We just experienced a full weekend of being together and hearing from our guest philospher and apologist Dr. Douglas Groothuis. The focus of his time with us was to heighten an awareness of the need to pursue knowledge of Christ and one's Christian faith. He asked our parents and teens to consider, "What do you believe?" and then charged them to know and believe the Bible. He quoted, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37), (which is a verse that now lives on the wall of our youth floor as a constant reminder of our highest calling).
So, where do we go from here? Can we do better about engaging our hearts, souls, and minds to love God better? I think the answer will always be "yes" to that question, but I have an idea about a new discipline that we can undertake to do something in response to what we heard this weekend. Here goes...!
Go to www.newcitycatechism.com.
You will see a website entry point as well as an invitation to download an app for using a joint adult and children's 52-question catechism as adapted by Timothy Keller and Sam Shammas from the Reformation catechisms. It is interactive and engaging with a scripture verse, short commentary, short video, and a prayer for each question that is posed. Quotes from theological giants such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, Augustine of Hippo, John Bunyan, and C. S. Lewis are incorporated by current scholars who helped write the commentaries.
The questions are put into three different categories (much like Dr. Groothuis's approach in his Saturday evening lecture): Part 1 is God, Creation and Fall, Law; Part 2 is Christ, Redemption, Grace; and Part 3 is Spirit, Restoration, and Growing in Grace.
I highly recommend that our families consider using one question per week to share at a family time together. How amazing it would be for our children and teens to really "know" why they are Christians and for our families to have engaged conversations about these scriptures as we all strive to live out our faith. The world will keep trying to teach us otherwise.
I'm excited about discovering this resource and I hope you will take the time to engage with the possibilities!!!
I will finish with the following quote by Timothy Keller about the power of a catechism in a child's experience. (This comes from the Introduction on the website.)
"When my son Jonathan was a young child, my wife Kathy and I started teaching him a children's catechism. In the beginning we worked on just the first three questions:
Question 1: Who made you?
Question 2: What else did God make?
Answer: God made all things.
Question 3: Why did God make you and all things?
Answer: For his own glory.
One day Kathy dropped Jonathan off at a babysitter's. At one point the babysitter discovered Jonathan looking out the window. "What are you thinking about?" she asked him. "God," he said. Surprised, she responded, "What are you thinking about God?" He looked at her and replied, "How he made all things for his own glory." She thought she had a spiritual giant on her hands - a little boy looking out the window, contemplating the glory of God in creation!"