Teaching Children about a Christian Worldview (#8)

What lenses do we use to look at moral, ethical, cultural, academic, or scientific questions? Children should learn about Creation, Fall and Redemption as lenses through which to look at our world.

First I need to talk about a book. My friend Mark wrote a really neat book. It’s a high school textbook, but so helpful for adults, too. It’s called Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption.

All of your prior knowledge of Scripture comes into play when teaching worldview. But this exercise in discernment can happen at the dinner table, as you “walk by the way,” and anytime you are wondering about what Scripture has to say about something.

One example is the concept of “Work.” Let’s start with Creation. How did God design work? Well, He made it to be Adam and Eve’s job to maintain the garden, to have dominion over all the earth (Genesis 1:28). It was good before the Fall. So what happened? With the Fall, work was cursed (Genesis 3:17-19). Work is now hard and laborious and a battle with thorns and thistles. Man’s heart now has laziness as a tendency. Many Proverbs would have something to say about this, right? What about Redemption? Well, we see Jesus applying His hands to work. We see Paul telling the Colossians  to do work heartily as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23, see also Ecclesiastes 9:10). Ultimately, the curse will be reversed in the new heavens and new earth.

This exercise challenges children to embrace God’s help to obey His commands to work hard and dilligently.

Teaching Children the Attributes of God (#7)

Knowing God and Who He is will prepare children to trust Him during life’s trials and difficulties.

Here are two books that changed my life.

What Do I Know About my God? by Mardi Collier

This book challenges you to get to know your God by starting to list out verses about God’s character by topic. My God is good is one category. But how do I know He is good? That’s where you list verses that you come across in Scripture that describe how you can bank on His goodness. Two verses in that category are Psalm 34:8, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” and Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.” (NKJV)

I can begin to describe how thinking in these categories has helped me in times of difficulty. If I’m struggling with ANYTHING, there is a truth about God that will comfort, challenge or encourage me.

When Life and Beliefs Collide: How Knowing God Makes a Difference by Carolyn Custis James

This book presents how the two truths about God–that He is in control/sovereign and that He is good–are often tested and tried by our circumstances. And ultimately, you have to trust that God is in control and that He is good because God’s Word says so, not because your life seems to show it to be true right now.

Children who learn about God and His nature and attributes from a young age, especially if these concepts are accompanied by verses, will be prepared to encounter difficulty all along life’s way.

One concept that has really helped me when I find my soul in a quandry is to ask myself three questions. Usually at that time in my life one of these is particularly applicable.

  1. In this situation, how is God my Savior? (What is He ready to save me from? Am I looking to Him as my Savior?)
  2. How is He my Lord? (Am I submitting to His will? Am I willing to serve Him?)
  3. How is He my Example? (Is Jesus asking me to take up my cross and follow Him in this?)

So how does this apply to teaching Children about God? Well, if I am looking to God and meditating on His attributes, it will come out in my speech. If I pray for help to find the lost keys or library book and my kids see me pray and then God answer, then you better believe it, when they are looking for their lost dolly shoe, that little head bows and asks Jesus to help her find her dolly’s shoe.

One way that I taught this to children in a very rudimentary way was in my Sunday School class one time. We had a prayer time where we would write out a prayer request on a strip of construction paper. When God answered the prayer, we stapled the answers together into a chain. It was neat to see the chain grow longer every week.

I soon realized that I needed to teach the children not just to pray for requests, but to praise God for who He is. So I started writing “Dear God, I praise you because…” and gave each child a small card with an attribute of God. “You are loving,” “You are kind,” “You are powerful,” “You are in control,” and others. I tried to explain to them a little about what it meant. Their faith-filled prayers were all the more sweet as they praised Jehovah for being loving and kind.

Teaching Children what Scripture Says about Behaviour (#6)

As you correct children’s behavior, you will be referencing all of the categories we have talked about before, especially God’s Moral Law. Here are some resources that put verses together in a helpful way.

My favorite resource is compact and practical. It’s a calendar-shaped booklet. I have it taped inside one of my kitchen cabinets. It’s called Wise Words for Moms by Ginger Plowman.

In the book Teach Them Diligently by Lou Priolo, there is a whole appendix with different categories and verses. It’s very helpful.

One resource I wanted to link to is a book by Pam Forster called “For Instruction in Righteousness.” It has sections for different struggles and sins and the verses in Scripture on that topic. You have to check out the sample chapter!

One of my friends is currently making this Child Training Bible for her family. She has both the Virtue Training Bible (with positive character traits) and the Child Training Bible set that is more geared for addressing misbehavior or bad attitudes.

 

Teaching Children the Basic Tenets of Christianity (#3)

Catechisms are a great way to teach the basic beliefs that make up what it means to be a Christian. This lays a foundation for understanding the Gospel.

Our church is currently using the Kids4Truth program. The questions and answers cover these categories: The Bible, God’s Greatness, God’s Goodness, the Trinity, God’s Creation, God’s View of You, God’s Law, Jesus Christ, God’s Gift of Salvation, God’s Purpose for His Children, God’s Work–Past and Present and God’s Plans for the Future. These cover many, many of the basic ideas you would find in a systematic theology. I think it would be helpful for a family to use these little books even if their church doesn’t have this kind of program.

One resource that seems helpful, especially for small children, is Catechism for Young Children by Vic Lockman. It’s based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism and from a Reformed or Presbyterian perspective.

Teaching Children the Big Picture of Redemption (#2)

Beyond just knowing the stories, children need to learn how to fit them together. Teach them the sweeping arc of God’s plan for redemption.

There is a really helpful basic timeline of history from Answers in Genesis called the Seven C’s of History. The Seven C’s are Creation, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross and Consummation. If a child can fit a Bible story into where it falls on that timeline of history, it’s very helpful.

Here are some other great resources that help tie together the story of the Bible.

The Jesus Storybook Bible

The illustrations are not my favorite in this one. But I love how every story is tied into God’s plan to send Jesus as Savior and to offer salvation to both Jews and Gentiles.

The Big Picture Story Bible

I love this story Bible. It often makes me cry because it’s a precious reminder of God keeping His promises. Our copy came with the Audiobook version. Our kids often fall asleep at night listening to it.