Question and Answers Regarding Bible Doctrine Materials for Middle/High Schoolers
On July 1, 2010, the message below was sent to all WRF members and, in the past six weeks, many responses have been received. Because of the excellence of these responses, we are posting both the original request and the responses on the WRF website.
This is the kind of thing the WRF exists to do. We hope that, as any WRF members have questions like this one, they will share them with Sam Logan, and, as appropriate, he may seek the input of all WRF members.
Colleagues in the WRF:
I have received a request for advice and assistance which I am passing along to all of you. I do this both in order to provide actual assistance to the WRF member who made this request and in order to demonstrate the kind of thing that can be accomplished by your ministry reports (but ONLY if you send in your ministry reports!).
This request comes from Ruth Moran, a WRF member in North Carolina here in the United States. If you have suggestions for Ruth, please reply directly to her (but I would love it if you would copy me as well!). Her e-mail address is below. Also below is a link to a website which describes Ruth's battle with cancer.
Here is Ruth's request:
If you were to recommend a useful, practical resource to teach a survey/summary of Bible Doctrines (from an evangelical Reformed perspective preferred), suitable for Middle/High School in our home school setting, what would be your pick(s)...and why?
This is not necessarily intended for a single year's curriculum, but can be.
WRF Member Ruth Moran
Response from Peggy Hedden - firstname.lastname@example.org
I assume that you have already studied the Westminster Catechisms and Confession.
Even shorter and plainer is John Calvin's A Brief Outline of the Christian Faith, translated from the French by Stuart Olyott, published by Banner of Truth Trust, 1998. Although brief, it gives much food for thought in each paragraph.
The best introduction as to the story of the Bible that I have found is Max Anders' Understanding the Bible in 30 Days, [although I think Anders should have a separate logo for Man sins (Gen. 3:1-7), God Judges (Rev. 20), and God Creates Anew (Rev. 21-22)].
The best explanation of Scripture and how to value it that I have found is John Stott's God's Book for God's People--Why We Need the Bible, IVP, 1982.
I hope you find what you are looking for.
Yours in the Way, the Truth, and the Life,
Peggy and Jim Hedden
409 S. Parkview Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43209
Response from Bob Price - Robert.C.Price@gmail.com
As a homeschooling family myself, finding Reformed Curriculum is difficult, but Christian Liberty Press in Arlington Heights, IL is a good solid curriculum from a Reformed Position.
In particular, they have a series called Learning God's Word, which is a good overview of Bible Curriculum. They have an abridged version of Louis Berkof's Systematic Theology (called a Manual of Christian Doctrine) for High Schoolers. They also have high school books on the life of Jesus and the Old Testament.
Their website is: http://www.christianlibertypress.com/productsBySubject.asp?cat=15 (that's at least the online store, but feel free to just go to www.christianlibertypress.com .
I've used the curriculum in a variety of settings. We've used the elementary curriclum in our homeschool and I've found it to be user friendly, helpful, and Reformed.
I hope that helps.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me:
Pastor Bob Price
Resurrection Presbyterian Church
Response from Dave Harvey - email@example.com
We use Bible Doctrine (edited by Jeff Purswell). It is a high schooler’s version of Wayne Grudem’s systematic theology. It’s going to be solidly reformed but also have some continuationist sympathies, so she may want to know that.
Sovereign Grace Ministries (www.sovgracemin.org)
Covenant Fellowship Church (www.covfel.org)
Response from David Schuringa - firstname.lastname@example.org
We have two courses to fit the bill:
For Middle School: Great Truths of the Bible which is a 12-lesson course that teaches 50 great truths of the historic Christian faith and has been tested by hundreds of thousands.
For High School (Junior/Senior): Biblical Truths in-Depth, a meaty, 10-lesson introduction to Systematic Theology based on a book by the late Dr. Alexander C. De Jong.
Dr. H. David Schuringa
Crossroad Bible Institute
P.O. Box 900
Grand Rapids, MI 49509-0900
"Listen weekly to
Response from Jerry Johnson - email@example.com
Here is what I recommend:
Confessing Christ by Calvin Knox Cummings.
Here is the review: Learn the basics of your faith. Designed for communicants or new member classes. The study addresses the Bible, Christ, repentance and faith, the Christian life, the church, the Word, sacraments and prayer and confessing Christ to others. Discussion questions included. 8 to10 sessions.
By His Grace & For His Glory,
Jerry Johnson, President
866.735.9582 (Toll Free)
Response from Jim Dundas - firstname.lastname@example.org
Look at Berkhof's, A Manual of Christian Doctrine. He wrote it for high school and college classes. It is part of his very useful series of books on Christian doctrine. See below:
1. "Systematic Theology"
2. "Manual of Christian Doctrine"
3. "Summary of Christian Doctrine"
4. "The History of Christian Doctrine"
I have used all these works with high schoolers as well as older students.
I hope I answered your question. I would also search Joel Beeke's "Reformation Heritage Books" in Grand Rapids for suitable material.
By His Grace Alone,
Response from Joel Beeke - email@example.com
My brother James W. Beeke has written an excellent set of books that cover the entire field of Reformed doctrine and is packed with illustrations applications, etc. It is titled, "Bible Doctrine for Teenagers and Young Adults" (3 vols.), and they are available from Reformation Heritage Books. Go to heritagebooks.org. There are also Teachers' Guides available. We've sold tens of thousands of these books and regularly receive compliments on them. It is an outstanding set and will be just what you are looking for.
Joel R. Beeke
2965 Leonard NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525 USA
Ph: 616-977-0599, Ext. 123; Fax: 616-285-3246; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, www.puritanseminary.org
Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation, www.hnrc.org
Reformation Heritage Books, www.heritagebooks.org
Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, email@example.com
Response from Margaret Courtney - firstname.lastname@example.org
Just received a note from Sam Logan telling about your search for useful, practical resources to teach Biblical Doctrine from an evangelical reformed perspective. My suggestion would be to go to: www.faithaliveresources.org/Youth/Youth-Reformed-Faith This web site is from the Christian Reformed Church. At Trinity Presbyterian Church in Rye, New York, we use the CRC curriculum and find it to be outstanding. I am not sure how deep you want to go with doctrinal issues but I did notice one book that looked interesting - Speaking as One which covers the Apostles, Nicene and Athanasian creeds.
Hope this is a help,
Response from Rick Horne - email@example.com
I got your request for a doctrine course from Sam Logan, via the WRF connection. A friend and former teacher at Delaware County Christian School has written a course on doctrine for high school students--9th grade students--close to middle schoolers in age and maturity. You may be able to adapt this for your use. You could contact him to see if he would allow you to use a copy of his work. It is good and soundly reformed in its orientation. His name is Dr. David Smith. His email
address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let me know if you have any trouble contacting him.
Enjoy the Lord,
Response from Stephanie Avellio - email@example.com
I've been home schooling for 11 years now with 2 graduated. We have tried several curriculums and benefited from them all, but in applying them, we have found that the classical model works best for older children. This means that dialogue is crucial and giving them the freedom to verbally work through what they're learning, which usually involves teaching them to argue & defend their faith, but respectfully. Here are the books/resources we have used, but anything that Ligonier Ministries publishes would be great:
1. Teaching the Confessions gives our kids a strong foundation. "Training Hearts, Teaching Minds" by Starr Mead would be great to teach middle school the Westminster confessions. It provides short daily devotions for learning one confession each week.
2. To supplement and provide a great historical overview as well as the systematics of our theology, "Dust to Glory" by RC Sproul. This could be done in a year or spread out. It goes from Genesis to Revelation and is a great resource for making sure our kids have the whole word as well as the foundational principles.
3. We have also used biographies & their writings which coordinated with what time period we were studying.
A. Ancient History & Middle ages was a great time to teach church history through writers like, Eusebius, Aquinas, Josephus, Athenasius & Augustine. We also created timelines along with studying Creation to the NT (Dust to Glory). This enabled us to see how God used the rise & fall of empires to work out His plan & spread the gospel.
B. As part of American history we read Jonathon Edwards, Puritan writings & John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. There are many variations & translations so we've used Veritas Academy & Classical Conversations to help us pick age appropriate reading.
May God bless you in your valiant work to teach & train your children in the fear & admonition of the Lord.
Lafayette Hill, PA
Response from Susan Null - firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been working at The American Academy for the past 5 years. Here is our web address:
I like our catechism memory program. I have it organized so that over the course of 4 years our students should have memorized the whole shorter catechism. Of course if one were ambitious, she could use this same plan to memorize it in a year.
I am working on a project this year to use the catechism questions as the text of our penmanship worksheets. Ruth, if these worksheets would be helpful, let me know. We use the italic style of penmanship, so if you are teaching cursive the worksheets might not help.
I have put the catechism on David, Sarah and Laura's ipods. I will give you the link for the download. The WSC is at the bottom of the page.
We do have a weekly class for catechism. Our bible teacher explains the questions of the week. However, for a self study course I really like using the proof texts!
I have so many ideas for this area, I would love to sit at a computer and write curriculum for K-12 - I would just have to stop teaching. My summer is never long enough.
Response from Terri Taylor - email@example.com
As a member of WRF, I received a note from Sam Logan this morning saying you were looking for a useful resources for teaching Reformed doctrine to middle and high school homeschoolers. I homeschool too so I know what the summer hunt for resources is all about. The one book I hand my kids when they are grappling with questions of doctrine is James Boice's Foundation of the Christian Faith. I haven't attempted to teach through it but my kids do write an annual essay exploring a doctrine and this has become their preferred resource. It is written in such a way that they are able to digest it pretty well on their own and Boice is very thorough in his exposition. You might want to take a look.
All the best,
Response from Rollin Van Broekhoven - firstname.lastname@example.org
I talked to several teachers that have done home schooling and have taught in Reformed private schools and got some ideas. The two main programs that seem to be the best curricula are the Veritas and the Sonlight. The Veritas program is at http://www.veritaspress.com and is the Omniubus III program. This is for middle school but can work up into high school. I have looked at it and it looks quite good. The Sonlight can be found at http://www.sonlight.com and its programs are good, but would require some picking and choosing among the specific curricula. My daughter which does this a lot and is well known in PCA educational circles in Atlanta area, as well as on the mission field, tells me that both can be used, either one as the main curriculum and the other as supplemental educational opportunity.