For good or ill every generation leaves a doctrinal legacy. By observing public worship, family devotions, popular books and public confessions, the next generation has a feel for what is considered authentic and valuable. Whether this is done thoughtfully and deliberately, or casually and randomly, a legacy will inevitably be passed on.
The treasures of former generations become ours to prize. We can believe, teach and confess the same truths that nurtured and comforted believers in the past. We can embrace the same truths that former generations fought for and handed on to us.
Or we can see these riches squandered. We can read only the books that our contemporaries have written. We can post doctrinal statements on our church websites but never peruse them, or teach them or live them like we ought to. We can fail to confess the truth wholeheartedly out of fear of what our culture will think of us. If we do these things we will send a signal about what really matters to us, and what by implication should matter to the rising generation. It is possible to neglect doctrines to such an extent that they become a forgotten thing.
"Like the gnostics of old, many Christians today regard the history of Christ's body and its doctrinal consensus as little more than the prison house of the soul."
Michael Horton, A Better Way, p. 167