Post by Pastor Tim. Last week, I wrote that my family was taking discipleship seriously by memorizing and understanding the Nicene Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments. On Monday, Pastor Foley wrote about the importance of memorizing Scripture and participating in a Christian Catechesis. That’s all well and good, but why is it important and how does someone go about memorizing and incorporating these into one’s daily life?
Why is it important? It’s important because the above examples are simple ways to learn the key doctrines of the Christian faith. Many Christians shudder at the mention of memorizing doctrine, creeds and commandments, but followers of Jesus throughout history (maybe barring our generation) have taken these things to heart. These ancient practices not only help us to strengthen our faith, but they also help us to spot the counterfeits. On October 16, 2012, the CNN Belief Blog printed this story in relation to Billy Graham’s endorsing of Mitt Romney:
In a section of the website called Billy Graham’s My Answer there had been the question “What is a cult?”
Answer: “A cult is any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith.”
“Some of these groups are Jehovah’s Witnesess, Mormons, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spritualists, Scientologists, and others,” the site continued.
While there is certainly an interesting back-story to the above blog piece, I’m most interested in the “answer” section as documented by CNN. The problem is not so much the Billy Graham Association’s definition of a cult (before they removed it from their web-site that is), but in the judging of what the “biblical message of the Christian faith” is and in the understanding of which doctrines are essential and which are not? In other words, how do we spot the counterfeits?
The bottom-line is that we can know these things by being saturated with Scripture and by learning the basic doctrines of the Christian faith through studying the creeds, prayers and commandments!
How do we memorize? Just for the record . . . I am not an expert on memorization; in fact I am probably at the bottom-of-the-barrel. Because of that fact, I use whatever means necessary to help me remember. Our household is often seen making funny gestures to help memorize Scripture or even using a cute children’s song as was the case for the Nicene Creed. The same was true for the Ten Commandments, when we learned a summary of the Ten Commandments using the below words with this tune at freechurchmusic.com.
I AM the Lord your God; you must worship only Me. Don’t make for yourself idols; to no image bow your knee. Never misuse My Name; always speak it reverently. Remember the Sabbath; a day of rest it shall be. Honor your father and mother that you may live long lives. Shun murder, and adultery, and stealing, and lies. Don’t covet your neighbor’s house, or lust for your neighbor’s wife. Don’t envy anything at all that’s in your neighbor’s life.
How do we incorporate this into our daily life? This is actually occurs more naturally than you might suspect. It’s true that my family uses every opportunity to practice our memorizing including at the breakfast table, in the car, during family church time and even when we go out to eat at a restaurant! The bottom-line is that we try to never miss an opportunity. And in so doing, we see this becoming a part of us so much so that we are often singing or sharing Scripture no matter where we are (at home, at church and at the grocery store). Ultimately, our goal (and one of the most gratifying parts) is seeing our children (and the adults too) not only memorize these things, but also start to process them and use them in our day to day lives.