If the practice of catechizing our children, and congregations, is a fundamental answer of how we may teach our children to be in the world with succumbing to the impulses and views of the world, then in our lack of commitment to or abandonment of the historic christian practice of catechesis we are subjecting our children to a life of future atheism. Losing catechism is for all intents and purpose, depriving the Church of the tools and content to assert its relevance of the church to society. Without a doubt, the dismissal of the large-scale practice of catechism has a direct relation to the loss of our children to the immorality and deviancy of modernity.
Confessionalism is a means, through habit and cultivation that alters our sense of place in the world. And when we put into place faithful catechetical practice with our children and those entering the church as adults we engage in a practice of spiritual formation that ends with a habituated vision of themselves and the world they are in. It establishes a means of interpreting the world that with our children becomes largely pre-theoretical and with adults, practiced to the point of normativity. This is effective because catechizing is not merely a method of education but also a primary means of upending the noetic distortion of our being in a world that is subjected to sin and the nature of how we approach the inter-subjectivity of our existence. It becomes how we are in the world. For example, the Westminster Larger Catechism gives answers to the search for meaning.
Q. 1. What is the chief and highest end of man? A. Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully enjoy him forever.The Westminster Larger Catechism
And the Heidelberg Catechism helps to instruct us on how we are to do this in question four.
Q. 4. What does the Law of God require of us?The Heidelberg Catechism
A. Christ teaches us this in summary, in Matthew 22:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
In short, we neglect this fundamental, historic Christian practice at our peril and the peril of our children.