The biggest problem with explaining the Trinity to kids is the fact that it is a mystery. We can never fully understand it but we can and should grow in our understanding of it. It’s something that is core to our faith and therefore should not be brushed aside.
The problem with explaining something so complex to kids is we look for a solid object to explain such abstract truths. The go to objects for explaining the Trinity to kids are water, apples, and eggs. How do I know this? Because I have been guilty of using them. When I address these misconceptions, it’s from a place of mutual understanding because I have used each of these in explaining this central doctrine to the Christian faith. I’ll try in a blog post to be helpful to parents and kids workers alike. This post will by no means be comprehensive, but I hope that it is useful and accurate.
The world we live in has changed. It has not been an overnight change and it has not been dramatic shift it has been a slow drift from a country that had a baseline understanding of morality, and the Bible as true and Christianity as the framework for society. We now live in a world that is based on a pragmatic, pluralistic view of life. A world that is generally skeptical or indifferent to Christianity. The problem is that we are still trying to reach that world based assumptions that are no longer true.
If I were to give advice to a young person who wants to be in the ministry I would tell them to think like a missionary. I would tell them to avoid Bible College not because Bible College is bad but because our world has changed. I would tell young people to approach ministry from a minority position
rather than a majority position. In a majority position, you go to Bible schools because you intend to be a full-time paid religious worker. When in a minority position you think in terms of having a skill that you can use in the marketplace. Get your bachelor’s degree in a skill you can use that can create income for you as a church planter or if churches lose their tax exempt status and are forced to lay pastors off. Then go to seminary to get your religious training.
A couple of years ago I preached this message in our church. Three years later and it is perhaps more relevant today than the day I preached it in our church. We have seen over the past 90 years or so, our country go from welcoming to the gospel, to being indifferent to the gospel, to now becoming hostile towards the gospel. I pray by God’s grace that this changes.
How to raise gospel centered kids in a gospel hating world.
Avoid fear – As we talk through the issues as we have over the past few weeks the reaction I find in me is fear. I don’t want my kids to put any of these bumper stickers on their cars. I don’t want any of the things that have been said to be true of my kids. There are times when I feel like a captive in my home afraid to let my kids leave the sanctuary of the home because the reality of the very real devil is much greater to me than the understanding that we have a magnificent savior.
4 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
The best thing you can do for your kids is to give them a healthy understanding of justification and sanctification. This doesn’t happen as often as it should partly because parents don’t understand the difference themselves. Another reason is that we have pushed away from creeds and confessions that undergird these truths in ways we don’t even recognize on a conscious level. To get back to these we must grow in our understanding ourselves and look for ways to practically age appropriately explain them to our kids. Here is how the New City Catechism describes Justification and Sanctification:
Justification means our declared righteousness before God, made possible by Christ’s death and resurrection for us. Sanctification means our gradual, growing righteousness, made possible by the Spirit’s work in us.
Growing up the Ten Commandments always loomed over me as a list of things to avoid doing, like milestones that mark the path of a well-traveled Christian life. They are what most people would say describes the life of a true Christian. The show us the moral guidelines as to how life works best. While the Ten Commandments are certainly all of these things, they are not only those things. Just the other day a friend of mine said: “The Old Testament is all law the New Testament is all grace.” While I certainly understand what he was saying, I think it is a dangerous generalization and dramatic oversimplification.
Kids are a joy. Kids are the best thing ever. Kids are also a lot. I remember seeing as a single person families come to church with well dressed little kids and smiles on their faces thinking wow what a beautiful family. I had no idea! Now four kids later I have a bit more of an idea.
I came across these photos and literally laughed out loud. Danielle Guenther has great skill as a photographer but also must have a few kids judging from some of the pictures she takes. These are fantastic. If you have not crawled along the floor using your iPhone as a flashlight you probably don’t have kids. I most identify with the parents sneaking out and the dad trying to reach his phone while holding his baby. Which one is your family?