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#40325 Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:35 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 22
Cal Gal Offline OP
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Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 22
Hi. This is the first time I've posted on these boards. I have a question that I think could be easily fielded my many on these boards.

But first, just a bit of personal background on me: I am reformed <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/BigThumbUp.gif" alt="" />, our family attends a typical non-denominational church <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/Banghead.gif" alt="" />. We have two girls, 5 and 8. They attend AWANA at our non-denom. Last night as I was heading to bed, I was thinking that I needed to teach my girls the Apostle's Creed because they certainly won't learn it at our church. However, my girls have been in AWANA and have been taught that Jesus created the world (all things were made through Him, without Him nothing that has been made was made), no problem with that other than that the Apostle's Creed starts out with "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth." And of course, several passages in the OT refer to what I would assume is the Father's role in creation.

This issue has been raised by my 8 year old already, so I guess the good news is that she is paying attention in AWANA. She's just so "concrete" at this age, if you know what I mean.

I guess I just want to have my ducks in a row when I teach the girls this creed and they likely bring this up. Has anyone else fielded such questions from kids? I know my 5 year old is having a doozy of a time grasping the Trinity. She says that God is Jesus. I tell her that Jesus is God, and she just looks at me, in typical 5 year old fashion thinking that I just said the same thing that she said.

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 418
Old Hand
Old Hand
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 418

Welcome to The Highway!

I would recommend using a children's catechism prior to the actual Apostle's Creed. The Creed is a mighty summary of the faith, originally designed as a short expression of the essentials of the faith by one being baptized, but its use assumes that one has had time to learn and study the content of its various elements, and that is what the older catechisms were designed in part to do.

We used the Catechism for Young Children based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism. This would certainly be age-appropriate for both your girls, especially if they have not been catechised prior to this.

Of course you will want to tailor the teaching to their particular level of understanding, but the essential thing is to get the basic facts of the faith into their minds now; the processing of those facts will be much easier for them if the doctrines are presented in the order of the catechism. So with your 5-year-old's confusion as an example, she needs to learn about the nature of the one God, prior to the Trinity, and then the facts of the Trinity prior to the Son of God becoming man as Jesus, etc. So, for example, the AWANA teaching that "Jesus" is the Creator--incorrect since Jesus did not exist until conceived in Mary; it was the Son of God, who, with the Spirit, but obeying the will of the Father, created, thus Creation is attributed initially to the Father--will be corrected.

Sorry I don't have a good link right now for that Catechism. I have one, but it lacks scriptural references which would certainly be appropriate as you teach your daughters. Maybe someone else could provide a link?

In Christ,
Paul S
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 22
Cal Gal Offline OP
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Posts: 22
Okay. That makes a lot of sense to me -- so teaching the creed is like putting the cart before the horse.

I attended a tiny Presbyterian church in Canada until our family moved when I was eleven. We said the creed almost every Sunday, and so I thought that it should become part of my girl's childhood as well. I was never catechised myself, so I am "flying blind" to some degree, although now as an adult I have great respect for both the Westminster and the Christian Reformed Church's Heidelberg.

My husband purchased a book written by Susan Hunt and Richie Hunt called "Big Truths of Little Kids" It's a very basic book with catechism like question and answers. It's too sophisticated for my 5-year-old, but it should be good for my older daughter.

I would be very interested in other suggestions/materials. As I said, I am in some ways flying blind and have no support in these regards from our current church.

And Paul, thank you so much for your clarification on the Son of God's role in creation. I "knew" I had problems with the AWANA cirriculum's description of Jesus being the creator but I couldn't put my finger on it and the materials seemed to have scripture reference to back their position. Thank you very much!

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 330
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 330
In our church the Apostle's Creed is read every Sunday as our confession of faith. The children therefore hear it from a very early age!


Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 710
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 710
Cal Gal,

Welcome to the Highway.

The expression, "He descended into hell" in the Apostles creed also needs an explanation.

The Reformed Church has taught that Jesus Christ only suffered the torments of hell and Christ did not literally desend into Hell.

The "Compendium of the Christian Religion" is a document that has been used in Reformed churches for over 400 years.

A Compendium of the Christian Religion
Q. 32. What then hath Jesus Christ done to save us?
A. He has suffered for us, was crucified and died, was buried and descended into hell, <span style="background-color:#FFFF00">that is, he suffered the torments of hell,</span> and thus became obedient to his Father, that he might deliver us from the temporal and eternal punishment due to sin.

The Heidelberg Catechism is the second of the "Three Forms of unity"

QUESTION 44 Why is there added, "he descended into hell"?
Answer. That in my greatest temptations, I may be assured, and wholly comfort myself in this, that my Lord Jesus Christ, by his inexpressible anguish, pains, terrors, and hellish agonies, in which he was plunged during all his sufferings, but especially on the cross, hath delivered me from the anguish and torments of hell.

QUESTION 26 What believest thou when thou sayest, "I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth"?
Answer. That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them; who likewise upholds and governs the same by his eternal counsel and providence) is for the sake of Christ his Son, my God and my Father; on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt, but he will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body: and further, that he will make whatever evils he sends upon me, in this valley of tears turn out to my advantage; for he is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing, being a faithful Father.

This is a distictively Reformed text sermon on the proper idea of the expression
"He descended into hell".
Believing in the Jesus Who Descended into Hell



Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 23
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 23
would the part 'he descended into hell' refer to drinking the cup of the wrath of the Father. Because He was smitten and bruised and the Father was pleased to do this. Jesus had prayed for this cup of the wrath of the Father to pass Him.
But, then Jesus submitted to the Fathers will.
so, when Jesus felt the full force of the Fathers rejection and wrath, was not this the hell He was plunged into?
Am I wrong?

BTW. Worldview has a really easy to use Catechism by Brandon Howse.
It has scripture references and is easy to use. Small book, with large type for young eyes.
But, later I would definitely use the Shorter Catechism.
I like Training Hearts Teaching Minds. Can't remember the author atm.

Jude 3
...contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.

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