Intro to “Elementary Doctrinal Instruction” Lessons

Jules-Alexis_Muenier_-_La_Leçon_de_catéchisme

Matthew 28:19-20

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.

Our children will become Christians by repenting of their rebellion against God, trusting in Jesus Christ and then being baptized in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As parents it is our duty to evangelize our children. We must present them the Gospel message clearly and often. One part of evangelizing our children is teaching them the doctrines of the Christian faith. Throughout the centuries this has been done by teaching children and those who desire to be baptized the content of the Early Church’s “Rule of Faith.” One of the later versions of this Rule has come down to us in the Apostles’ Creed.

Catechisms are a series of questions and answers that are meant to be a systematic way of discussing in detail the Christian Faith that was once for all handed down to the Church (Jude 3). Catechism roughly means “instruction,” so for clarity’s sake we call these materials “Doctrinal Instruction.” The catechism covers the content of the Apostles’ Creed as well as other more practical aspects of the Christian life.

Notes for Use with Children

Main goals:

  1. Teach the core beliefs of Christianity. The parents are leading their children into an understanding of the basic doctrines of the Christian Faith.
  2. Share the Gospel with the children. The parents are using the questions and answers, as well as the discussion verses, to present the Gospel message to their children.
  3. Train the children how to live holy lives. Training children is more than just giving them information. We must start by teaching them the beliefs of Christianity, but then we must also train them how to live lives that are in line with that teaching.

 How to use with children:

  • The parent should just go through one question and answer at a time. The parent should use the question and answer to spark a discussion with their children. They should be ready to challenge and add to the kids understanding with impromptu questions and additional information. Unlike adult converts, the children have the luxury of absorbing the content over an extended period of time. Scripture passages have been provided below each question and answer. Parents can use these passages to discuss the topic raised by the question and answer.
  • The parent should teach their child one question/answer each week, preferably on the Lord’s Day.
  • When the parent starts using the catechism with their child they should help the child memorize the Apostles’ Creed. The first lessons can be a mixture of memorizing and discussion over the content of the creed.
  • When the child is proficient enough at reading, he/she should be taught to memorize the catechism (One question/answer at a time). Of course this is not an overnight process. But it should become a regular discipline in the child’s life. If there is more than one child, they can study together. As the child memorizes the catechism (questions/answers) he/she will store up a foundation of Christian doctrine for his future. The Bible promises if we will train a child in the way he/she should go, when they are older they will not depart.

The Apostles’ Creed

Q: What is your belief?

A: I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ his only begotten Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirt, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God the Father almighty; from where he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the dead and in everlasting life. Amen

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