Teaching Theology to Youth

Dear Parents:

We all need encouragement, and at this time a year ago, I received an encouraging email that should encourage your hearts as well.  It is written by a mom with three little ones, the third being a 9 lb. 15.5 oz. girl born just two weeks prior to writing.  Years ago, she had been a teen in our ministry at Spring Branch Baptist Church, where she had participated with other teens and their parents in Sunday evening Bible studies.  She wrote to give thanks—and truly the Lord Jesus deserves His praise—so please listen as she describes the effect of those years on her life now.

I was in Bible study [a few weeks ago] and was caught off guard when some of the older ladies were discussing and working through theology that I had been introduced to a long time ago (I can’t remember what it was now, I just remember being surprised).  This has happened many times to me over the course of time, in several different settings.  Almost without exception the principle or subject is one I learned or was introduced to during your ministry at Spring Branch.  I don’t know if I have ever thanked you for that and wanted to take the opportunity to do so now…

Thank you for allowing a bunch of teenagers to sit in on Bible Studies that many thought were over their heads, or that might even be detrimental because of controversies they could present.  I have such a deeper knowledge of God and His word because of those times.  I have so much more grace toward brothers and sisters that might hold different views in some areas because I was allowed to see some of those controversies discussed and worked out by older more mature adults, knowing their faith was intact and true even though they didn’t agree on some issues.  Because of many of those teachings I have not been shaken by challenging theologies or principles like many of my peers who were introduced to them later in life…

While I am thankful for all I learned for myself, I can now see how that knowledge can advance my children too.  Just like my parents’ knowledge enabled them to give us a head start spiritually (with the hope that we will be able to learn more than they did because our foundations are bigger, and eventually surpass them) so I hope to give our children the same, and hope to see them surpass me in their knowledge of God and His word.  With the foundations you provided us I know that is possible, as long as the Lord blesses us to communicate it all and softens our children’s hearts to His word.

This letter is so instructive.  While some would say that we should limit our teaching to only what children can comprehend, Christians for centuries have done otherwise.  We have purposely given them more, believing that God may awaken this precious seed at the right time, when they need it most.  Consequently, our children memorize the word of God, and give rote answers to theology questions, and participate in worship services, where the word that is over all of our heads is preached and sung and believed.  And even if they cannot yet understand it, they can at least see others who do, and feel in the room the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom.  This is how the Lord instructed the Jews, and this is what we seek to do as well (see Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 31:10-13).

Parents, thank you for risking that ancient road here at the academy.  Where we can with our children, we aim to keep the teaching on their level; but where we cannot, we entrust them to God and store things away for the future, in the hopeful desire that someday, when they need it, they will connect more of the dots and remember that there are answers in the word of God to the claims they are hearing.  As the Lord has done for one mom, so may the Lord do for our children—and for the children who will follow them!

Thank you again.  All glory be to Christ!

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