Reasons and Resources for Teaching Your Kids Church History
Did the story of Christianity end with the lives of the twelve apostles? Parents might just give that impression to their kids if they don't teach them the continuing story of the Christian faith from the death of the last of the original apostles all the way to the present time. My wife and I wanted our kids (who are all grown now) to know the true stories of great heroes of the faith (and quite a few villains), and why these courageous men and women fought for "the faith once for all delivered for the saints" (Jude 3).
If you are serious about your child's religious faith, here are some reasons and resources for you to teach your kids about Church history:
1. Kids learn their faith is based in something solid.
The Bible is not "The Chronicles of Narnia," nor is it "The Lord of the Rings." There is no Middle Earth. But virtually all the geographical sites and names of famous secular rulers (Hittites, Assyrians, Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, Caesar Augustus, Herod, Caiaphas) and empires are confirmed by actual history. (There is a reason why there are maps in the back of most Bibles.)
The story of Christianity begins during the days of Caesar Augustus, but does not end with the death of the Apostle John. Nor does it begin in 1517 with Martin Luther or in 1611 with the King James Version of the Bible.
The story of Christianity is filled with heroes by the names of Polycarp, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, and Tertullian. Do your kids know these names as well as the names of Paul, Timothy, and Silas? You want your kids to know that they are in a long train of believers stretching all the way back to the time of Jesus and the apostles.
2. Kids get "innoculated" against false teaching.
When Jehovah's Witnesses come to your door, do your teens know that they are espousing a form of Arianism? (Do you know how to biblically counter that heresy?) When your teens are erroneously taught that the Council of Nicea "invented" the Trinity, have you already taught them the truth behind that important council in A.D. 325?
Do they know about other erroneous teachings that Christians debated and fought against in the first five centuries (such as Gnosticism and Pelagianism, which continue to make comebacks down through the centuries)?
If they know accurate Church history, they will be able later in life to "nuke" the popular fairy tales that pass off as history (usually taught by ignorant and uninformed teachers or professors).