Lecture 5: What?
II. What Must We Teach?
A. Fundaments of the Christian Faith:
The second question that we will look at is the question about what must we teach. There are many different things that we could teach. There are all kinds of things that we should teach in the church. If you look at the current teaching ministries in many of the churches, there are all kinds of things that we are teaching. Many of these things are worthwhile. But, what must we teach? Is there anything that must be taught in Christian Education? This is if we want to achieve those goals that we talked about under the why question and also if we want to be faithful to the models and mandates we find in the Scriptures. It seems that in a lot of evangelical circles, we have forgotten about this objective idea of the faith once delivered. That has affected the question of what, significantly. If you walk into a contemporary Christian book store and looked at the Bible studies section or the Sunday school section or the curriculum section of that book store, you would find role after role of Bible study materials of things that would be fun and good to teach. However, you might not find a lot of helpful guidance in determining which topic should be taught. A lot of churches in discussing what they should teach seem to scramble to what seems the most interesting or provocative at the time. Even in my earlier years of teaching as a youth pastor, when we came up against a deadline, sometimes it meant a hurried run to the bookstore the get the book title that was the catchiest or whichever cover that was the glossiest. Often, we didn’t make those decisions based on thoughtful and informed decisions in regards to the teaching content.
Another way of looking at this; there is a lot of Christian educational content that I think we could label as electives. There are all kinds of electives; some even are labeled that way in the book store. They will part of a series called adult electives or youth electives. But are there any requirements? It seems to me that there certainly should be. If we sent someone to the local university; a student walked into the registration office for example and said they would love to be a business major at your school. The admissions councilor says great, we have hundreds of courses that we offer. Why don’t you write up your own course program for the next four years? Whatever you have taken, we will stamp, ‘graduated as a business major’ on your diploma. Of course that is nonsensical, this wouldn’t happy. In order to get that degree, the leaders and faculty of that university would determine that there are certain things that have to be studied. There are certain requirements set by the university which are general to the university. And there are some specific to the major of business. In addition to the requirements, there would be space for certain elective and particular areas of emphasis or focus that the student could choose from. But in the church, we seem to have little concept of that approach these days. It seems like much of what is taught is strictly electives, especially at the adult level. The assumption is by the time they are adults, they would have already gone through the basics of Christianity. There may have been a day that we could assume things like that but today isn’t that day. With most people in evangelical churches in North America, we cannot assume that they have been securely grounded in the faith. My argument is that we need to get back to that approach today. We need to identify what the Bible means by the faith once delivered. What are some fundaments of Christian faith, and then making sure that people have been grounded in those essentials?
Are there Christian essentials and basics? Are there some fundamentals that are more critical to our faith than interesting topics? Sometimes the church will say yes, there are some faith fundamentals and essentials. And in some adult Sunday school programs, there will be a variety of classes offered and some may even be labeled as faith essentials or basics of the faith. This is a step in the right direction; we must label things plainly. But in a given class and church, you may have perhaps six adult offerings going on simultaneously. One of those may be called Foundations of the Faith; another one might be a study of the Gospel of Mark while another one might be having a happy home. And then another one might be on how to manage your finances or a reading class based around a popular Christian book which is in the market place today. There can also be topics that are theological, such as the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. So what does a person in such a church context do in terms of their own decisions? Does the church have any way of funneling learners first through the faith foundations course before they go on to how to manage their finances? Often these courses are presented as electives, essentially take your pick. Choose whatever pleases you, whatever suits you. Obviously that makes things fit well to the consumer culture in which we live where people will have lots of choices. Many churches simply accept that this is the way the culture is and that is the way we need to be as well. My suggestion is that we are out of step with biblical guidance and we are certainly out of step with church history. Many Christians today have no clue about what must be learned first and foremost; what things are of the great import initially in our understanding. Therefore, many Christians have no clue about what they should be teaching in their churches as of most importance. Beyond evangelical circles, perhaps we know that we should start with the Gospels and something about the assurance of salvation, but beyond that it isn’t clear.
This puts Christianity in a unique place in terms of the pantheon of religions, in some ways. Let me tell a few stories to illustrate the point. Some years ago, I was on a plane flying back from a Christian Education Conference and was engaged in conversation to a person next to me. As we were speaking, he learned that I was a professor of Christian Education. He was intrigued by that and told me that he had grown up Roman Catholic. He had been a nominal Catholic and had married a woman who was a nominal Jew. We were fine with our nominal religious experiences of being a Catholic and Jew until we had children. As our children were growing up, we thought that we should choose one of these religions in order to raise the children in that religion. I told my wife, he said, that I could change. So, it was easy to see that his commitment to his Catholicism wasn’t very deep. He was willing to become a Jew for the sake of the children. Then he said, in order to become a Jew, he had to sit for many weeks of meetings with the local rabbi. He had to be engaged by the rabbi in conversation about what it meant to be Jewish. So it was him, along with others who wanted to convert Judaism, those who were schooled in the basics of Judaism. What they believed and how they lived. What is distinctive about Judaism and practices and their religion? Only after weeks and weeks of instruction, was he eventually permitted to become a Jew.
His story reminded me of another story of a loved one who was normally protestant and married a nominal Catholic. Again, they were fine with the situation until children came along and found themselves facing the same kind of decision. In this case, the wife said that she would change; so she became a Catholic. As an adult convert to Catholicism, she had to be instructed in the Catholic faith. They used the term catechesis. So she went through an adult form of catechesis, a program by the Catholic Church called the RCIA, the Right of Christian Initiation for Adults. In this case, she went through something like thirty plus weeks of instruction in the basics of the Catholic faith before her and others were received into the Catholic Church. As an evangelical, to hear these things is very challenging. To me, it is quite a rebuke. At many of our churches, what happens when a person wants to become a Christian, a lot of us would not have a clue as to how to direct that person. We might be able to lead that person through a prayer on how to become a Christian but beyond that, would we have clear ideas as to where they should go next. Thankfully, more churches are becoming more thoughtful about this and more deliberate about this with programs like the Alpha Program that introduces seekers into some of the basics of Christianity. Yet, many of our churches would simply offer them to teach Sunday school with a manual, ready to enlist them on the spot without any knowledge of their Christian walk. I have been in churches where Sunday school teachers weren’t even Christians.
B. Church History:
A program like Alpha is reminding us of some historic understanding of these things. Church history would be a great place to go to explore a little about what we must teach. In the history of the church, we are at a strange place where we find ourselves rather clueless about what to teach believers or what to teach new believers or those interested in becoming believers. For most of church history, there was a wide spread consensus about what should be taught first. There were somethings that were the basis of Christian teaching. From the early days of the Christian church on through the present history of the church, there were the Christian basics. One way to look at this would be to go to the Reformation era. Soon after the printing press was developed, one of the first things that the reformers, like Luther and Calvin, wanted to do was to place into the hands of church members catechisms. This was a printed summary in book form of the basics of the Christian faith. It was of great concern to them that these catechisms be published and distributed widely. The only thing that was more urgent was the publishing of the Bible in the language of the people itself. They wanted to get the Scriptures in the hands of the people and then getting a simple clear and concise introduction to the basic ideas of Scripture in the form of a catechism. These were very critical. Luther believed that all believers needed to be catechized; he wrote a couple of catechisms himself, both larger and small catechisms. He wrote smaller catechisms for children and for simple people and a larger catechism for the learned. Other reformers did the same thing; Calvin wrote catechisms for his ministry in Genève. This was done thought out the history of the church, even into the puritan era. Catechisms were widely used and widely distributed. If a pastor found that he wasn’t satisfied with some of the catechisms that were readily available, he would just write his own catechism. It was more common to take from the established catechisms and tweak it or adjust it as necessary to suit his particular theological convictions.
Richard Basher, a pastor from the puritan era was a great advocate of distributing catechisms, making sure that everybody in the church had one. He wrote his own and made sure that people understood its content. He would personally interview all of members of the church throughout the course of a year. He would help them to come to an understanding of its content. In a printed form, the catechism may have been a new development with the advent of the printing press. It was only a Reformation reality practice sense then. There were also pre-printed forms of the catechism that had existed from the earlier days of the church. There was a curriculum, an understanding of what should be taught that dominated the church from its very earliest days. We could reach into church history and find great evidence that the church had been thinking about this question from the very beginning. By the time we get to the reformation catechism, the consensus about what should be taught and what should be contained in a catechism was very broad and wide. In almost all of the Reformation catechisms and also in the counter-reformation catechisms and the Catholic catechisms that have come down through the ages since the Reformation. There was similar content in it. One simply way to look at this; if you picked up Luther’s catechism or the Heidelberg catechism or the Genève catechism of Calvin or even most of the Catholic catechisms of the day, you would find instruction in several common features. Three or four things that almost always appeared in historic catechisms were instructions on the Ten Commandments, the Apostle’s Creed, the Sacraments and the Baptism in the Lord’s Super and also instructions in the Lord’s Prayer. Sometimes, these would be organized differently, outlined differently. In Luther’s case, you would study the commandments first and then the Creed, etc. In the Heidelberg catechism, you would start with the creed first and then go to the commandments.
C. Inclusion of These Things:
Widespread consensus said that this was where you should begin. In no sense, in any of the Reformation writers, that they had just stumbled onto this formula the first time, rather to the contrary, Luther would say that this was the historic pattern of Christian teaching. If you could trace back the history of the Christian catechesis, the basic instructions in the faith; you would find that the basis of catechesis had always been these things: the Creed, the Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer and the Sacraments. Luther would say that if you find anybody in church who refuses to receive these instructions, tell them that they aren’t Christians. They have dishonored and disobeyed Christ and they should be accepted at the table of the Lord’s Supper. This was very strong language and very typically Luther; it was very much based in historical reality. In fact, the development of creeds for the use of Christian confession and instruction are very ancient. The use of the Lord’s Prayer in basic Christian worship and instruction are very ancient. The use of the Ten Commandments in Christian Instruction isn’t quite as ancient, but the principle underlying the commandments, especially the double command of loving the Lord with all your heart and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. Walk according to the way of the Lord’s commands. These are very ancient in church history. Why would these things be such constant enduring features in Christian Education in all catechisms for so long? Why the Creed, why the commandments and why the Lord’s Prayer and the Sacraments?
This is a very lengthy conversation to unpack but here is a simply approach to the understanding of the logic of these ingredients. First of all, it is critical that we say all four of these things: the Creed, Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer and the Sacraments were deemed to be imminently Biblical. Of course the Commandments themselves are biblical texts. They are right from the Scripture. The Apostles Creed was believed to be an accurate summary of basic Christian teaching in terms of its theology. It isn’t drawn directly from the Bible, but it is a faithful summary of Biblical teaching on what we believe. The sacraments were thought to be instituted by Jesus himself and fundamental to the life of the church. Sometimes in the history of catechisms, the sacraments didn’t receive the same kind of attention that the Commandments and the Creed and Lord’s Prayer received. A simply presentation of the logic; why teach a creed? Creed comes from the Latin, Credo, I believe. In the early life of the church and in the Scriptures, there are examples of early Creeds developing. Jesus is Lord is a Credo kind of statement. It is a declaration of belief that Jesus is Lord. It simply means that I believe. The Apostles Creed, of course, begins with I believe in God, the Father almighty. The Nicaean Creed begins with ‘we believe.’ By use of the Creed and the instruction in a creed; the hope and goal and intention was that Christians would be schooled or trained in the basics of the fundamentals of theology. It is what we believe about God and what we believe about the Scriptures and about Jesus. It is also concerned about what we believe about God’s actions and the Holy Spirit. A creed provided a simply outline and way of introduction. If you studied a creed, it is a brief statement and instruction in Christian theology. None of the catechisms pretended to be or aimed to be a thorough schooling in the faith. Their aim was to be an introduction to the faith; something simply and basic; a foundational presentation.
What does it mean to say that I believe in one God? That kind of catechism question and answer approaches is not going to be through a school of theology, but only a brief introduction to fundamental features of theology. It would be ideally done in a way that would be overly controversial. In other words, by use of the Apostles Creed, this is an attempt to say that these are things that all Christians have believed. These are things that all Christians or nearly all Christians have purported to believe in. They are incontrovertible trues; the belief in one God and Jesus Christ as Lord and the belief in the Holy Spirit and in the church and the forgiveness of sins. Also it is the belief the Jesus suffered and that he rose from the Grave and that he will come again. These are the kinds of basic fundamental features that Christian have and are historically united around. The first primer in theology is provided by the unpacking of a creed.
D. Threefold Concern:
Why study the Commandments? This may even be more controversial with some I suppose. It is certain that some will not like the use of the creeds as it isn’t an explicitly biblical text. However, many churches that do use a creed or that is familiar with a creed, aren’t as convinced that the Commandments are very relevant for the Christian church. There are a lot of Christians who would say that this would be Old Testament stuff and we are no longer under the Law, we are under grace. They might therefore dismiss the use of the commandments. Historically, the church has found tremendous usefulness in the Ten Commandants, this Biblical text that is delivered in Exodus 20, repeated in Deuteronomy chapter 5. It is also alluded to in numerous other places throughout the Biblical text, both Old and New Testament. The Commandments have historically been understood to do a number of things, including the usefulness in showing us our sin. Luther thought by studying the commandments, we could understand our sinfulness and thus our need of a Savior. He drew from Paul’s imagery in the Books of Galatians that the Law becomes a school master to lead us to Christ. The Law says that you shall not covet, but I find myself full of coveting. I realize that I am a sinner and therefore I flee to Christ for salvation. Or the Law says that you shall not commit adultery, but I find my heart and by eyes full of adultery. I realize that I am a sinner and the Law drives me to the Savior. So, for Luther and others in the historic understanding of the church, the Commandments are eminently useful for showing us our sins and our need of a Savior.
Many Christians believe that the Law serves another critical purpose: once the Law has led us to Christ by showing us our sins and the need of a Savior, we can return to the Law after we have been born again and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We can find in the Law a guide for ethical behavior. The Creed may tell us what it is we believe, but the Commandments provide guidance in how it is we should behave and how Christians should act. How should Christians live toward their neighbors? What should be our goal and our approach to the unsaved? The short answer to that of course is to love your neighbor as yourself. The Commandments provide us with information on what that means and how to do that. The Commandments tells us how to love the Lord our God and how to love our neighbors. That double commandment of love of God and neighbor is a summary of the Ten Commandments. Having been born again by the free grace of God in Jesus Christ and have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit, I can return to the Decalogue and find clear instructions in what it is that God loves and what it is that God hates. I can learn what it means to love God and my neighbor. I can begin to obey these things because I am indwelt by the Spirit, not in order to be saved but because God has graciously saved me. We can see the Commandments not only as a mirror to show us our sinfulness but as a guide to reveal a code to us for ethical conduct. I am supposed to love my neighbor but what does that mean? It means that I will respect by neighbors marriage vows and never violate another person in terms of sexual immorality or adulterous longings. What does it mean to love my neighbor? I will not murder or harm a neighbor’s life, but rather I will protect and defend my neighbor. I will not take from a neighbor nor lie to a neighbor. The Commandments help us understand what it means and looks like to love a neighbor.
A Creed provides basic instructions as to what we believe while the Commandments provide a moral compass and ethical guidance for us. The Lord’s Prayer and the Sacraments provide us with guidance in the devotional life, the life of prayer and the life of worship. The Sacraments are fundamental to our worship such as Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. I like to put them together in conjunction with the Lord’s Prayer to say that we have guidance in the spiritual dimension of devotional life; the life of community worship and prayer. By looking at the Lord’s Prayer, many Christians have found a beautiful outline of prayer, beginning with praise to God, beginning in supplication for basic needs and confession of sins and petitions that the Kingdom of God should be established. It also involves asking for protection from the evil one. The Lord’s Prayer is a beautiful outline for prayer, beginning and ending with praise. There have been many Christians who believe that it isn’t just an outline but it was actually intended to be prayed, both by individual Christians and believing community. But however we approach that, we could certainly agree that the Lord’s Prayer is instructive on the subject of prayer. Much like the Apostles Creed, it can serve as a basic primer. So the Creed, a primer in theology while the Commandments are a primer in ethics and the Lord’s Prayer being primer in prayer and in the personal devotional life of the Christian and Christian Community. One of the themes that should be able to clearer is then the comprehensiveness of concern here.
In teaching the basics of faith, we follow this comprehensive idea that we will not only teach what Christians believe but also how Christians should live and how Christians should approach God in praying and developing personal intimacy with the Living God. So we have this three-fold comprehensive concern build into this three-fold historic pattern of the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. I really believe that there is great wisdom in the historic pattern, not only because it is great for us to join ourselves to the history of the church and realize that we are not the first people to ask what we much teach as to what it means to be Christian. We can identify ourselves and partner ourselves with the historic Christian movement. This is a beautiful thing for us to do. I am actually a believer in this approach because I believe it is Biblical. I think we have a great historic model of biblical concerns. What I would also say for now; even if you don’t feel that the Creed is the right way to do this, I think that it would be hard for a Christian to disagree that some kind of basic instruction in what we believe is absolutely essential. We have to teach theology in one form or another. You might not want to have a class in your church called the creed; maybe your church is non-creedal as many churches tend to be. You should certainly have a class on what it is that we believe; it could simply be called Christian beliefs or Christian theology 101. Somehow we have to train believers in what we believe especially in an age where truth is perceived as relative. We need to give great emphasis in this area. We may disagree that the Commandments are the best way to get our Christian ethics. Regardless of how we get there, we have to teach Christian ethics; there must be an introduction in that form of Christian teaching or that aspect of Christian living.
How should Christians live? Is our lifestyle to be distinctive from any way of those around us? As the truth is perceived as relative, we would certainly agree that morality is widely perceive as relative today. It is a bold thing for a Christian to rise up in the churches, to say that there are some things that are absolutely right and somethings that are absolutely wrong. Even in cases of moral ambiguity, which there are many; there is guidance for us. We are not just moral free agents out there choosing what feels right to us at the moment. There is ethical guidance that can provide for ethical dilemmas when we are serious about the teaching of the Scriptures. So you may not teach the Creed, but must teach theology. You may not teach the Commandments, but you must teach Christian ethics. And you may not use the Lord’s Prayer as your introduction to Christian devotional life, but you must teach people to pray and you must teach people how to worship. I’m an advocate of following the historic pattern because I think there is great wisdom in using the Creed. I think there is no excuse for not teaching the Commandments; God forgive us that people growing up in our churches today for the first time in centuries, they don’t know the Commandments. There is no excuse for that. We ought to be teaching not only the form of the Lord’s Prayer, but also the meaning of the prayer. This is a comprehensive concern for what we believe and how should we live, how should we pray, all provides great wisdom for us. Sometimes, I will use the phraseology to get at that comprehensiveness. This is taken from John 14:6, the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus was ask, what was the way to God? He answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father but through me.’ Jesus purported that to be in his own person. The way of God unveiled, the truth of God unveiled and the life of God unveiled. In John 14:9, he goes on to say, ‘if anyone has seen me, he has seen the Father.’ Those three terms: the way, the truth and the life are not just pulled out of the air by Jesus, but rather present three important biblical concepts that correspond to that historic pattern that we have been looking at.
The way is an important biblical concept that pacifically deals with issues of ethics, morality and life-style. For example, the Book of Psalms chapter 1 concludes with this phrase, the Lord knows the way of the righteous but the way of the wicked shall perish. That phraseology is used throughout the Psalms. Teach me your way oh Lord. Show me your path so that I may walk in your way. The way has to do with the manner of life, ethics and morality. It is a huge concept in the Scriptures. As you know, the early church picks up on this terminology of the way and Christians are describes as followers of the way. One of the first names of the church, indeed, was Followers of the Way. Their lifestyle was distinctive; they were marked off by a different ethic in following the pattern that Jesus laid out for them. So, I believe the way corresponds to this concern for ethical dimensions of our life. Our way should be different from the way of the ungodly and wicked people who are ignorant of God. Followers of the Way will live a certain kind of life and have a certain pattern of behavior, dominated by love. The Bible presents the way of the Lord as the way of love; love of God and love of neighbor. What does it mean to walk in his ways; it means to walk in the love of God and love of neighbor.
The term, truth, corresponds well to the unpacking of theology that the Creed introduced. What is the truth about God? What is the truth about his person, his work and about his actions? The Bible tells us that the truth of the invisible God has been declared in the person of Jesus. The Old Testament lays the foundation for this concept of the truth in a passage like Deuteronomy 6:4. The most fundamental truth in Hebrew religion, ‘hear oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.’ The whole doctrine of monotheism, the belief in one God and a certain kind of God, a God who is transcendent, yet imminent who is holy and loving. There is a god who is high and lofty and yet utterly engaged in his human creation, all of creation. That truth about God is laid out in foundational ways in the Old Testament and even more clearly in the New Testament. He is the God who reveals himself not only through prophets but in the person of his own son. As the author of Hebrews says, the Son is far greater than the prophets for he is the exact representation of the invisible God. Or as Colossians 2:9 says, ‘all the fullness of the deity dwells in Jesus in bodily form.’ So if we want to know the truth about who God is, about what God has done; we see the truth unveiled in Jesus. Paul says in 2nd Thessalonians 2 that people must embrace that truth and must love that truth. However, many refuse to love the truth and thus miss salvation. When we refuse to believe the truth we swallow a lie. Many have swallowed a lie today by rejecting the truth that God has revealed about himself in Jesus. So the truth is a great phrase to summarize what we mean by the basics of Christian theology.
The Third term, Jesus says that he is the life; this is an especially important term in the Gospel of John. John 1:4 says in him that is in Jesus life and it was the light of men. John 3:16: whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John chapter 4, Jesus promises to the woman at the well living water. We have the same promise in John chapter 7, whoever believes in me out of his inner most being shall flow rivers of living water. In John chapter 10:10, I have come so that they may have life and have it to the fullest. John 11: 25-26, I am resurrection and the life and in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth and the life. John 17:3, what does it mean when the Bible says life in John’s Gospel? This is life eternal, that they may know you, the only true God in Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 20:31, these things have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ and believing may have life in his name. We see in the first letter of John, chapter 5:11-13 where the same words are used; this is the testimony that God has given to us, eternal life and this life is in his son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. In all of the uses in John, the term life becomes evident especially in John 17:3, it isn’t talking about quantity of days when the Bible speaks about eternal life. It is talking about being in a vital relationship with the Living God. So, in John’s Gospel, life means communion with the Living God. It involves a living relationship with the God who is living.
E. What Must we Teach First:
A beautiful corresponding term then to that whole idea of Christian spirituality, the devotional life and the life of prayer and the historic use of the Lord’s Prayer in the basic Christian instruction. Regardless of what we call it; whether we call it the way, the truth and the life or whether we use the Creed, the Commandments or the Lord’s Prayer. Those things are not so important to me as to asking the question of what. We need to provide basic instructions in what we believe and how we should live and how we approach God in terms of personal intimacy through prayer and worship. If I would take those biblical insights and combine them with other biblical teaching and historic examples, I would purpose that in answer to the question of what, these are things that we must teach first. It is not all that we must teach or all that we can teach or should teach of the life of the church or in the life span of the Christian, but the things that we must teach that are foundational. We would begin with clear instructions in the Gospel as Paul tells us in 1st Corinthians 15 saying, I taught you what I have received as of first importance. This is in verses 1-11. We should never assume that just because people have been in the church for years perhaps, that they have a clear idea of the Gospel. We must confidently teach and remind people of the Gospel as Paul did. So there must be a clear simple understanding of the Gospel. A second step in our basic instruction of the faith would include an expanding version of the Gospel. I would like to call it the story; the story of God’s redemptive history, his redemptive dealing with mankind, from Genesis 1 to the Book of Revelation; from creation through the combination of history. We would tell the story in a way that would allow people to see what their place in the story is. This story is a larger version of the Gospel.
So, we teach the Gospel as to the first importance; we teach the broad story, much like Jesus did in Luke 24 when he leads his disciples on a Bible survey from the beginning of the Scriptures and through the prophets showing them all what the Scriptures say about himself. At a third level, I would return to this three-fold pattern of the catechisms: teaching in Christian theology, ethics, and the Christian devotional life. I would call it the Way, the Truth and the Life and personally, I would follow the churches’ wisdom of teaching through the commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the Sacraments as a way of getting at these things. Beyond that, there is room for lots of further teaching; ongoing instruction in the Scriptures that never stops as Paul writes to Timothy in 2nd Corinthians 2:15; we help the flock to able to properly handle the Word of the Truth. And then there should be ongoing training in vocation. If we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works, what does that mean and how can we do that. There is no limit to the things that we can teach and should teach. I would recommend that we go on and on in that kind of instruction of the faith. In addition to teaching interesting topics or electives, let us lay a firm foundation following the pattern of the church, there are certain things that all Christians really must know and begin with such instruction. So, there is the Gospel story, the Way, the Truth and the Life; the basic training in Christianity. That would be a great place for us to begin. .