Saturday, February 15, 2014

A New Catechism -- Initial Thoughts

Its a cold, rainy Saturday morning here in Suburbia Majora, 33 Degrees and a hair's breadth away from icy roads and walkways...  The perfect time to reflect on some recent reading.

Earlier this month, I downloaded the draft of the Anglican Church in North America's (ACNA) new Catechism.  I'm still reading through it but I have to say that so far, I'm impressed.  Its clear that the the ACNA task force members put prayer, time, thought and energy into its creation.  I'm confident that the final version will be an excellent product.  In its current form, it is 72 pages with 345 questions along with three appendices.  Thorough may be an understatement.  Initially, a few things have stood out strongly in my mind.

There is an intentionality to this document and its view towards the Catechesis and I find this SO refreshing.  Historically, the instruction of new converts was a lengthy process, lasting up to two years.  Today, that process can be reduced to days, hours or even in situations where I've witnessed, minutes.  I'm not saying that we need to return to the multi-year long instruction, But I am saying that the Catechesis needs to be deliberate, and structured.  This is tantamount to "infant nutrition" for newborn believers.  Its lack may explain why we encounter so many in the church whose faith is anemic and stunted.  So, well done on this first critical point.

Another thing that has caught my attention is the Catechism's view towards Salvation.  I believe it strikes a healthy balance in instructing the Catechumen in the fact that we are saved both communally and individually.  I believe the 1979 Catechism missed this, leaning too much towards the communal aspect paired with baptismal regeneration.  This seemed almost reactionary towards the American Evangelical view of salvation which comes off looking like an individual sport where community is of little consequence.  The document seems to capture the truth that, though Christ's atonement was sufficient to save all of humanity, we as individual humans must turn to Christ in repentance that redemption may be appropriated.

These are just a few things that jumped off the page.  I'll have more thoughts in the coming days.

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