This allowed us to do Q & A after our supper devotions – and generated some great conversations over the years.
We got into discussions about everything from predestination to the end times! We even offered incentives for perfect memorization of an answer. The goal was not to simply regurgitate worn out answers from the ages, but to come to grips with the teachings of the Bible in a way that brought them to life. We wanted to help our kids think accurately about God and the things of God. We encouraged questions, thinking, and logical analysis. No question was off limits.
We reminded our children again and again that if Christianity is true, it can handle the tough questions. Otherwise, it’s not worth following! So if you are in the parenting years, or will be soon, or are now grand parenting, I urge you to consider the incredible value of using a catechism. It will take some effort, and there may be some moans and groans at times; but what could be more important than to teach our children accurate words about God!?
by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor