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Catechesis // What the church has always believed

September 27th, 2017

John Chandler


This coming week, we borrow an old word to begin a new discussion series called Catechesis. This ancient term describes how essential Christian beliefs were repeatedly taught to help followers of Jesus understand how to live. For us, this is a season to discuss how our shared life is birth out of what the Church has always believed. Each week, these discussion will begin in our Sunday liturgy and continue into Community Groups.

Week of 10/1 // What is belief?
Often, in our culture, Christianity is known as a set of beliefs. The “faithful” get so particular about their beliefs that churches form and divide around variations in these beliefs. We understand, though, that beliefs matter not because believing all the right things makes us right with God, or define who is in and out. Instead, we recognize that what we believe shapes how we live and love.

Week of 10/8 // What is the Bible?
The Bible is a sacred and historical set of texts at the heart of the Christian faith. Yet it is sometimes held in too high regard as being the only reliable source of truth. What authority should the Bible have in our time, our lives and in our church? How should we approach it as a sacred text while not placing it on an equal plane with God?

Week of 10/15 // What does it mean that God is a trinity?
The word trinity is never found in the Bible, yet for centuries, theologians have understood God to be a relational being of three in one. Why does it matter to the Christian faith that we see God as a trinity? What does this relational nature of God tell us about our own relational nature as humans?

Week of 10/22 // What is God’s relationship with creation?
The question already reveals a bit of the answer here — we understand that God is the creator and still at work in creation. What was God’s intent and ongoing hope for creation? If we believe God is good and perfect, why are humans and the whole of creation full of evil?

Week of 10/29 // What does it mean to be created in the image of God?
While we recognize that God is the creator, we also see that humans were given a special place in creation as those who bear the image of God. What does it mean for humans to be represent God in creation in this way? How does our understanding of this “Imago Dei” help us form an understanding of sin?

Week of 11/5 // Who is Jesus?
To understand Jesus is to understand this mystery of God dwelling on the earth in human form, somehow both divine and human at the same time. But to understand Jesus is to also understand how Jesus is active and present within the Trinity both before his human birth and after his resurrection.

Week of 11/12 // What happened at the cross?
Jesus was crucified by Romans on a hill outside Jerusalem two millennia ago. Christians understand that event to be a pivotal moment in history. We understand the implications of that week to be cosmic and personal — and everywhere in between. How should those events from thousands of years ago determine how how we live today and lean in to tomorrow.

Week of 11/19 // Who is the Holy Spirit?
In the final months before he was crucified, Jesus explained to his closest followers that he would be going away, and that it’s as for the best. After that, he explained, the Holy Spirit would come. So, why is the Holy Spirit so important that Jesus would say we are better off with the Spirit than a human Jesus?