Elementary Doctrinal Instruction (Ages 5-12)

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In the Great Commission we are commanded to make disciples by baptizing people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and then teaching them to obey all that Christ commanded (Mat. 28:18-20). This gives us what seems to be our curriculum for making disciples. First we must indoctrinate them into the Christian faith, summed up in the Trinitarian formula, “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” 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. After Baptism our curriculum becomes the commands of Jesus Christ. We are called not to just make Christian believers, but obedient Christian disciples. We must teach people to obey all that Jesus commanded.

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. Catechism roughly means “instruction,” so for clarity’s sake we call these materials “Doctrinal Instruction.” We also have made catechisms for adults/older children and for younger (elementary age) children.

The instruction covers the content of the Apostles’ Creed as well as other more practical aspects of the Christian life. Before getting into the materials, I have prepared a few notes to the parents so that they know that the goal of the lessons are not merely to transfer doctrinal knowledge, but to lead there children to Christ and the holiness that is found in Him.

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.

 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 the catechism as often as is possible, at very least once a week.
  • 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. Sundays are a good day to set for the child to take time in memorization. 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

About the Trinity and God the Father

  1. Are there more Gods than one?

There is only one God, who is three Persons; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

  1. Who created all things?

God the Father created all things through and for His Son, and filled creation with His Spirit.

  1. What was God’s eternal purpose in the creation of the world?

God the Father created the world to glorify His Son and show His grace.

  1. How did God the Father plan to glorify His Son and show His grace?

The Father planned to save people through Jesus death and then raise Him from the dead to be king over everything.


About the Son of God

  1. Who is the Savior of God’s chosen people?

Jesus Christ is the Savior of God’s people.

  1. Is Jesus a human being or God?

God’s eternal Word became a man in order to save us; so He is both God and man at the same time forever.

  1. How did Christ, God’s eternal living Word, become human?

God’s living Word became a human by being born of a virgin named Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit; for this reason He is called the Son of God.

  1. In what way did Christ humble Himself?

Christ humbled Himself by being born a man, suffering for our sins on the cross, being buried and remaining dead for 3 days.

  1. In what way was Christ glorified?

Christ was glorified by being raised from the dead, then going back to heaven to be king next to His Father, and He will come again to judge the world.

 


About the Spirit of God

  1. What does the Holy Spirit do in those who repent and believe?

The Holy Spirit comes to live inside those who repent of their sins and trust in Christ with His help; He then gives them a desire to love and obey God.

  1. How does the Holy Spirit comfort the new believer?

The Holy Spirit comforts the new believer by pouring out God’s love into his heart and helping the person know that he has become God’s child.

  1. What else does the Holy Spirit do for God’s people?

God’s Spirit changes the person to be more like Christ by daily giving him the desire and ability to obey God.

  1. What will the Holy Spirit do for those who continue trusting in Christ until the end?

At the return of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit will change our dying bodies to be like Christ’s eternal body; he will raise us from the dead.


About Mankind

  1. What is the primary purpose of man?

The primary purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

  1. Did man remain good after God created him?

The first man, Adam, rebelled against God, and for this reason was cast out of God’s presence.

  1. Did the first man’s sin affect everybody?

Through the rebellion of Adam, sin, separation from God and death entered the world and spread to all men.

  1. What is sin?

Sin is rebellion against God in general and transgression against His commands in particular.

  1. Do all people commit sin?

Except for Christ, all people have not only sinned against God, but have become slaves to sin.

  1. If all men are slaves to sin, why does God hold them responsible for their sin?

Men are slaves to sin because though they can obey God, they don’t want to obey God.

  1. How will God punish sinful men?

God will cast all unsaved people away from His presence to a place of eternal punishment called hell.

 


About the Church and Salvation

  1. Who is God’s holy and chosen people?

The Church of Jesus Christ is God’s chosen people; the Church is made up of all true Christians.

  1. How can we receive salvation in Jesus Christ?

We are saved by trusting that Jesus death on the cross covers all of our sins and gives us peace with God.

  1. How does God call people out of darkness?

God called us out of darkness by the Holy Spirit who leads us to repentance and faith.

  1. How does God make His people holy?

God makes His people holy by writing His law on their hearts by the Holy Spirit.

  1. What has God promised His people?

God has promised to lead us all of our lives and then resurrect us from the dead and give us eternal life.

  1. What condition does God put on the promise of eternal life?

God promises to give us eternal life if we follow Him by faith all until we die.

 


The Beatitudes

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 

The Lord’s Prayer

In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

 


The Scriptures

  1. What has God given us to show us the way to glorify and enjoy Him?

God gave us His Word, the Old and New Testaments, to show us how to glorify and enjoy Him.

  1. What do the Scriptures teach us?

The Scriptures teach what we should believe about God and salvation as well as how we should live.

  1. How should we read God’s Word?

We must read God’s Word prayerfully, receive it in faith, treasure it in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.


The Law of Christ

  1. What is the summary of Christ’s Law?

Christ’s Law is summed up in two commands: love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love others as much as we love ourselves.

  1. How do we show love for God?

We show our love for God by worshipping Him alone, trusting Him, obeying Him and rejoicing in Him.

  1. How do we show love for others?

We love others by doing good to them, praying for them, forgiving them and blessing them.

  1. How else do we show love for others?

We love others by obeying God’s commands; we do not lie, steal, hate, speak evil or break any of God’s commands.

  1. How do we walk on the road that leads to life?

We walk on the road of holiness which leads to life by obeying the commands of Jesus Christ by the grace of God’s Spirit.

  1. How do people walk on the road that leads to destruction?

Someone walks on the road that leads to destruction by living in disobedience to the commands of Jesus Christ.


The Lord’s Prayer

  1. How did Jesus show us how to pray?

Jesus showed us how to pray by giving us the Lord’s Prayer.

  1. What does the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer teach us?

The phrase, “Our Father in heaven,” teaches us to draw near to God in holy reverence and confidence, as children to a father.

  1. What does, “Your name be honored as holy,” teach us?

The phrase, “Your name be honored as holy,” teaches us that we should praise God with our lips and our life.

  1. What does, “Your kingdom come,” teach us?

The phrase, “Your kingdom come,” teaches us to pray that Satan’s kingdom of sin would be destroyed and God’s would kingdom of righteousness would fully come on earth.

  1. What does, “Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven,” teach us?

The phrase, “Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven,” teaches us to pray that God would make us able and willing to know and obey His will in all things just as the angels in heaven do.

  1. What does, “Give us this day our daily bread,” teach us?

The phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread,” teaches us to pray that God may give us the things we need.

  1. What does, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” teach us?

The phrase, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” teaches us to pray that God would forgive our sins because of what Christ did for us, and reminds us that we must forgive others.

  1. What does, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” teach us?

The phrase, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” teaches us to pray that God would keep us away from temptation, or would help us resist temptation when we are tempted.

  1. What does the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer teach us?

The phrase, “For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen,” encourages us that God can do what we have asked because He sovereign and powerful, and that we should worship Him because He is over all things.


The Sacraments

  1. What is a sacrament?

A sacrament is a ceremony established by Christ that shows us the meaning of the New Covenant.

  1. What are the sacraments of the New Covenant?

The sacraments of the New Covenant are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

  1. How does Baptism represent our union with Christ and our commitment to Him?

In Baptism a person is immersed in water showing that he has been buried with Christ and has died to sin, and then he comes up out of the water showing that He has been risen with Christ to live a new and holy life for God.

  1. Who can be baptized?

Baptism is only for those who have been born again by repenting of their sins and trusting in Christ for salvation.

  1. How does the Lord’s Supper show the sacrificial death of Christ?

In the Lord’s Supper the bread is broken representing the body of Christ that was broken for us on the cross, and the wine represents the blood of Christ that was shed for the forgiveness of our sins.

  1. What does the eating of the bread and the drinking of the wine in the Lord’s Supper represent?

When people share in the Lord’s Supper they show that they trust in the sacrifice of Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and commit to take up their cross and follow Him.

  1. Who can partake of the Lord’s Supper?

Only those who have been born again and baptized can share in the Lord’s Supper.


The Lord’s Day

  1. On which day do Christians weekly celebrate their redemption?

Believers celebrate their redemption every day, but especially on Sunday; this is called the Lord’s Day.

  1. Why do Christians celebrate on the first day of the week?

Christians celebrate on the first day of the week to commemorate the resurrection of Christ which took place on that day.

  1. How do Christians celebrate the Lord’s Day?

Christians celebrate the Lord’s Day by gathering together for corporate worship, worshipping at home with their families and spending time in personal devotion.


The Great Commission

  1. What commission has Jesus Christ given to His Church?

Jesus Christ commanded His Church to proclaim the Gospel and make disciples everywhere in the world.

  1. What is the Gospel?

The Gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ was crucified for the sins of the world, died, and rose again on the third day, and that anyone who repents of their sins and trusts in Christ will be forgiven of their sins and receive the gift of eternal life.

  1. How does Christ tell His Church to make disciples?

Christ tells His people to make disciples by baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that He has commanded.

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