Catechetical instruction as an educational process for the teaching of doctrine to children in Southern Baptist churches
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Christian education of children.
Church work with children.
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This dissertation investigates the use of the catechism as a process for teaching doctrine to children in Southern Baptist churches. It examines the historical rationale for using catechisms with children in Protestant life. The study traces the development of catechisms in the Christian church through different eras, with an emphasis on their use in Protestant churches, and particularly in Baptist churches. The dissertation offers a rationale for the teaching of doctrine to children, including a description of the world of the modern American child. This rationale discussion includes mention of the power of societal trends and the current lack of belief in moral absolutes to influence children. The study stresses the role of doctrinal teaching in helping children understand, commit to, and defend Christian beliefs. The research traces the historical development of catechetical instruction as a commonly used methodology in the Christian church, beginning with the time of the New Testament church, and concluding with a discussion of its use in Southern Baptist life. It examines biblical evidence for the use of catechesis in the New Testament church. The study explores the writings of the early church fathers to discover their rationale for and commitment to catechetical instruction. The dissertation traces the changes in catechisms that occurred during various eras of church history. It explores reasons significant individuals in each period used and relied on catechetical instruction to teach doctrine. The work discusses the ways catechisms and their usage changed due to efforts by Protestant Reformers and their counterparts in the Catholic Church. It contains information about the historical, theoretical, and educational factors that influenced the use of catechetical instruction of children through different historical eras. The study includes information concerning the lack of doctrinal understanding and application among youth at the beginning of the twenty-first century. It asserts that knowledge and understanding of doctrine is necessary to help young people make correct choices and develop a biblical worldview. It cites current views of catechism by prominent leaders in Protestant life, especially among Baptists. The researcher deals with the feasibility of catechetical instruction with children in a contemporary Southern Baptist context and how catechists might need to update or adapt the process to be effective.