A Struggle With Family Worship
Do you struggle with family devotions? My family and I have always struggled to consistently do family devotions. It is not because we have lacked a desire to worship together in the home. However, there does seem to be a lack of resources that touch on various aspects that, to me, make devotion and worship meaningful.
Modern devotionals have always seemed to be light on theology and exposition, and heavy on pragmatic pleasantries. They may serve the purpose of encouraging someone who does not look to go deep into the Word, but they tend to feel almost pointless to those who have already cracked the surface level in their study of Scripture.
Catechisms, Commentaries, and Confessions have always met my personal desire for depth, but they have a certain dryness to them that is not conducive to a daily devotional approach. Younger children, for example, cannot be expected to get excited about reading, or having read to them, the works of John Gill or Charles Spurgeon. While they may be inclined to memorize a catechism like Keach’s, it would likely be memorization without true comprehension.
A Solution: Catechism, Commentary, and Devotional
The Baptist Catechism Project is an attempt to merge Benjamin Keach’s Particular Baptist Catechism, excerpts from John Gill’s Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, and excerpts from Charles Spurgeon’s Treasury of David to create a single source which acts as a Catechism, Commentary, and Devotional.
Using Keach’s Catechism with Scripture references as a framework, each question’s scripture reference will be explained using excerpts from either Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, Spurgeon’s Treasury of David, or both when appropriate. These excerpts will not be contained in quotation marks or identified by italics because the entire work is a compilation of direct quotations. However, at the end of a particular section I will reference the author of the preceding section and link to the works cited page. Only three primary sources are cited in this project and those are Kindle versions linked in the works cited page.
The end result, Lord willing, will be a unique merging of three aspects of personal devotion that I have always felt inept at developing. Namely, catechizing my children, providing meaningful devotional content for myself and my spouse, and teaching theologically sound exposition while reading Scripture.
The goal of this work is to break the Scriptures from the catechism into devotional length readings that have true theological depth. That devotional content is intended to enrich and strengthen the parent’s understanding of those Scriptures, and the answers to the catechism questions. In turn, work pages for older children and coloring pages for younger children are provided to give visual aid to help parents impart that understanding to their family members.
A Personal Confession
It is important that the reader recognize that this is an attempt at growth in grace. I am not compiling this work as someone who has proven its effectiveness. On the contrary, I am compiling this as someone who has failed at family worship for a long time. My prayer for myself, and my family, is that in producing this work I will become more effective, and consistent with leading family worship in my own home. If you, like me, have struggled to lead your family in family worship, devotion, and theological development I hope this resource can help you as well.
How to Use This Resource
So, how is this Particular Baptist Catechism to be used? Initially, as I produce it, my intent is to personally read through a single post myself, and encourage my spouse to do the same. Then, together as a family, I plan to go over the same material with my children utilizing the downloadable fill in the blank pages for my two older children (ages 10 and 12) and the coloring page for my younger child (age 6).
The posts, or devotionals, will be published on weekdays beginning on June 1st. The intent is to work through the content on weekdays, utilizing weekends as review and to focus on corporate worship on Sundays.
Secondarily, as the project becomes larger, I am indexing the work to be used as a reference tool for anyone working through the Baptist Catechism on their own. The downloadable work pages along with the devotional content will be indexed by question for quick reference.
A Message from the 1689 London Baptist Confessors
Finally, as I ask you to join me on this journey, I want us to recognize that we are in good company. The resources being referenced in this work are from Particular Baptist authors Benjamin Keach, John Gill, and Charles Hadden Spurgeon. Keach, Gill, and Spurgeon were all pastors of the famous New Park Street Chapel (in early years called the church at Horselydown, and in its later years the Metropolitan Tabernacle). They were particular baptists in theology and stalwarts in their own rights for different reasons. Each one, in their own way, promoted family worship and had high praise for catechisms and means to that end.
Benjamin Keach was one of the signers of the 1689 London Baptist Confession wherein the catechism attributed to him is also joined. In the original preface to the confession there was a section on Family Worship that is uniquely applicable to the purpose of this project.
Verily, there is one spring and cause of the decay of religion in our day which we cannot but touch upon and earnestly urge a redress of, and that is the neglect of the worship of God in families by those to whom the charge and conduct of them is committed.8 May not the gross ignorance and instability of many, with the profaneness of others, be justly charged upon their parents and masters, who have not trained them up in the way wherein they ought to walk when they were young, but have neglected those frequent and solemn commands which the Lord hath laid upon them, so to catechise and instruct them that their tender years might be seasoned with the knowledge of the truth of God as revealed in the Scriptures—and also by their own omission of prayer and other duties of religion of their families, together with the ill example of their loose conversation, having inured them first to a neglect and the contempt of all piety and religion. We know this will not excuse the blindness and wickedness of any, but certainly it will fall heavy upon those that have been thus the occasion thereof. They indeed die in their sins; but will not their blood be required of those under whose care they were, who yet permitted them to go on without warning—yea, led them into the paths of destruction? And will not the diligence of Christians with respect to the discharge of these duties in ages past rise up in judgment against and condemn many of those who would be esteemed such now? [Keach, et al.]
As I join these great men of the faith in attempting to impart knowledge and Christian devotion to my family, I encourage you to do the same. We may fail, but Lord willing it will not be for a lack of trying. I will conclude this introduction with the closing remarks of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith:
We shall conclude with our earnest prayer that the God of all grace will pour out those measures of His Holy Spirit upon us, that the profession of truth may be accompanied with the sound belief and diligent practice of it by us, that His name may in all things be glorified through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [Keach, et al.]