At His ascension, Jesus commanded us to "go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19-20).
That can feel like a bit of a tall order, honestly - teaching others to observe all that Christ commanded us. For many of us, just knowing where we should begin - nevermind where we should teach someone else to begin - already feels like a bit of a daunting task, but knowing about God is crucially important for the living of our lives. A.W. Tozer once wrote that "what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us."
We are a church that cares deeply about creating passionate, knowledgeable, loving, and well-trained disciples of Jesus ready to walk out the doors of our church on a Sunday and go forth in the Name of Christ to live missional, intentional lives Monday through Saturday in our various callings and vocations.
In addition to spending time in our Bibles weekly by sitting under the faithful preaching of the Word of God and the discussions that we have in our Home Gatherings, one of the main ways that we walk out the calling that Jesus delivered to us at His ascension is through an ancient Christian tradition called Catechism.
Simply put, Catechism (or Catechesis) is the study of Christian doctrine and how it applies to our daily lives.
A common argument against such study has been that, for far too long, doctrine (more specifically doctrinal differences) has been a greater source of division within the Church than a source of unity. We wholeheartedly agree. It's sad, but true; and this is exactly why we point back to Rupertus Meldenius' statement: In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity, and, as a church, we seek to embody this posture in a world (and the Church) that is often needlessly divided.
But rather than throwing in the towel in the name of unity, we seek and choose another path forward: teaching and training biblically faithful disciples of Jesus, able to distinguish clearly between essentials and non-essentials and in all things, act charitably towards those around them, for there is no such thing as faith without doctrine.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
The doctrine by which Christians must live, and how to live by it has not always been linked in the practical way in which Catechesis links them. We need Catechesis to make sure that both what we should believe and how it should shape our lives is taught and that this link is established.
This past fall we ran a 7-week overview of our Anglican Catechism, To Be A Christian. Many of our community came out to it and found their lives enriched for having attended. We are looking forward to continuing this practice as a church in the coming months.