How Do I Teach Doctrine to My Family? – Jon Payne

How Do I Teach My Family? by Jon Payne | Reformed Theology Articles at

TT May 2015Another excellent article on the subject of doctrine in this month’s Tabletalk is the one linked above by Dr. Jon Payne (see bio information below). Payne addresses the practical question of teaching doctrine in our homes.

There are three good thoughts for us as husbands and fathers (who are called to lead in this calling, but you also who are wives and mothers must assist us!). I include the opening one, in part because we may be surprised that Payne placed this one first. Yet it is so crucial for the sound doctrinal foundation of our families. Do not take it for granted.

Every Christian home is meant to be a school of Christ—a place of spiritual nurture, loving discipline, sound doctrine, and biblical piety. This is not a reference to Victorian-era portraits of the Christian family; it is the clear teaching of Scripture and the Reformed tradition. Even so, our hectic schedules, ubiquitous gadgets, and misplaced priorities often make our homes similar to those of our unbelieving neighbors. God becomes an afterthought. Here are three things to remember as we seek to build God-centered homes where sound doctrine is the foundation and our Lord Jesus Christ is the cornerstone.

First, we must be committed to the ministry of the local church. Every Christian family needs God’s appointed means of grace and the shepherding care of godly elders (Acts 20:28Heb. 13:171 Tim. 3:1–7). The ministry of the visible church is a nonnegotiable for believers and their children. The first Christian families were “devoted to the apostles’ teaching [doctrine] and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). They were under the loving spiritual oversight of elders—men who were called to “shepherd the flock of God” and “give instruction in sound doctrineand also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9, emphasis added; see 1 Peter 5:2Titus 2:1). The church was central to their Christian identity. It is inside, not outside, the divinely ordained structure of a biblical church that Christian families are grounded in the gospel. A faithful church is where families mature in their knowledge, understanding, and practice of sound doctrine. Therefore, Christian households are encouraged to submit joyfully to the ministry of a local church body and to learn from pastors who labor “to present everyone mature in Christ” (Col. 1:28–29; seeEph. 4:11–16).

Rev. Jon D. Payne is senior minister of Christ Church Presbyterian in Charleston, S.C., and visiting lecturer at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta. He is author of several books, including John Owen on the Lord’s Supper.

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