Teach doctrine. Change behavior.

 

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV).

How Kids Think

Kids wonder, “Are the things I learn in Church really true?” Children who have routinely swallowed teaching about relativism and tolerance have little regard for absolute truth. Many do not believe they can ever know solid, unchanging Truth. Those kids often misunderstand doctrine as rigid rules designed to restrict their freedom. In fact, they learn to label people with deeply held convictions as “close-minded” or “haters” of ideas they disagree with. Western culture no longer reflects a Biblical worldview.

God’s Wisdom

Bible doctrine offers a clear, connected explanation of what Christians believe—the essential truths of the faith. Doctrine must be stated anew for each generation—in the language of that generation. Throughout Church history, creeds were written as a response to current issues that believers struggled with. For example, when some people in the fourth century questioned the deity of Christ (Gnosticism), Church leaders penned the Apostles Creed. This doctrinal summary drew a “line in the sand” that guided the faithful to discern truth from error. A Christian worldview helps believers today sift through various reports and discern “authentic” messages from “false” words.

The Apostle Paul reminds believers that a solid understanding of Christian doctrine “teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,” (Titus 2:11-13). When Christian beliefs change the way we think and act, then we are truly transformed!

True Story

The summer just after Denise graduated from Bible College, she enrolled to work with a youth camp of 3rd-6th graders. She had loved her time in school and realized that the foundation in Christian theology had been life-changing. Denise had invested countless hours crafting creeds and discussing Church beliefs and issues. Her beliefs were not “hand me downs” anymore—but deeply held convictions. She felt fresh and ready to teach youth about God and truth!

Children came to the camp for a one-week program. Denise and her team directed all the recreation, teaching, and skits; they also led discussions with the students each evening. One night, Denise found herself sitting in a cabin with 10 girls immediately after the salvation message. She and the counselor smiled as questions came rapid-fire from the students. “How did Satan come to be?” “What is the Trinity?” “What happens when you die?” and “What does God say about the end of the world?” were among their many queries.
The campers hungered for Truth, and wanted help navigating the depths of the Word of God. Denise realized that if she couldn’t translate the academic theology into the language of an eight-year-old, then she didn’t really understand the truth!

That night, Denise responded to the questions as well as possible, referring to the Bible and always prodding the campers to keep searching for the truth in God’s trustworthy Word. She tried to keep the terms simple and the concepts clear. The children were hungry to know more about God! The rich discussion lasted almost two hours—spanning diverse topics such as prayer, salvation, end times, evangelism, the role of the Church, and the character of God. Denise hoped that the campers’ wonderful curiosity about the Lord and truth would continue for the rest of their lives!

Activity

Download the Apostles Creed from the DiscipleLand website. Read or recite the Creed together. Discuss each phrase and look up Scripture passages. As you progress through the Apostles Creed, be sure to define unfamiliar words and use open-ended discussion techniques.

More Activities

1. Validate your child’s faith by showing practical ways that beliefs relate to contemporary living.
2. After reading the Scriptures with your child, set-aside time to discuss what you have read. Connect the principles and truths from the Bible to common situations that he/she might encounter.
3. At home, reinforce positive attitudes about the Bible, the Church, and Christian living. To a child, if Christianity doesn’t work in the family, then it must not be true. Christian faith must be fortified by consistent, Christ-like behavior.
4. Discuss creative ways to talk with others about your beliefs. Always show kindness and respect—without compromising your stance.

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