The numbers are in; self-professing Christians don’t really believe what Christians have always believed. If that sentence doesn’t make any sense to you, it shouldn’t. Christians have believed certain foundational truths throughout church history, and yet today, we see more and more Christians know less and less about God, Jesus, the Bible and salvation.
Part of the blame is to fall on individual Christians, but corporate church bodies are not innocent in this digression of Biblical truth in our world today. Churches have steered clear of doctrine, theology and Biblical, expositional preaching for many years in the 20th and 21st centuries. And now we are reaping what we have sown.
This is part of the reason why we are introducing a new element to our Sunday morning worship services. Starting this Sunday (January 1, 2017) we will be adding a time of catechesis to our worship liturgy. A catechism is simply a way of teaching truth in a question and answer form. Catechisms have been around for hundreds of years and have been used by thousands of Christian brothers and sisters throughout history. It has only been recently when Protestant churches began to move away from times of corporate catechism programs.
The catechism we will be using is called the New City Catechism. It was produced by The Gospel Coalition (which our church has partnered with) and developed and adapted by Timothy Keller and Sam Shammas from the Reformation-period catechisms. It comprises 52 questions and answers—therefore there is only one question and answer for each week of the year, making it simple to fit into church calendars and achievable even for people with demanding schedules.
Because parents who teach their kids a children’s catechism, and then try to learn an adult one for themselves often find the process confusing (the children are learning one set of questions and answers and the parents are learning another completely different set), New City Catechism is a joint adult and children’s catechism. In other words, the same questions are asked of both children and adults, and the children’s answer is always part of the adult answer.
Each service we will read the question, answer and accompanying Bible verse for that week. There are many online resources available for families to learn the question and answers during the week and thereby have a rich time of discipleship that takes no more than 5 minutes a day.
You can download family resources at: www.newcitycatechism.com
Here are several ways to access the New City Catechism: