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Catechizing Our Children
The Whys And Hows Of Teaching The Shorter Catechism Today
by Terry L Johnson
Publisher:Banner of Truth Trust
In this small book the author makes the argument for teaching children the catechism regularly from a young age, quoting many well-known theologians as he goes along.
The author discusses the history and strengths of the catechism (specifically the Westminster Shorter Catechism), but it is when he writes about its structure and the way it can be used to present the whole gospel that his argument is the strongest. He is able to show how carefully it was compiled by faithful men in order to demonstrate how God’s plan for salvation fits together.
However, the danger comes in the way the book teeters on the edge of giving the impression that a thorough grasp of the catechism will in some way help to ensure that a child will be converted. The author is obviously aware that this is not the case and makes sure that he includes caveats, but the concern is that an uninformed reader could take away a wrong impression.
The other big concern is that suggested programmes for Sunday School suggest teaching the catechism in detail on a regular basis. For most Sunday Schools this would leave little time for teaching from the Bible—as a result the question has to be asked, which is more important, the words of man or the Word of God?
The book makes a good case, but in the end it presents an unbalanced argument and may only be helpful for teachers and preachers.
Reviewer: Alan Hill (26/05/14)