Perhaps you got grounded for bad behaviour at some point in your life, but what about being grounded in good behaviour and biblical beliefs? Are you in that way grounded for life? Over my years of helping young people grow in the faith, I have noticed that it’s those who had a solid investment of spiritual truth given to them (by people who care about them) that went on to be firm in the faith for the long-term. They were well grounded spiritually for life! Rev. Thomas Watson (one of the Westminster Catechism authors) once said,
Catechism is important because it’s the duty of Christians to be settled in the doctrine of faith (Col. 1:23) …. And the best way for Christians to be settled, is to be well grounded.”
What is ‘Catechism’ then? Catechism is a time-tested approach to help people soak up spiritual truth to be of benefit now and in the years to come. Throughout church history this approach has been a method that shares biblically rich concepts through carefully crafted statements, that then would be memorised and used for Christian growth and training. They are written in the form of a question-and-answer structure, and are called catechisms (from the Greek katechein, which means to teach orally or to instruct by word of mouth). The Catechism method of learning provides a fantastic opportunity to help people both young and old learn doctrine by heart and take doctrine to heart! C. H. Spurgeon said,
I am persuaded that the use of a good Catechism in all our families will be a great safeguard against the increasing errors of the times … the words should be carefully learned by heart, for they will be understood better as years pass.”
The issue in our day is that if we don’t catechise ourselves and our children, someone else will! Author Collin Hansen says, “No matter how hard you may try to shield your children, the world will attempt to catechize them. Children’s books teaching the values of expressive individualism will end up in your house, and you won’t even know how they got there. You won’t be able to block out every Disney movie and every top 40 song. Even if you could, you’d probably have an easier time keeping outside air out of your house than thinking your children won’t be catechized by the world.” The phrase “prepare the child for the road rather than the road for the child” comes to mind, for we need to be deliberate at training our own children (and ourselves, mind you) in the way we should go (Proverbs 22:6).
This year we want to help you as a Christian to get grounded spiritually and help individuals and families instil the treasured doctrines of the Christian faith by using the Westminster Shorter Catechism. This coming Sunday we are freely giving out a resource called ‘Firm in the Faith’ that guides readers in the truth of the Catechism over the 52 weeks of the year. Each individual or household will need to use and adapt it in a way that works best for their situation; the content for each week can be spread over the 7 days of the week, or it could be done ‘all in one go’. However you choose to use it is fine, we just really want to encourage you to use it. For example, this book could be a great tool for families to use for devotions each evening at the dinner table, where they discuss, memorise and help each other understand the truths presented. There are also leader/parent notes at the back of the book that can assist those leading. Also look out each week in the bulletin for a link to a puppet video for young children featuring, ‘Westy the Cat’, for this can help introduce the little ones to the doctrine.
Everyone, both young and old, individuals and families can together step into a new year with new tools to learn some good ‘ole trusted truth from God’s Word. Let’s pray that together we learn and ‘lock in’ the great doctrines of the faith. Are you ready?
If indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” Colossians 1:23 (ESV)
Let’s get grounded for life!
Pastor Andrew Edmonds