Volume 1, Edition 1
I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, my sins I have placed at the foot of the Cross and my heart has begged for the forgiveness of those same sins. I know recognize what He has done for me, and through my faith in His act of sacrificial lamb, I am now given freely grace and salvation from the Lord Jesus Christ. So now what?
The preceding statement could be your, your spouses, your child’s, and your neighbor. Most likely, this statement has been uttered or thought by every Christian, including the very first ones. But unlike the first Christians, we do not have the prophets or Apostles to teach us and build us up; instead what we have is the Holy Spirit, the Church, and the Word of God. The question of “so now what” is a fair one, and what I would want you to know is why the spiritual formation of every Christian citizen is of paramount importance.
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Prov. 22:6). This simple instruction (and warning), conveys a very basic truth, one which demands to be applied in the context of the life of a Christian. Since we are all “children of God” (Rom 8:16), we are all responsible for our spiritual development as well as those around us, so where do we begin? Catechesis needs to be taught by “teachers whose special task is to ground worshipers of every age in the truths Christians live by and in the ways Christians are to live by those truths”. As Parrett explains, the necessity of proper catechesis in these truths is to both establish a “full initial grounding” and a “regular revisiting and deepened exploration of them”.
So the question that needs to be answered is simply; what are these “truths”? A mature Christian recognizes that these truths are realized in the Word of God. But they are not only recognizable, they are also readily accepted. They are not taken for granted nor are they picked apart with only some application being accepted as the Word of God. No, the whole Scripture is presented as the complete Word of God. As 2 Timothy 3:16,17 declares’ “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” Now many who would question this passage in Scripture as being composed by man, and therefore subject to criticism, do so because they either do not have, or possess very little faith. Faith is the single most important ingredient to the Christians life. Without faith, there can be no hope. There can be no belief in God, no belief that He sent His Son, no belief that Jesus died on the cross and rose again for our sins, no belief that in His Son is our eternal salvation, and no hope that He will come again for all of us who call Him Lord and Savior.
Many will laugh, mock or ridicule whenever the principle of faith is exercised or promoted by Christians, but even to a non-believer there exists a degree of faith, for example, when a person awakes from the night’s sleep, they have faith that the air to breathe exists, they cannot see it, touch it or taste it, but yet they never doubt that it will be readily available for breathing. I could also argue that everyone believes that the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar existed, yet no one alive today ever saw him or talked to him. Granted, faith in the life of the Christian is much more relevant, in fact, it is a matter of life and death. As John Calvin stated; “faith is the firm conviction of the grace of God, secured by a sense of repose enabled by this conviction, a firm confidence of the heart by which we securely acquiesce in the mercy of God promised to us through the Gospel”. In a similar vein of thought Thomas Oden declares faith to be “the means by which salvation is appropriated through personal trust in the Son as Savior”. And ultimately the Apostle Paul had something to say concerning the matter of faith in Ephesians 2:8, 9; “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
In light of the emphasis that I am placing on the importance of building up the believer’s faith system, it is important to have a proper understanding of how this is relative to the catechetical life of the congregation. I would echo Thomas Groome’s sentiments whereas he declares catechesis to be “the activity of reechoing or retelling the story of Christian faith that has been handed down. Catechesis is thus situated as a specifically instructional activity within the broader enterprise of Christian religious education.” The Apostle Paul tells us that “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of god, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love”(Eph. 4:13-15). As you can see I do not propose that without catechism we cannot have faith, but rather because of catechism we, as a congregation, are able to bring our faith in Christ to maturity.
 Packer & Parrett
 Ibid, pg. 17.
 (Calvin, CR XXXIII.333; SHD II 402; cf. Inst. 3.1.1-7).
 Oden, Thomas, Life in the Spirit, Systematic Theology; Volume 3(Mass. Hendrickson Publishers, 2008) pg. 129.
 Groome, pg. 27.