In my last post, I mentioned that it is important for us to ensure that our children are familiar with the core beliefs of all Christians. We must also help them to understand what being a disciple of Christ entails. This involves knowing not only what God desires to do for us, but also what He expects of us in return.
Let’s start with Christianity’s core beliefs.
These are the foundational teachings of the first apostles. Paul told Timothy, “And the things which you have heard of me among many witnesses, commit the same to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).
The apostle John exhorted, “Let that therefore abide in you, which you have heard from the beginning. If that which you have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, you also shall continue in the Son and in the Father” (1 John 2:24).
Core Christian beliefs:
- The infallibility / inerrancy of the Bible
- God is eternal, having no beginning and no ending.
- God is three distinct Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is one God, not three, with all three Persons having existed from eternity, without a beginning.
- God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (everywhere present at the same time).
- Jesus is fully God and fully man. He existed eternally as God the Son before He became man, but now He is both.
- Jesus was miraculously born of a virgin into a fully human body.
- Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life here on earth.
- He died on the cross of His own free will, to atone for our sins. There is no other way to God or to heaven, aside from trusting in Jesus as our only means of salvation.
- We are saved by grace alone (God’s gift of righteousness to us, through Jesus’ death for us) rather than by any help of our own good deeds. At the same time, those who are true believers desire to live holy lives, modeling our Savior, Jesus.
- Jesus physically rose from the dead.
- He ascended into heaven, and is currently seated at the right hand of God the Father.
- He has sent the Holy Spirit to indwell all believers.
- Upon death, the spirits and souls of all believers are immediately taken to heaven.
- Jesus will come again to receive His Church to Himself. There will be a resurrection of the physical bodies of all believers into new, glorified bodies at that time.
- Jesus will physically return to earth to rule and reign over all.
- Upon death, those who have refused to believe on Jesus will suffer everlasting torment and separation from God. Their physical bodies will also experience a final resurrection, when they will be judged before God’s throne and assigned to eternal damnation in the lake of fire, along with the devil and his angels.
One of the most effective ways to teach these core beliefs is by studying the creeds of the Church with your children. You might want to commit one or two of them to memory. In the early centuries of the Church, creeds were formed by men of God in order to unite believers around the essential doctrines of the Faith. They were also formulated to combat various errors which had crept in. Here are the main creeds:
Statements of Faith:
Still another way to instruct our children in the core beliefs of Christianity is by studying trusted statements of faith or catechisms. Your denomination or fellowship may have a clear statement of faith. If that is not the case, here are a few which may be helpful to you:
The Assemblies of God Statement of Faith (Pentecostal / Charismatic believers)
The Westminster Shorter Catechism (Reformed)
Christian Missionary Alliance Statement of Faith (Evangelical)
In our next post, we will talk about teaching the Ten Commandments as a means to help our children enter into life led by the Holy Spirit.
Resources by Lee Ann: