(Christianity Today) Philip Harrold–Catechesis at its best is a very personal 'school of faith'

The decline in biblical literacy and the loss of a “faith culture” is no longer news, but it is somewhat shocking. Twelve years ago, New Testament professor Gary Burge reported the results of a survey given to students at Wheaton College, the premier evangelical higher education institution. He found that one-third of the students tested could not put the following in sequential order: Abraham, the Old Testament prophets, the death of Christ, and Pentecost. One-third could not identify the Book of Acts as the location of Paul’s missionary travels; half did not know that the Christmas story was in Matthew.

Many studies since have only confirmed these findings. Combine this with increasing anxiety over the church’s loss of the younger generation, and we can understand the church’s growing need for fresh resources to disciple not just youth but Christians of all ages. To put it in terms that feel a little old-fashioned, at the core we have a growing sense that we need to learn again how to catechize.

Read it all (also quoted by yours truly in yesterday morning’s sermon).


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Adult Education, Children, Church History, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

4 comments on “(Christianity Today) Philip Harrold–Catechesis at its best is a very personal 'school of faith'

  1. David Wilson says:

    The only way to read this article from this blog is to subscribe to CT online. In the future please post the entire article. Thx, DDW+

  2. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Like Fr. Wilson, I haven’t been able to read the whole article, but I’ll venture a comment anyway. Dr. Harrold of Trinity School of Ministry in Ambridge has been ably leading a taskforce for the ACNA that is developing a catechism and new catechesis materials for orthodox Anglicans in North America. I eagerly await the chance to review what they’ve come up with so far, and would encourage all T19 readers to pay attention to his plea to restore catechesis to the heart of the church’s life and work. We can’t fulfill the Great Commission without it. Indeed, we won’t eve survive long without it in a post-Christendom culture that’s increasingly hostile to biblical Christianity and massively ignorant when it comes to knowing even the most basic facts about the Bible and the Christian faith.

    A recent book-length appeal to recover the lost art of catechesis is [b]Grounded in the Gospel[/b]: [i]Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way[/i], co-written by Gary Parrett and the famous J. I. Packer. They make their case eloquently and convincingly.

    I’ll just add a pet theme of my own. I strongly believe that part of the recovery of catechesis needs to be the rediscovery and restoration of a serious pre-baptismal catechumenate, for potential new members of all ages. For as the title of my forthcoming book puts it, Christians Are Made, Not Born. At any rate, no one can deny that disciples are made, not born.

    Keep up the good work, Dr. Harrold! As I know from our previous discussions (not from reading this CT article, which I look forward to finishing as soon as it’s publicly available), you’re on the right right track and you’re absolutely right about how essential the urgent the recovery of serious catechesis is in our time.

    David Handy+

  3. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Oops, my old habit of hasty typo’s crept in above. I meant:
    1. We won’t [b]even[/b] survive long without rediscovering how to catechecize new generations and new groups.
    2. The church history prof at TSM is absolutely right about how essential [b]and urgent[/b] is the need to recover that ancient, long-lost art.

    David Handy+

  4. grubstreeter says:

    Actually, don’t post the entire article (as suggested in comment #1). It may be convenient but it’s illegal.