I belong; Help my lack of belonging

Making disciples in a secular age requires recovering an old catechetical pattern: belonging, believing, behaving.

Christians, Tertullian wrote in the third century, “are made, not born.”

The father of the African church, in chapter 18 of his Sorrywas reflecting on the Great Commission of the resurrected Christ, who challenged his followers to “make disciples” by “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything.” [he had] commanded” (Matthew 28:19-20).

The challenge of making Christians today is the same as in the third century. As a pastor once shared with me about the ministry of his congregation: “We are doing a pretty good job evangelizing and baptizing people, but we are not fulfilling our obligation to teach them to obey everything the Lord commanded.”

The task of teaching all that Jesus commanded is not a matter of transmitting a list of beliefs and behaviors necessary to belong to the church. Christian formation has always assumed that believe, behave and belong constitute a holistic approach to making disciples. But over time, Christian catechetical practice settled into a pattern that prioritized belief as paramount, while de-emphasizing behavior and especially belonging.

Basic catechetical instruction in this traditional pattern began with learning the creeds and basic teaching of the Scriptures, followed by baptism and reception as a member of the church, followed by participation in the worship and practices of the faith. The content of catechesis in this traditional pattern varied depending on one’s particular denominational doctrine, but for centuries the order was consistent throughout Western Christianity.

If you were a Protestant in the north…

Keep reading…

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button