J.I. Packer, renowned evangelist, and
Gary Parrett have put together
an exhaustive prescription for
reviving the practice of catechesis.
(Grounded in the Gospel, Baker Books, 2010)
Catechesis is a forgotten word
meaning instruction in the Christian religion,
comprising basic principles for beginners,
and deeper exploration for the faithful.
A better term for inquirers
would simply be: Christian Education..
The authors are accurate in that
it has become a neglected practice.
Where it is a dominant feature
of a Christian parish life,
people are drawn further into
following Christ's teaching.
Survey after survey concludes
that young people are interested
in hearing and learning tough stuff
when they consider joining a church.
Praise songs and feel-good messages
do not prepare them for facing
the choices and obstacles they
encounter from demands of today.
Packer and Parrett emphasize using
the gospels to teach the faith because
that is what they were written for
in the early years of Christianity.
Sermons from the pulpit of Sunday
are useful adjuncts to education,
but are not substitutes for the
focus and depth of organized teaching.
Christian pastors were once expected
to teach, and some still do, but more
often we see education in the faith
as a specialized ministry.
Christian education should be
a feature of Sunday attendance,
as well as weekly programs
for small groups in homes.
- ▼ 2014 (8)