Give Them Jesus

Give Them Jesus

Author: Chris Castaldo
September 22, 2020

EDITOR’S NOTE: As we settle into the new school year with some of us educating our children at home for the first time, we are republishing Pastor Chris’ excellent interview with author, Dillon Thornton entitled, “Give Them Jesus.” We believe the insights and recommendations given are as helpful today as when it was first published. This article first appeared on on August 14, 2019.

“Pastor Chris, what is the single most important need of your church?”

“Catechesis,” I respond.

The puzzled look that usually follows becomes an unspoken invitation to explain. “It’s a tradition that goes back to the early centuries of the church,” I tell them, “a process of prayerfully and carefully imparting the Christian faith to children and to new converts.”

One of two reactions generally follows: skepticism or enthusiastic agreement. The former response comes from those who still harbor resentment toward their denomination for the massive amount of memorization required of them at age seven. The latter, however, appreciate that from time immemorial God has called moms and dads to actively cultivate their children’s hearts and minds in faithful devotion to the Lord. So Deut 6:4-9:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

The older I get, the more I recognize this enterprise of raising children in the way of Jesus as our most important need. As John Calvin put it writing to the Lord Protector of England in 1548, “Believe me, Monseigneur, the church of God will never be preserved without catechesis.”

In light of this need, it is my great pleasure to commend the new book, Give Them Jesus: Raising Our Children on the Core Truths of the Christian Faith, by Dr. Dillon T. Thornton. Pastorally warm and winsomely articulate, this volume equips parents with the tools to effectively teach children core truths of Christianity and prepare them to embody such faith in the world. The following interview with Dr. Thornton provides a look at how he approaches the subject.


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