#36 Parents, Take the Trouble to Train Children In the Catechism

These three plainly and briefly contain exactly everything that a Christian needs to know. This instruction must be given, as long as there is no special congregation, from the pulpit at stated times or daily as may be needed, and repeated or read aloud evenings and mornings in the homes for the children and servants, in order to train them as Christians. Nor should they only learn to say the words by rote. But they should be questioned point by point and give answer what each part means and how they understand it. If everything cannot be covered at once, let one point be taken up today, and tomorrow another. If parents and guardians won’t take the trouble to do this, either themselves or through others, there never will be a catechism, except a separate congregation be organized as stated above.

In this manner they should be questioned:
What do you pray?
Answer: The Our Father.
What is meant when you say: Our Father in Heaven?
Answer: That God is not an earthly, but a heavenly Father who would make us rich and blessed in heaven.
What is meant by: Hallowed be thy name?
Answer: That we should honor his name and keep it from being profaned.
How do we profane or dishonor his name?
Answer: When we, who should be his children, live evil lives and teach and believe what is wrong.
And so on, what is meant by the kingdom of God, how it comes, what is meant by the will of God, by daily bread, etc., etc.
So in the Creed:
what do you believe?
Answer: I believe in God the Father, … to the end.
Thereafter from point to point, as time permits, one or two points at a time. For instance:
What does it mean to believe in God the Father Almighty?
Answer: It means to trust in him with all your heart and confidently to expect all grace, favor, help, and comfort from him, now and forever.
What does it mean to believe in Jesus Christ his Son?
Answer: It means to believe with the heart that we would all be eternally lost if Christ had not died for us, etc. (Luther’s Works, v. 53, p.64-67).

Posted in 2019 Teaching Children.

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