Love for Biblical Doctrines
I am very excited with what’s going on in our church today. Why, because I am seeing our young children learning Biblical doctrines in our Sunday School and catechism classes. It’s amazing to hear many of our children memorize Bible verses together with Bible doctrines from our Heidelberg Catechism. Ask one of them What is true faith, and I’m sure you would get an answer like,
“True faith is not only a knowledge and conviction
that everything God reveals in his Word is true;
it is also a deep-rooted assurance,
created in me by the Holy Spirit through the gospel
that, out of sheer grace earned for us by Christ,
not only others, but I too,
have had my sins forgiven,
have been made forever right with God,
and have been granted salvation.”
Oh it’s wonderful to hear our children recite with us the Apostle’s Creed, or pray with us the Lord’s Prayer. I am hopeful that when my generation is gone, our children will take up the task of teaching the next generation of the Biblical doctrines they are now learning from us.
Children, as you may know, can memorize many Bible verses and Bible doctrines from our Catechism or Confession of Faith. And the earlier you teach and encourage them to memorize, the easier for them to learn. So don’t underestimate the learning capacity of your children. You’ll be amazed.
However, while I see this happening to our children, there is a lamentable fact that not many adult Christians, even elders or leaders in Reformed or Evangelical churches, are learning Biblical doctrines. If I am, for example, to ask you, "What is justification," "What is sanctification," and "What’s the difference between the two," would any of you dare to stand and give a brief and concise definition and distinction of these Biblical doctrines?
The point I want to make is that, an average Christian would rather spend time reading anything than classic and orthodox books on theology, or even the Bible itself. My seminary professor, Dr. Cornel Venema, rightly observes: “We live in a period of history that neither prizes biblical doctrine nor believe that its right understanding and defense is a matter of urgency. The lack of solid doctrinal teaching and preaching in many Reformed churches is lamentable. How many churches, even Reformed ones, do not prefer a pastor known for his congenial personality than for his doctrinal integrity and strict adherence to the true teaching of the Word of God?”
It is lamentable indeed! So I pray that we will take seriously the biblical mandate to promote sound doctrine and godly living in our churches today. May our pastors, elders and church leaders set a good example for the believers “in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12).