I hope you are familiar with the Great Commission. If you are not, it refers to Matthew 28:19-20 where the Risen Lord Jesus says to his disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
Two components are identified by our Lord in the making of disciples. And let’s be clear about one thing. It is the Triune God who makes disciples. The Father works through his Son and with help from his Spirit to work saving faith in us. But we, as instruments, are used by God in the disciple-making enterprise. And we are used as we baptize and catechize – the two methods entrusted to the Church.
Baptism is the start of our Christian journey as followers and students of Christ. And the implications of baptism are lived out through daily repentance and through the fortification of Christ’s body and blood in Holy Communion.
Catechesis is also ongoing. I use the word “catechesis” for teaching and learning for two reasons. First, it has come to be connected with religious instruction. And second, the word’s origin from Greek and Latin implies an oral instruction.
Concerning the latter, it is important to understand religious instruction is not primarily academic! It is not just book reading and intellectual knowledge. For Christians, catechesis has as its end bringing the student to repentance and faith in Christ. It is not memorization only, mentally stored knowledge, but it is learning something by heart so that it can be prayed, hymned, and practiced.
And from early in the history of the Church, predating the Lutheran Reformation, there have been identified three primary texts for catechesis. They are the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. These primary texts every Christian should know by heart!
Since You Asked…
Why is the Triune Name of God repeated so frequently in our worship services?
The mystery of the Trinity is one of the most distinctive elements of our Christian Tradition. Christianity is not alone in claiming to be monotheistic (belief in one Supreme Being, one god). But Christianity holds that this One, True God has revealed himself to us as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Scripture teaches that God the Father has revealed himself through God the Son and in God the Spirit. Only the Son can be seen, and only through the Spirit are we enabled to believe in the Father and the Son. And so we often invoke the name of the Triune God in the mystery of our faith.