This text is a part of the 5 Myths sequence.
We Are Theology Practitioners
First issues first: Everyone seems to be practising some type of theologyincluding our youngsters. Whether or not we all know it or not, our children are theologians as a result of God made them to be theologians. The query for Christian dad and mom, church members, and mates is, How will we assist youngsters be good theologians?
To start out, considered one of first issues we have to do is overcome some potential stereotypes relating to the connection between children and theology. In brief, we have to break a couple of mythsmyths weve confronted ourselves whereas rising up, or myths weve merely neglected, or even perhaps some weve perpetuated on our personal.
To assist our children turning into sound theologians, lets consider a couple of of those and see what God has to say about them.
J. Ryan Lister
Emblems of the Infinite King seeks to introduce younger readers to the fantastic thing about Gods Phrase utilizing the classes of systematic theology in vivid, inventive, and revolutionary methods. Written for teenagers ages 10+.
Fantasy #1: Youngsters dont need theology.
This primary fable finds its roots in the concept theology all the time must be stuffy and boring. And although there may be some reality on this fable (lets be sincere, the church typically struggles in exhibiting us how stunning and joyful theology will be), the issue appears to be extra in observe than in supply. In different phrases, theologians are the issue, not God. God is the inventive onehe invented enjoyable and creativeness and he fills his creation with each. He even creates us and our children to be inventive and imaginative like him.
Theology doesnt have to be stuffy and boring. As an alternative, we are able to take our youngsters again to the supply materialsto the tales of Scripture full of drama, humor, suspense, wickedness, and intrigue. We are able to inform our children tales from church historical past that can overwhelm, excite, and depart them desirous to know extra.
However, maybe probably the most humbling, we are able to let our youngsters assist us rethink and reexamine our theology too. Among the finest theological questions posed are people who come streaming via the creativeness of a childan creativeness that grown-ups have typically forgotten.
So, its not that children dont need theology, its that they could not need our imaginative and prescient of God as a result of our imaginative and prescient of God isnt as large as theirs is anymore.
Fantasy #2: Youngsters cant deal with theology.
Subsequent, many people assume that theology is just too advanced for youngsters. We discover that theology requires a sure mental sophistication to be grasped, one which our children dont have. The considering is, what child can grasp the Trinity or the hypostatic union? Why ought to we overwhelm our little ones with such weighty topics?
However thats the issue, proper? It doesnt need to be overwhelmingbut much more whats the issue with being overwhelmed by our infinite Lord? Isnt that the place all of us ought to stand? Moreover, what grownup can provide a full account of the Trinity or a whole description of the hypostatic union?
We dont withhold addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division from our children as a result of they cant do calculus or trigonometry. No, we begin math with the hopes that our youngsters will be capable of advance into extra advanced theorems and equations. And so it needs to be with theology (1 Tim 4:12). Its not that our children cant deal with theology, its that we dont give them credit score and, in some ways, we havent thought via a correct development of instructing our youngsters theological truths in ways in which correspond with their improvement.
Everyone seems to be practising some type of theologyincluding our youngsters
Fantasy #3: Youngsters don’t have any place of their lives for theology.
Third, the modern world says that theology is pointless as a result of it isnt as vital as different issues in our lives. The world strikes too quick, our calendars are too full, there are too many reveals on Netflix, and there are too many video video games to play. Faculty curriculums inform us what we actually want. Had been so busy that weve turned reality into soundbites and farmed out faith to the pastor and the youth leaders for Sundays solely. We not have timeand because the tradition preaches, no needfor both us or our children to do a deep dive into the deep issues of God.
Now, this fable is constructed on a false assumption: that theology is much less vital than the issues of this world. We’re so busy making our children busy that we dont even acknowledge what is admittedly and eternally important. As an alternative, have been so caught up in constructing our children earthly resumes for earthly fortunes that weve forgotten to inform our children concerning the dwelling hope that results in an imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance saved in heaven (1 Pet. 1:34).
We have to appropriate this assumption for ourselves and our children. As a result of after we make God-centered theology peripheral, we make true pleasure and happiness peripheral too. Once we say there is no such thing as a time for theology, we educate them that worldly idols are worthy of their time when understanding God in Christ via the Spirit is just not.
Fantasy #4: Youngsters can get their theology from another person.
This fable begins with the methods weve discovered to outsource our religious lives. We now depart issues as much as the consultants. We depart theology to the theologians, sermons to pastors, and youth ministry to youth ministers.
Now, as dad and mom, we’ve to come back to grips with why we do that. Sure, the tradition teaches us to belief specialists however there are in all probability deeper causes. Maybe we discover it too troublesome to assume exhausting about theological concepts ourselves. Or maybe we dont assume we’ve time to ponder who God is and what he does for us. Or possibly we dont assume we’ve the chops to reply our children questions on our religion.
Nevertheless it doesnt need to be this fashion.
Heres the factor: children will get their theology from someplace. The query isnt if they are going to ask about God, the query is the place they are going to discover their solutions. The large questions are all the time there, particularly within the hearts of our youngsters, and the world is all the time on the cultural altar prepared and keen to (mis)lead them into irreverent worship.
Now, we’d by no means depart our children alone and unsupervised within the ocean, would we? Why then would we depart them to struggle the currents of our tradition on their very own? We have to stroll with our children, even when its troublesome, even once they (or we) dont need it. Not as a result of we’ve all of the solutions, however as a result of we all know the One who does. Our kids dont need consultants, they need dad and mom who love them and who will take care of them and assist them with their large questions on God and life.
Fantasy #5: Theology is the top in itself.
Now for the opposite finish of the spectrum: there are those that love theology and educate their children to like theology too. Nevertheless, they do it for the incorrect causes. They love theology merely for theologys sake.
And that’s the fable: that theology is for information alonethat understanding all the precise solutions to God is the objective of our life and our childrens lives. However thats the issue. Once we do that, we educate our children to like theology for their very own delight; we educate our youngsters to make use of theology to wield theological authority over others.
However this typically results in one thing a lot worse. We educate our children that theology can be utilized, not solely to train authority over others however that our theology may even train authority over God himself. You see, if God is on the working desk of their mind and our theological commitments, then we are able to start to assume that we stand over him and are capable of management him.
And right here is the corrective: Theology isnt the pointworship is. And we have to educate this to our personal hearts in addition to to our childrens hearts. To place it one other method, doctrine ought to all the time lead us and our children to God himself. We have to assist our children get their motives and assumptions proper. We have to assist them pursue theology to seek out God relationally whereas serving to them see that none of us can ever grasp God in full. And that ought to make each coronary heart, irrespective of its age, sing as a result of it units us all up for a lifetime of searching for and praising God in a method that by no means will get previous or boring as a result of that worship may have no finish, right now or ceaselessly.
Ryan Lister is the writer of Emblems of the Infinite King: Enter the Information of the Dwelling God.