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Home Schooling: Recovering the Disciplined Art of Catechesis

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Historically, many Christians have thought that the main context of religious and moral instruction takes place in the home, not in church. That is why the Protestant Reformers prepared catechisms-manuals of instruction summarizing the Bible's basic teaching, to be learned by rote in the earliest years (like a new language) and then investigated, elaborated, and even tested by mature scriptural reflection in later years. There was a time when an average Christian young person knew by heart the questions and answers of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the Heidelberg Catechism, or Luther's Small Catechism. A few years ago I recall a woman returning to Church after she had abandoned it for a life of immorality. "I just couldn't get those questions and answers or the Bible verses I had to memorize along with them out of my head," she said concerning the catechism of her youth.


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1 [ Back ] Richard R. Osmer, "The Case for Catechism," Christian Century, April 23-30, 1997, 408.
2 [ Back ] Ibid., 409.
3 [ Back ] Ibid., 411.

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Michael Horton is the J. Gresham Machen professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California), host of the White Horse Inn, national radio broadcast, and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine. He is author of many books, including The Gospel-Driven Life, Christless Christianity, People and Place, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, The Christian Faith, and For Calvinism.

Issue: "Train Up a Child: Becoming People of the Word in a Culture of Images" Jan./Feb. 2001 Vol. 10 No. 1 Page number(s): 22-23

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