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The Importance of Catechesis

Several years before arriving at reformed convictions, I thought catechetical instruction was some peculiar phenomenon that only Roman Catholics and Lutherans did. It seemed to me like a strange pseudo-brainwashing activity that was a holdover from years past. But after becoming reformed I started to see the absolute importance of catechetical instruction. It became evident to me after reflecting upon my college experience.

During my college years I encountered Christians from a wide variety of backgrounds. This experience eventually sent me into doctrinal disarray. I was hearing all sorts of ideas about eschatology, worship, views of Scripture, etc. and was having difficulty squaring each of these claims with what I was taught as a child. Lost in the process of weighing competing claims I did not know where to go in Scripture or my church’s teaching to determine the truth. It was only after college that I saw how catechetical instruction would have prepared me for such an experience.

Reformed catechesis in the home, especially, grounds a child in the reformed doctrines and solidifies them by building a foundational structure. Whenever a catechized child encounters a new doctrine, its claims pass through a reformed grid. Catechesis, then is not simply instruction, but foundational and provides guidance and counsel to children when parents are not directly available to provide instruction – even as they grow up and move out on their own.

Before you write catechesis off as pseudo-brainwashing, consider that we are called to teach our children. Regardless of a parent’s activity, children will learn something. It is the parent’s responsibility, first and foremost, to instruct children and not to let an educational void be filled with other, often competing, instruction. This is the difficult work of day-to-day shepherding in the family. It is meant to work in harmony with corporate worship and instruction; and catechetical instruction is a crucial element for reformed families.

Many excellent resources for catechetical instruction are available and several other resources making the case for reformed catechesis are available as well. The following is a select list.

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