A Comprehensive Understanding of the Christian Faith

I cannot stress enough that the goal of Catechesis (religious instruction) is not merely knowledge. The goal of Lutheran Catechesis is to lead a person to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. And this need is ongoing!

There are three primary texts involved in historical Catechesis. They are the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. The Ten Commandments  (Ex. 20:1-17; Dt. 5:6-21) and the Lord’s Prayer (Mt. 6:9-19; Lk. 11:2-4) are the very words of Scripture! And the Apostles’ Creed is a summary of important truths taught by Scripture.

Dr. Martin Luther believed that every Christian should know these three primary texts by heart before being admitted to Holy Communion.

In addition to these three primary texts, the Lutheran Catechism added a set of questions and answers to these texts. And then it has added a consideration of three rites belonging to Christ’s Church: that of Baptism, Confession and Absolution, and Communion.

When all these components are known by heart, the disciple has a comprehensive understanding of the Christian Faith. It is comprehensive, but not exhaustive! We will never quit learning. And the mysteries of the faith are beyond our understanding and mastery. But the Lutheran Catechism is full, and provides an adequate frame for placing all additional elements taught.

Think of it this way. The Holy Spirit uses the Commandments to bring us to repentance by showing us that we are lost and condemned sinners. The Holy Spirit uses the Creed to show the love and mercy God has shown to undeserving sinners. The Holy Spirit uses the Prayer to teach us what to ask for so that we can serve God in righteousness as we serve our neighbor in love.

Furthermore, the Holy Spirit works with the Word and water of Baptism to bring us to faith in Christ. And he works through Confession to continue to forgive our sins. And he works through Communion to nourish us in faith.

Since You Asked…

What is the Christian’s Hope?

In a word, it is the resurrection of the body to life everlasting in the world to come. This is more accurate and complete than just saying “life after death.” It is also more helpful than saying “going to heaven.” When Jesus returns at the end of the age to judge the living and the dead, baptized believers will be raised bodily! They will share in a resurrection similar to Jesus’ resurrection. And being in his presence on that day and for all eternity is not just a matter of escaping to heaven, but living in his presence in the new heaven and earth. The Lord intends to renew and restore his creation. So our central hope is the resurrection of the dead, with believers inheriting the Kingdom.