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Teaching the Trinity to Young Children

Teaching the Trinity to Young Children May 21, 2021

Critics of infant baptism say that very young children can’t have faith.  They don’t know anything about God.  They can’t reason.  They can’t make a decision for Christ.

We Lutherans and other advocates of infant baptism say that they can too have faith!  Just as they live in dependence and trust in their mother and father and receive their love, they can live in dependence and trust in their Heavenly Father and receive His love.  That’s what faith is.  Not reason.  Not a decision.

Jesus makes the faith of a child–not the faith of an adult–our benchmark:

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-4)

Reason, with our insistence on understanding everything, can get in the way of our faith.  Our will constantly leads us astray.

To be sure, as children grow and mature, they grow and mature in their faith.  They need to learn about their faith, about who God is and what He has done for them.   If their faith isn’t fed by God’s Word, it will die.  Just as they will die unless someone feeds them.

So how do we go about teaching young children about the Trinity?  Surely that is a complex and difficult theological concept, we might think, better saved for adulthood.  But the Trinity is not just a theological abstraction.  The Trinity is who God is.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is God at His most concrete.

Especially with a mystery of the magnitude of the Trinity, human reason gets in the way.  Of course children can learn about the Trinity.

My daughter, Mary Moerbe, has written a children’s book called Trinity for Tots. It’s a picture book for toddlers.  It presents the one God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–through simple rhymes and in terms little children can relate to.

The illustrations are beautiful and evocative.  Not cartoony or cutesy or condescending.  They are watercolor works of art, which serve the text while being objects of meditation in their own right, something that both the children and the adults who read the book to the child on their lap will love.

The illustrations are the work of Jamie and Naomi Truwe, one of my former students and her daughter.  Yes, all of this makes me feel old, but in a good way.

Anyway, here are the endorsements on Amazon:

“In a beautifully simple poem, Mary Moerbe invites all children of the heavenly Father to worship the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity. God be praised for this book which brings the first great mystery of the Christian faith to the Lord’s youngest Christians!” – Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller, pastor, podcaster, and author of books including Has American Christianity Failed? and A Martyr’s Faith in a Faithless World.
“The mystery of the Trinity is a difficult concept for anyone to grasp. Mary Moerbe’s inspired eloquent poetry combined with the watercolor pictures leads readers to the inspirational message in Trinity for Tots.” – David Birnbaum, Principal of First Lutheran School & Education Executive of the LCMS Oklahoma District.
Trinity for Tots teaches with beauty and rhyme the great mystery of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This wonderful book will delight parents and children alike.” – Rev. Dr. Carl Beckwith, Assistant Professor of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University (Birmingham, Alabama)and author of The Holy Trinityvolume 3 of the Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics series (Luther Academy, 2016) and Hilary of Poitiers on the Trinity (Oxford University Press, 2008).”This little book offers a wonderful, faithful, and simple definition of the Trinity that children can understand. The rhymes and artwork kept my children interested. The book provided several opportunities to stop and teach the children. Recommended!” – Rev. Garen Pay, pastor, parent, and author

“A marriage of engaging illustrations and orthodox text, complimenting a liturgical lifestyle, Trinity for Tots is another winner by Deaconess Mary Moerbe! This title is the perfect addition to the Christian’s arsenal of spiritual weapons against Satan’s attacks, equipping parents with a tool to tackle this tricky topic with our most tender little ones.” – Marie MacPherson, classical educator, homeschool mother, and author of Meditations on the Vocation of Motherhood (Into Your Hands, LLC) and Teaching Children Chastity for Life (Lutherans for Life).

“The God of the Bible and of our salvation is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is no Christian faith other than in this God. Yet, as a deep mystery it is difficult to speak of him as one God in three Persons. For this very reason this book is priceless. It gives a primer on how to think and how to speak of Him as our Father who in his Son gives to us the Spirit of eternal life.” – Rev. Dr. William Weinrich, Professor of Early Church and Patristic Studies at Concordia Theological Seminary (Fort Wayne, Ind.).

“And the catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance” (Athanasian Creed, Lutheran Service Book, p. 319). And therein lies the great joy of this delightful little offering by Mary Moerbe. It introduces tots to the joy of this One in Three and Three in One whom we worship as catholic Christians. The genius of tots is that they believe what they are told without insisting on first having to understand HOW what they are told can be so. In this delightfully illustrated and simply written volume the mystery of the Holy Trinity is proclaimed, not explained, to children who are thus brought into His adoration and praise. And they can indeed WORSHIP Him even if (like the rest of us) they will never comprehend the infinite mystery of His being!” – Rev. William Weedon, pastor, author, host of The Word Endures Forever, and former Director of Worship and Chaplain for the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

So I urge you to buy Trinity for Tots for yourself, your children, your grandchildren, your godchildren, and other children of God.

 

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