As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the word doctrine often sounds like an extremely boring term. It conjures up images of an old professor in a tweed jacket using big words like propitiation and protoevangelium. It gives the idea of knowledge for knowledge sake. Dry terminology to fill books and commentaries that only get read during a pastor’s sermon preparation.
Let’s take a step back, though, and look at the definition of doctrine:
doctrine: (n) something that is taught; teachings collectively:
Christian doctrine, therefore, would simply be teaching the truths of Scripture. For instance Paul says in I Corinthians 15:3, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,”
Doctrinal teaching is essential to our Christian faith. In fact in 2 Timothy, we are instructed to place a high regard on sound teaching.
“What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching,with faith and love in Christ Jesus.
Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” 2 Timothy 1:13-14
In other words, every believer is a theologian!
You may be thinking at this point, “That sound great, but I can barely teach my 5 year old how to tie his shoes. How in the world can I teach him doctrine?”
The beauty of our Christian faith is that it goes far beyond catechisms and memorized facts. Those can be very helpful, but the doctrine we are passing on to our kids is real-life gospel.
It’s using our knowledge of the good news of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection to affect change in our own hearts first which then spills over to our parenting and marriage relationships.
Here’s a small example….
My middle son is currently struggling with disobedience and the worst time is always naptime. The other day after disciplining him several times, I sat on the edge of his bed and talked with him about Jesus.
When Jesus was a little boy, can you believe he ALWAYS obeyed his mommy and daddy? When he was 4 like you he was perfect!! Do you know why? Well, Jesus is God and He became a little boy like you so that He could do what you and I can’t do – live perfectly. He lived his whole life without sinning once and then took the punishment for what we would do as sinners! He loves you so much that He wanted to do that for you! Aren’t you thankful for a Rescuer like Jesus?
That, my friends, on a four year old level is the doctrine of incarnation – Jesus becoming man.
I didn’t need to use that term to teach my son an important tenet of the gospel message. You see, doctrine isn’t dry and boring at all.
Doctrine is the seed that grows into beautiful spiritual fruit in the life of the Christian (even the 4 year old ones).
*Looking for more resources for kids and the gospel? Check out the book, Give them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson
*I have included an affiliate link above. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.