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Topics: Family, Fatherhood, Leadership, Men, Parenting, Spiritual Formation

Organic Catechizing

October 17, 2014


I worked on a Catechism for the church at which my family served. This Baptistic Catechism is a derivative of multiple Presybterian Confessions. Some days it pained me more than others to see the things that had been taken out. Other days I was stressed by my attempts to retain the meaning of the confessions while making the language modern and accessible to Baptistic ears.

But all of this is structured and strict catechizing. While the church should grow in its use of this, the family needs to be structured around something different. What does any of my structured work have to do with my family work? Almost nothing.

Walking & Catechizing

“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deut 6:7-9

How seriously do you take these texts? I didn’t. I’m learning to. In our house we walk to the mail often. We use to take longer walks and I look forward to some of those in the future. But taking seriously God’s commands means I’ll “redeem the evil times” by talking with my daughter as we “walk by the way.”

Everything started quite innocently: I want my kid to know stuff. I want her to be able to identify the moon, the sun, trees, rocks, cars, houses, grass. . . you get the picture. Nature stands in front of us as a way to teach our children. But to what end? “Child, what is that?” must be followed by “And Child, who made it?”

Before I knew it, I was teaching my child the importance of Genesis 1-2. Her spankings are teaching her the importance of Genesis 3-4. God intended for his Scriptures to be revealed to children through the living of a Godly lifestyle. Who am I to pass on a single opportunity to impress (read here “teach them diligently”) the word of God? I know who I am if I pass: a unfaithful father to God’s children (Mal 2:15). Why would I pass up talking to my kid on the way to get the mail?

The funny thing is I’m teaching her even when I’m not teaching her. Many times this probably is negative teaching. But occasionally it is positive:

Kenzie: Joke, Joke, Joke. (Note: her new word was joke)

Alaina: Kenzie, who made a joke?

Kenzie: God joke.

And there you have it. Another catechism lessons completed. Do you really believe God made everything out of nothing? Then you agree with my kid, “God (made the concept of) joke.”

Family Reformation

“You are not like to see any general reformation, till you procure family reformation. Some little religion there may be, here and there; but while it is confined to single persons, and is not promoted in families, it will not prosper, nor promise much future increase.” Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor

Parents don’t have to be master theologians. They don’t need to be able to expound full length sermons on each questions of a renowned catechism. But they are called to organically teach their children the precepts of God. Diligently.

I live in Austin, Texas a city that worships organic stuff. Organic food. Organic dog food. Organic pencil sharpeners (maybe it’s a thing? I don’t know). What would happen if the church returned to organic catechizing?

Organically catechizing will change the world. This shouldn’t surprise us. The Lord essentially promises it to all faithful and obedient parents (Deut 30:6-10). The family is the source of reformation in the church. It will be the source of reformation in the world. Are we ready to take seriously the commands of God and experience his blessing?


BIO: Joshua Torrey is a New Mexico boy in an Austin, TX world. He is husband to Alaina and father to Kenzie & Judah and spends his free time studying for the edification of his household. These studies include the intricacies of hockey, football, curling, and theology. He blogs theological musings and a running commentary of the Scriptures at The Torrey Gazette

Originally published at Used with permission.

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