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Understanding the Faith, New ESV Edition: A Workbook for Communicants Classes and Others Preparing to Make a Public Confession of Faith Paperback – October 30, 2009
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"Hundreds of our youth have been tutored in the opportunity of making their profession of faith in Christ and admission to church membership by this biblically strong, Reformed curriculum. It is unique. I am delighted to see it updated and published for a wider audience." --Michael A. Rogers, senior pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Lancaster, PA
"Steve Smallman's communicant-class lessons logically and enjoyably explained church membership. I emerged from his class with a richer understanding of Scripture and the Christian faith. Even after graduating from college with a degree in religion, I still find Understanding the Faith to be an excellent resource and a reminder of what church membership is all about." --Ryan Dolibois, teacher/administrator for Houston inner-city schools
"It is important that my children know the scriptural reasons for what we believe. It is not enough for them to recite facts; they need to know why we believe what we do. Understanding the Faith is an excellent tool for accomplishing this purpose, not just for children, but also for adults. I recommend it for use in communicants classes, in Sunday School, or for teaching in the home." --Cynthia DelVechio, homemaker, Philadelphia
About the Author
Stephen Smallman served for over forty years in pastoral ministry. He is an urban missionary serving with CityNet Ministries.
Top customer reviews
The 17 week study is pretty comprehensive including such subjects as:
1) What does it mean to be a church member?
2) What is the Bible, what is the main teaching of the Bible?
3) What is God like, including what is the trinity?
4) What is Sin?
5) What is the intended role of the Ten Commandments in your life?
6) Jesus Christ: who he is... why he died... what his death accomplished
7) There are four chapters on faith and living the Christian life with confidence and assurance
8) Christ's second coming
I really appreciate several things
1) The simple way it all is worded--a child can truly understand, not verbose.
2) It is very biblical and objective--nearly every question asks the student to read the Bible text and answer from the Bible
3) Occasionally a question refers to the Westminster Shorter (children's) Catechism which provides concise answers to bigger questions. (so I have downloaded & printed free copies of the Shorter Catechism for the kids to use.)
Following the 17 week class time (we do it in Sunday School hour for 7th & 8th grades) several of us elders will usually visit with each student and ask them to express their faith personally. When we feel that a student has understood and truly put their faith in Christ we recommend them for membership. There are of course times when kids aren't ready because their faith is not genuine & personal. With those kids we follow up and encourage them to personally trust Christ; until they do we do not recommend them for membership. I'm also aware of churches that have used the material by having parents do the study with their children instead of in a Sunday School class. Good reports on that too.
We first used this material in loose leaf form over 20 years ago--long before it was published. The published version is particularly nice. I can't say I'd change much about it.