Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why Catechize Children?

Before I mention anything, I must confess that I am probably the worst parent when it comes to teaching my children the Christian faith. I have no special powers nor am I a well self-disciplined person. I like playing video games and watching TV as much as the next guy. Yet I think catechizing children by using one of the children's catechisms is far more important than most Sunday school material you will find in most churches.

On nights that I actually put my children to bed, I try to ask a couple of the questions from Keach's Childrens Catechism. Again, it is not something I do every night or even do with any consistency. It is just something I do as I do it.

The other night I witnessed the reason I have sought to do this. I asked my 5-year-old, "How many Gods are there?" To which he responded with the obvious answer, "one true and living God." I then asked how many persons are there in this one God. To which he then correctly answered "three". I then asked, "Who are they?" And again, via rote memorization he said, "the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

Then I decided to ask a fourth but more difficult question. "Is Jesus both God and man?" He honestly was caught off-guard. "What? Of course Jesus is not God. He's Jesus." Now when he said, "He's Jesus." he was simply making the observation that Jesus was a man.

I then asked, "Is Jesus the Son?" To which he responded, "Yes." I then went back through the first 3 questions, stressing the Son. I asked if the Father is God, and he said "yes". I asked if the Son was God and he said, "Yes". At that point he said out loud, "I didn't know Jesus was God!"

The light bulb went off in the mind of a 5-year-old. Now I suppose this may be unusual or maybe it is something that happens often. I don't know at this point. However, I have heard of this happening to people of all ages. We teach children to memorize knowledge because that is part of the learning process. Sooner or later the mind will understand as God's will determines.


Adam Pastor said...

Greetings Howard Fisher

It is so wonderful to train up a child in the way of the Lord.
Simply wonderful, especially in light of Deut 6.4-7

(Deu 6:4-7) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

The above is the Jewish creedal statement (which the Jews call The Shema) which defines who their GOD is.
Jesus, himself, the Messiah, quotes this verse as the foremost (first) of all the commandments in Mark 12:28-34.

My point is: have you noticed that in this creedal statement which is Jesus' creed (therefore, as Christians, followers of Christ, this ought to be our creed);
there is no room for a "the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."
being the one GOD

Note the scribe's response:
(Mark 12:32) And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

It is obvious then, that neither Jesus nor the scribe were trinitarian.

If Jesus was never taught such a concept as the trinity when he was a child in light of Deut 6.4-7 (the first of all the commandments), then is it right that we teach such things to children??
Surely we ought not to!

Jesus' creed stipulates that GOD is ONE i.e. ONE Being, ONE Person, for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

Jesus identifies his Father as
the only true GOD.
[John 17.3]
Paul concurs ...

(1 Cor 8:4) ... that there is none other God but one.
(1 Cor 8:6) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; ...

Thus, there is solely ONE GOD,
the Father.

Your dear children can easily understand this.
Indeed, this was the understanding of the early church:
TO US there is but one God, the Father

This teaching is indeed foundational for a child's understanding of GOD; i.e.
the fact that GOD is ONE & this ONE GOD is the Father;
indeed, the GOD & Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ.
[2 Cor 11.31, Eph 1.3, Col 1.3, 1 Pet 1.3]

Therefore, I encourage you, as a truthseeker, to consider the difference between Jesus' creed and the catechism that your teaching your children.

For more info on this subject,
I recommend this video:
The Human Jesus

Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you in your quest for truth.

Yours In Messiah
Adam Pastor

Howard Fisher said...

Adam Pastor,

Thanks for the comment. However you make some serious errors in your interpretation. You assert, "Jesus' creed stipulates that GOD is ONE i.e. ONE Being, ONE Person, for there is one God; and there is none other but he:"

Again, you merely assert this. You never demonstrate nor prove this. Part of the reason is that when you see verses like Mark 12:32 and John 17:3, you simply read them as if Jesus, as a Trinitarian, would say something else. What else would Jesus say?

Also if you read John 17, you can not possibly miss Jesus assertion of His own Deity. Because you do miss this, you are obviously blinded by your own Traditions.

If you wish to have serious and meaningful discussion on the Trinity, then I think you better understand more fully what the doctrine actually is and the basis for it. It is obvious to me, since you actually can cite John 17:3 with a straight face and miss the obvious, that you are not conversant with the doctrine as you may think you are.

God Bless