For generations upon generations, families have used the Westminster Shorter Catechism to teach their children the biblical truths of the Faith. Here are three helpful pointers in how to use our new illustrated edition of this beloved resource.
We would suggest that the ideal time to open and use our book would be at regular family worship or in the quiet Sabbath afternoon. Children thrive on consistency, and your commitment to them in this manner will quickly become the regular and expected thing that the family does. Family worship doesn’t need to be long, but it does need to be a regular feature of the day. A time where the Bible is read, praise is sung, and the doctrine and practises of the Christian faith are discussed and learnt. Use the Catechism as part of that discussion.
Cooperate in the learning.
It is a great help when parents and guardians commit to learning and memorising the catechism alongside the children. For example, if you ask what the answer is to question 4 ‘What is God?’, it is important that you know the answer without looking. Do persist in this style of memorisation of question and answer, as in our experience both teacher and child can very quickly catch onto what is expected and we trust the modern language used in our book will be an aid to this. Furthermore, we recognise the importance of imagery and with this beautifully illustrated version, there are plenty of visual clues to discuss and hang memorised parts on it. The goal in this is not just robotic parroting of answers but that you would discuss and learn the principles and biblical truths that the Shorter Catechism so clearly reveals.
Community is vital.
Parts of the Shorter Catechism can be hard to understand, and children will come up with tricky questions. In these moments you should remember your place in the church community. Seek advice from your pastor and elders; they would be only too delighted to help you and your family as you seek to pass on our Christian beliefs. In using our book, in teaching the truths of the Christian faith with this pattern of asking questions and memorising answers, you are serving the body of Christ, and laying a lifelong foundation of knowledge. As a minister, I have been at countless bedsides and asked elderly saints questions from the catechism of their youth and found their eyes light up with remembrance of the answer and more importantly the confession of their faith in a God who saves and transforms.
In ending our brief blog, we recognise your great desire to see your children confess the faith. We trust in God’s promises that His salvation is for our children and us, and with given parental responsibility we set out to teach them of God who wills and works in them for His good pleasure. Our prayer is that this illustrated catechism book would be a useful resource for you in that task, but ultimately remember is it God who will provide His children with everything He requires of them. Keeping trusting in God’s promises and availing of His provisions, especially the ordinary means of grace; the Word, and Sacraments.
Get your copy of The Illustrated Westminster Shorter Catechism here.