Theology for All Ages

One day when I was three years old, I had a little friend from nursery school over to play. As I was whizzing around the house, she looked at my mom and said, “She drives me crazy!” To further emphasize her point, as she spoke, she made circles by the side of her head with her index finger. My mom found it hilarious to hear her private thoughts voiced by this little girl. Apparently I drove my mom crazy because I was on the hyperactive side and posed way too many questions. One question she remembers me asking that she didn’t really know how to answer was, “OK, so God is the Father of Jesus, but who are God’s parents?”

Kids ask some of the best questions! “But just how can God be one and also three?” “Why does God let bad things happen?” “What does it mean that I am made in God’s image?”

Have you ever started to answer one of these questions and realized that your understanding is incomplete? Maybe you try to explain the trinity using one of those analogies like an apple or water but realize along the way that it falls short of the reality. A good thing to say then is, “OK. This is what I know the Bible says. … But let’s ask Dad (or your pastor or elder) if he can help us understand more.” And of course, sometimes we need to tell them that as finite people, we’re just not going to be able to wrap our brains around God’s complete truth, but we need to believe what the Bible says. But God has given us all we need to know for now, and does not want us ignorant of what He has revealed.

Theology is not some dry, academic subject best left to seminary professors and professional Christians! All believers need to comprehend what God has spoken to us in His Word. Theology has direct implications on how we live each day. And as parents we have the added responsibility of teaching the truths of God to our children.

Bruce Ware, theology professor at the conservative Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY has written Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God to help parents (and anyone!) come to a deeper understanding of the rich doctrines of God and His character, the trinity, sin and salvation, God’s sovereignty, the church, death, and heaven and hell. This book sprang from twenty years of discussions Dr. Ware had with his growing girls before they went to bed each night. As he spent time with each daughter, his goal was to communicate the same sequence he followed with his theology students during the day, but with illustrations, pacing, and words that worked for his younger audience. Now adults, Dr. Ware’s daughters, Bethany and Rachel, asked him to put on paper the core of their nightly conversations.

In the foreword they write:
Big Truths for Young Hearts is the same Theology 101 we learned growing up. It is a rich collection of truths that come straight from Scripture and answer questions about who God is, his work in the world, and the hope we can have through a relationship with Christ. Many people, whether evangelical or otherwise, have misconceptions about the basic doctrines of God. We need to understand these doctrines in order to understand life correctly. This book takes us straight to the heart of the Bible to help us do that.

I’m reading through Big Truths for Young Hearts with our youngest children during our morning Bible time, and I am encouraged each time we pick it up. The section we just read on God's sovereignty was excellent, showing among other things how God rules over both the good and the bad, and that we need to hold these truths in tension: God is completely in control, and at the same time we are still accountable for our sinful actions. Yes, it is written for a young audience (ages nine and up), but it blesses my old heart as well. While it is logical, thorough, and clear, Dr. Ware still takes a devotional approach, leading readers and listeners to worship our great God for who He is and what He does! It is the antithesis of “dry theology”!

Our CGS ladies’ Bible studies will by digging in to Big Truths for Young Hearts this fall. As far as I know, this is the first time we’ll be studying a book written originally for children. Unusual? A bit. But I think it holds great promise. Dr. Ware communicates deep and rich doctrine clearly and profoundly, without either dumbing the subject down or making it so complicated you get lost in the nuances. What a wonderful starting point to first understand God’s truths and grow in your love for Him, and then share what you have learned with your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or your neighbors and coworkers!
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