Why Children Should Learn Systematic Theology
There was a time in church history when men deemed theology the highest of all sciences, the worthiest subject of study. Pastors exercised much effort to educate their people in the depths of biblical truth. To accomplish this task, they wrote catechisms—teaching tools in question-and-answer format. You might be familiar with the most prominent of these: The Westminster Shorter Catechism. Containing 107 questions, it instructed children in systematic theology. Such extensive theological instruction has evaporated from our society today. The church will do well to reignite its zeal for the systematic study of God’s Word.
Here are the practical benefits of teaching systematic theology to your kids:
Systematic theology teaches kids to know God
Jesus proclaimed in John 17:3, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Knowing God through His Son is the essence of eternal life, and God ordained that we come to know Christ through His Word (Rom 10:17). This verse teaches that a relationship with God begins through the knowledge of the truth. Theology, by definition, is the knowledge of God revealed in Scripture. Therefore, theology is for everyone because theology is not an abstract theory but a personal endeavor to know the supreme being in the universe. For this reason, A. W. Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
Systematic theology teaches kids the harmony of Scripture
Theology is systematic because its goal is to organize and harmonize the whole body of Scripture upon a topic. Through studying systematic theology, children learn the intrinsic beauty and perfection of God’s Word. From Genesis to Revelation, Scripture shares the character of the one who revealed it. Because God is unchangeable, God’s Word stands forever (Isa 40:8, 1 Pet 24–25). Because God is perfect, God’s Word is infallible. Because He is the sovereign Creator, His Scripture is authoritative over His creatures. Systematic theology trains children to not live by bread alone but by every word which comes out of the mouth of God (Deut 8:3).
Systematic theology teaches kids to discern truth from error
If we may glean one thing from history, we know that past sins repeat themselves in future generations. There is nothing new under the Sun (Ecc 1:9), and it only takes one generation’s neglect to lead the next into idolatry (Judges 2:6–11). If true theology is not diligently taught (Deut 6:7), children will naturally create a false theology by which to live. Parents bear the responsibility to teach their children to affirm truth and reject error. Discernment is the stated purpose of the book of Proverbs (Prov 1:2–6), and discernment begins with theology: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (1:7). When children learn to think precisely concerning God, mankind, sin, and salvation, they grow in their ability to distinguish between truth and error. Discernment, buttressed by accurate theology, will protect children as they encounter the false systems of this world.
Systematic theology teaches kids a biblical worldview.
A thorough study of systematic theology yields a well-rounded worldview for life. Systematic theology provides a strong foundation in every aspect of life—God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures, Mankind, Sin, Salvation, the Church, Angels, and the End Times. The foundation laid by these doctrines ground every sphere of life in truth. Paired with Scripture memorization, a broad study of systematic theology will help children connect life experience with God’s objective truth that informs reality.
If you need resources to start teaching systematic theology in your children’s ministry, check out our Adventure Club curriculum HERE.
My mom has always been a religious person, so she wants to let my kids grow their faith too. It’s good that you mentioned how systematic theology can teach kids a more well-rounded worldview for life and provide a strong foundation for every aspect of it, including God. I’ll be sure to take my kids to church classes, so they can try it out. https://midtownchurch.org/kids/
I’m desperate on how my children, Community, country Kenya and the continent of Africa can get this light of the Gospel/ true theology.