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The Covenant Way: Learning Christian Grammar by Roger Wiles

Roger N. Wiles is Pastor of Covenant of Grace Presbyterian Church in Winston Salem, NC.  He is also the host of the radio program Reformation Today on 830 AM (WTRU). His email address is wiles.roger@gmail.com.  You may read his blog at http://www.reformationblog.com/.

“Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?” I’m not speaking of the television show; I’m speaking of a well taught and catechized covenant child of God of that age.   I suggest that if adults on a television program struggle with a 5th Grade response to “What was the 49th state admitted to the Union?” it is doubtful they would know the answer to “What is God?”

Christian and non-Christian alike bemoan the “dumbing down” of America.  Sadly the Church did not escape the “dumbing down.”  This intellectual decline reduced the Christian faith from a biblical, historic, objective, cognitive religion into a cultural, contemporary, subjective, feel good experience – Christian faith went from “I believe” to “I feel.”

Let me get back to 5th graders.   If Christian parents are increasingly unable to articulate their faith imagine how this adversely effects the communication of biblical faith to children.  Children learn to pray “Now I lay me down to sleep . . .” which is only one word away in meaning from “Twinkle twinkle little star. . . .”  Children are told that Jesus wants them to be “good little boys and girls.”   The “gospel” for children is singing “Jesus loves me this I know. . . .”

The Church has not helped the problem.  Children often spend their early and teen years in segregated Sunday School hearing the same stories of Noah and the Ark, David and Goliath, and Zacchaeus up in the tree, over and over and over again.  Then we move them to Children’s Church to hear moral stories from the Bible and that Jesus loves them and then they color, play and eat snacks.  It is uncommon today for children to sit in worship under the preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments during their formative years.

The Christian faith “once for all delivered to the saints” is not being passed to the next generation.   We have lost the language, the grammar if you will, of the Christian faith.   God’s people do not know the words of God – creation, sin, covenant, law, atonement, grace, justification, sanctification and gospel, to name a few.   To reengage God’s people with God’s Word is at the heart of another Reformation.  To do so is to go against the culture and return to the “ancient paths.”

Continue reading. . . .

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