Monday, July 20, 2009

Systematic Theology for Children (Big Truths for Young Hearts)

"Imagine a respected theologian devoting himself to training a new generation of pastors and scholars in the seminary classroom. Now imagine him driving home at night to teach that profound theology in simple terms to his children at their bedsides. Now imagine this father compiling those bedside conversations into a book available to all pastors, parents, and children alike. Imagine no more. My friend Dr. Bruce Ware has done it."C. J. Mahaney, Sovereign Grace Ministries
Let me start by saying I have not yet Big Truths for Young Hearts. But I am going to add it to my Amazon list to read later this year. What I will discuss is the message/conversation Dr. Ware had with ?Nancy Legih Demoss' Revive the heart (Talking to your children about God program )regarding this book which has catapulted it into my must read pile. So the following is just a summary of the show and my own thoughts. (Yes, I take notes when I am listenting to certain radio programs and yes, I recognize I am weird!)
Big Truths for Young Hearts is written by Bruce Ware who is a Professor of Christian theology at Southern Seminary and it teaches children Systematic Theology. The same sort of systematic theology taught in graduate school but in kid sized bites.
During the show they discussed how children have a greater capacity then we adults credit them for. Of course they do no have the capacity of a graduate student but they do understand.

I think this is probably why so many times the Bible illustrates the need to include children in the deeper things of the faith: bring the nursing babes (Joel 2:13), Come Children (Psalm 34:11), talking to children present in the audience Acts 10:33, 1 John 5:21, Ephesians 6:1. Certainly, if the Apostles felt it was important to not only speak with children in the audience but to address them directly we too should do the same.

One of the reasons Dr. Ware says we deny children is because we as parents are not sitting at the banquet table ourselves. That we may be afraid of what questions the children might ask. He said instead when they ask a question we should use that a chance to turn them back to the word along with ourselves.

He reminds us to remember that what matters are the word of God and people . That if we eat the worlds entertainment and feed it to our children then they start to prefer junk food. TV/Video games are junk food and it sours the appetite for the healthy life giving food in the word. Dr Ware and his wife suggest turning off the entertainment in favor of the life giving food found in the word.
Children that are able to watch 30 minutes of TV or play 30 minutes of video games are often unable to sit for 5 minutes during a sermon, school work, family devotional time or simple reading. They have become accustomed to being 'entertained' so unless Dad hops up and dances diddy during devotional time the child becomes restless and bored. Additionally, excessive video gaming leads to poorer grades because the kiddos are playing games instead of reading, writing & imaginative play. My final concern with TV/Video is weight gain/fitness and children are living through the TV or the game instead of living. Don't play Madden football go outside and get a couple of friends and play real football. Here are some articles that discuss this for your review:
  • USA Today -Short attention span linked to TV


  • pscycentral -Childhood Television Watching Correlated to Later Attention Problems

  • USA Today - Video games & short attention span

Yes, I do actually believe we should turn off the TV and restrict video games to improve the attention span, health, fitness & grades of our children.

Now back to Dr. Ware and the next days program that I heard and off of my soap box...

We need to convey the study of God as our own passion and we need to show our children that our relation to God is the real deal!

They mentioned that long family vacations in the car is not an opportunity to turn on the portable DVD but instead we should use this as a chance to memorize passages of scripture and discuss them. Then Mrs. Ware talked about how every time she drove through the rocky mnts or thought about them certain memories and scriptures came to mind. How cool is that to be so covered in the word that your thoughts are always turning back to His word!

They suggested Journaling prayers during devotional time and then taking a red pen and writing in the answers to those prayers. How that built faith in both the children and the parents.

They again discussed turning off the video games and TVs and digesting the wholesome gospel truths. Additionally, children should see authentic parental worship.

The final thing they said is that we have to remember that we are not the Holy Spirit. We can only lead and show we cannot make them holy they have to choose that!

This was a very convicting message that he delivered and the best part is that it was delivered by folks that have married & grown children walking with the Lord. I love it when folks who have been there walk out in Titus 2 for those of us still on the path. Being 11 years onto the path of Christian parenting have drastically changed my perspective and I covet the advice of those Godly parents that have come before me (Proverbs 1:5).

I'll let you know what I think of the book after I read it. I hope it's half as good as the message he delivered to Nancy Leigh Demoss!

Parenting for the finish line!


1 comment:

Kyndall said...

Hi Kyle!

I found your blog just the other day and have been checking it out when I get the chance. I know that I am not married, nor have a family, but this post encouraged me greatly! I really desire to be covered in the Word of God (the Word of LIFE!!) and for my future children (Lord willing) to be covered by that Life as well!

Love you Kyle. Kyndall

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