My book 30 Questions: A Short Catechism on the Christian Faith is available for purchase from the Seedbed store. This resource makes for a great teaching tool in local churches. Recently you’ve seen a few chapters posted, highlighting some of the content. From now on we’ll feature a chapter from my book each week in hopes of encouraging you to pick up the book and share it with others as well. Here you’ll read a snippet from each chapter, but you can read the entire passage at Seedbed.com.
Christians in the Western world have enjoyed a long sojourn at the center of cultural life. For hundreds of years we could expect that, broadly speaking, Judeo-Christian values were held up as worthy of emulation. People may not have followed the Ten Commandments, but they believed that they were true and that they reflected how people should live. Christianity was widely regarded as setting forth the proper moral standard for society. Christian values were generally defended in the church, in the home, and in society.
The word “catechesis” means “to sound down.” It refers to a teaching exchange between a seasoned, secure Christian and a new believer. The church has invested enormous time and energy into catechesis all through history. Small manuals were produced which were used to teach the basics of Christian faith. They were often in question-and-answer format and generally covered the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, the nature of the church, and the sacraments. There were longer manuals which were used by the church in confirmation classes and shorter manuals which were used by parents at home. All of the Protestant churches which emerged in the sixteenth century produced catechesis manuals. John Wesley’s first encounter with the Christian faith would have been through an Anglican catechism which he learned from his mother, Susanna, who became widely known for her deep commitment to the catechesis of children—not only her own children, but many others as well.
The purpose of this meditation is to provide a thirty-day short course in the Christian faith. Like traditional catechesis manuals, it is organized in a question-and-answer format. The questions can be used as a morning or evening devotional during any month of the year. Alternatively, a church or small Bible study group can use the manual over an eight-week period as follows: Week 1, questions 1–3; Week 2, questions 4–6; Week 3, questions 7–11; Week 4, questions 12–15; Week 5, question 16; Week 6, questions 17–20; Week 7, questions 21–25; and Week 8, questions 26–30.