How can we help children know and love God?
In a seminar at the 2013 national conference, ”Teaching Children to Know and Love God by Knowing and Loving Theology,” Dr. Bruce Ware explained the importance of understanding the “progression of truth” as we teach our children. He lays out the progression as follows:
Head → Heart → Hands → Habitat
or another way of stating it…
Knowing → Loving → Living → Transforming
Why start with the “head”? Why not jump right to their heart? Dr. Ware explains,
The mind’s understanding (knowing the truth) is necessary for the heart’s engagement with that truth (loving the truth). Knowing the truth provides the possibility and basis for loving the truth.
With children, the first priority in what we can assis
My six-year-old grandson had a profound question for me when his pet goldfish, Bob, died: “Grandma, why did Bob have to die?” It’s a great question. Why death? Even a six-year-old feels that something is “not right” with the world in the loss of one small fish. There is a sense of helplessness and sadness. Why death?
Take time on Good Friday to read and talk about these words with your children:
And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.—Matthew 27:28-31
I love the scene in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King where Frodo and Sam are making their last, desperate effort to destroy the one ring in the depths of Mt. Doom. What makes the final destruction of the ring so incredibly magnificent and satisfying is the context. Before that, we have been taken on a long journey that has introduced us to the magnitude of evil, despair, and ruin brought about by the ring and its influence. You don’t simply go from a peaceful, idealistic life in the Shire to the triumphant destruction of the ring. The story would have lost its grandeur and appeal if author J.R.R. Tolkien had not shown us the evil and despair.
See details at the end of this post for a special Easter sale on resources that introduce the Gospel to children in your home, church, and community.... More
Recently The State of Theology survey was published by Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research. Ligonier says the every-two-years survey is designed to “… take the theological temperature of the United States to help Christians better understand today’s culture and equip the church with better insights for discipleship.” The title may sound academic, but the report is essential, sober reading for every believer. For all its discouraging news, it is full of insights that have the potential, by God’s grace, to awaken American believers to the need for theological clarity.
As parents and teachers, our greatest goal for our children and youth should be that they come to genuine faith in Christ and live as His faithful disciples for the glory of God. Therefore, clearly presenting and explaining the essential truths of the Gospel and demonstrating what it means to follow Jesus in daily life is our greatest duty and privilege as we teach and train them. But it’s harder to discern or assess whether or not a child has truly understood and grasped the meaning of the Gospel. Therefore, we can better serve our children and youth by applying wise discernment when we share the Gospel with them.
Is it your expectation that as you give yourself to obedience to Christ and to loving service for others that you will suffer? Or are you surprised by this?
Earlier this year, controversy swirled around pastor Andy Stanley when he said in a sermon that Christians should "unhitch" their faith from the Old Testament. In a podcast interview with Jonathan Merritt last week, he tried to clarify what he meant by expanding on his earlier comments. He said, “I am convinced for the sake of this generation and the next generation, we have to rethink our apologetic as Christians, and the less we depend on the Old Testament to prop up our New Testament faith the better because of where we are in [the] culture.”
But we see in Psalm 78 precisely the opposite:
Much has been said in recent years about teaching the Old Testament from a distinctly Christian perspective — seeing Jesus and the Gospel in all of Scripture. But in this video, John Piper raises an important concern about turning this perspective into a type of simplistic interpretative formula. He says,
… the danger in making a beeline to the cross too quickly and too methodically and regularly is, number one, it'll start to sound artificial. It'll start to sound monotonous. It'll start to be fanciful, because you'll come up with really clever ways of doing things that aren't really there and it'll keep you from seeing important things that are there.
We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done (Psalm 78:4).