I call upon You, Lord, God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob and Israel, You who are the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God who, through the abundance of your mercy, was well-pleased towards us so that we may know You, who made heaven and earth, who rules over all, You who are the one and the true God, above whom there is no other God; You who, by our Lord Jesus Christ gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit, give to every one who reads this writing to know You, that You alone are God, to be strengthened in You, and to avoid every heretical and godless and impious teaching.

St Irenaeus of Lyons, Against the Heresies 3:6:4

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Making Disciples of All Peoples, Including Your Own

The other evening, I was talking with Steve on the phone, or should I say trying to talk, while his sweet one year old daughter, Hannah, was offering her unintelligible commentary in the background. But don’t get me wrong, Hannah is rapidly mastering that muscle between her teeth. Nearly every time Steve and I talk, Hannah has added to her reservoir of gibberish more and more comprehensible verbiage. Fanny and I are fourteen years removed from the joy that Steve and Stacy are experiencing with teaching Hannah her first words and concepts.

As much as I love sharing in the wonder of all this with Steve, nothing has struck me like what I heard the other night. Hannah is not only learning words for their own sake and practicability; Hannah is doing catechesis!

Steve held the phone between himself and Hannah and asked her, “Who made you?”

Hannah immediately shot back, “God.”

“What else did God make?”

“Aw tings!” (trans. “All things!”), she responded.

This caused me to think of the words of the Master, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise” (Matt 21:16). How wonderful for Hannah to be blessed with parents who labor to nurture her in a gospel-centered life!

Our daughter Israel has a journal wherein she is transcribing the ecumenical creeds, Reformed confessions and catechisms. She just finished the Westminster Shorter Catechism and will be starting the Heidelberg tomorrow. She plans to hand this on to her own children and, Lord willing, their children.

Catechesis is a tether cord that binds us today to the elect throughout the ages, back to the apostolic patriarchs who died to hand down the faith once for all.

Dr. R. Scott Clark, Professor of Church History and Historical Theology at Westminster Seminary California, has a fine article on Why We Memorize the Catechism.

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