Welcome to Emmanuel Reformed Baptist Church! We are thankful to be able to worship the Lord together with you today. We are also grateful for the wonderful privilege of teaching your child about God and His gracious salvation that is found in Jesus Christ. Please feel free to ask as many questions as you like about our Sunday school program but perhaps there is one question that we can already anticipate. Why do our Sunday school children learn the catechism?
There are many answers to that basic question, but the Bible gives at least 3 reasons why it is good for children to memorise spiritual truth. First, children are naturally curious. God has created boys and girls with a desire to know the truth about Him and the world around them including themselves. No doubt, as a parent of a little child, you are very familiar with how many questions they can ask in a day! So, the question and answer format of a catechism fits the way that a child’s mind works. They ask questions and expect answers about all sorts of things and a catechism provides the simple answers to the most important questions they will ever ask.
A second reason that we teach our children the catechism is because they must take in truth a little bit at a time. Jesus taught his listeners “as they were able to hear it” (Mark 4:33) which is to say that he made spiritual truth easily digestible for those unaccustomed to being taught. Jesus did not overload his disciples’ plates with too much spiritual food at once. No wise parent of a 2 year old would give them steak for dinner because the child cannot eat big, tough pieces of meat. Likewise, we ought to tell our children the great truths of the bible but only in small portions since they will not be able to understand too much at once. A catechism feeds God’s word to a child a little bit at a time. You will be amazed how much the child is able to learn and remember over the course of several years!
A third reason we use the catechism in our children’s Sunday school classes relates to our morning worship service. During that time, we focus on reading the bible and the pastor spends a long time preaching from a particular text of Scripture. We do this because God commands us to know His word. However, children may find it difficult to follow a sermon which is usually meant for teenagers and adults. After all, the bible is a big book and young children aren’t able to read. But, what if they already knew the big words and key ideas being talked about because they had memorised them from the catechism? What if they knew about topics like “prayer” or “faith” or even “the covenant of grace” because their Sunday school teacher had carefully and patiently taught them? What if the preacher used a big, strange word like “justification” but the little 5 year old knew that it meant “It is God regarding sinners as if they had never sinned” because she had already memorised it? Do you think your child would pay more attention to the message if they knew what it was about? We believe that they would. And that is our great aim in teaching your child the catechism. We want them to pay attention to God’s word so they will know how great God is and so they will know that Jesus’ salvation from sin is for them too.
We will not hide them from their children, but tell the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. Psalm 78:4