Greg’s post about the new catechism from TGC sparked a thought in my mind about a theme which we have mentioned several times on this blog–the importance of education. I don’t just mean teaching the ability to read and right, but the importance of teaching people the basics tenet of the Faith and of Morality. In the arena of attempting to create a moral consensus as we are on this blog, teaching morality is of utmost importance.
Consider the moral consensus of Old Testament Israel. The book of Joshua ends with the people declaring their allegiance to the LORD God of Israel, but the book of Judges opens after the book of Joshua with everyone doing what was right in their own eyes. Moral consensus quickly disappeared. It was not simply because Joshua died and no strong leader appeared, but because parents did not teach their children. [Judges 2:10 And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.] Without being taught about the God of Israel, the people quickly abandoned the covenant which had provided their moral consensus.
The purpose of a catechism is to teach the basic doctrines of a given faith. Unfortunately, catechizing children has become less emphasized today than of old. Perhaps that is because ‘doctrine’ is not viewed as important in many churches, but my fear is that parents no longer view it as part of their responsibility to teach the faith to the next generation. Instead, we might teach our children Bible stories and tell them to be good boys and girls, but many Christian parents do not even do that. The result is a spiritually illiterate group of children who could answer Bible trivia about a given story but cannot relate the importance of that story to the history of redemption in Christ.
The same is often true of morality. For Christians, morality should be based in scripture, but I often wonder how so many Christians can hold such varied positions on morality. Again, I think the answer is often a lack of parents educating their children on the relationship between faith and real life. The result is young adults who cannot judge a topic on the basis of morality, but they know how many stones David had when he fought Goliath!
This is a real travesty in our culture and in our churches. Parents have been called to teach their children (Deuteronomy 6) about faith and morals. Establishing a moral consensus starts at home as parents pass on a moral religious heritage to their children. I praise Greg for catechizing his daughter. I do the same with my three daughters. My two-year-old even has the first three questions of the CYC memorized and will often chant the answers to herself in the car–“God, all things, own glory.” I want to encourage all parents that read this blog to fulfill their calling as parents and pass on to their children a moral faith framework.