Brothers of John the Steadfast, aaka (also affectionately known as) Steadfast Lutherans and BJS, is publishing an important article by the late Rev. William E. Thompson, “Catechesis: The Quiet Crisis” Concordia Theological Quarterly 56 (1992) No. 2-3: 99-121. The series will be published in 3 parts. The first installment is here.
Part 1 is the Introduction to the article. There, the young Pastor Thompson suffered shock and disappointment concerning the state of catechesis in the congregation:
To my shock, only two out of a group of about twenty-five had been catechized with the Small Catechism. The common reference-point which I naively assumed would be there in any congregation to which I was called was not there.
Part 1 is a short read. Take about 60 seconds to sense his plunging surprise at the crisis, and wonder, how many more pastors today are we plunging into this crisis. Read Part 1 here.
A valuable article by the late Rev. William E. Thompson, “Catechesis: The Quiet Crisis,” Concordia Theological Quarterly, Volume: 56 Number: 2 in 1992, p. 99-122. He begins:
Like many young pastors upon their ordination and installation, I had a firm confessional resolve and a definite direction for ministry which were mandated by my ordination vows. Because of this confessional resolve, I chose to begin my Sunday-morning Bible class with a study of the Augsburg Confession. I felt that it would offer an opportunity to deepen the understanding of the faith which was known through Luther’s Small Catechism as well as expose the congregation to another of our church’s confessions. It did not take long for me to realize that the faithful members of this study-group did not have Luther’s Catechism as a basis on which to stand. They had either forgotten through disuse what they had learned of the Catechism or they had simply never been taught the Catechism in the first place. I then asked for a show of hands by those members of the class who had learned the Catechism before confirmation. To my shock, only two out of a group of about twenty-five had been catechized with the Small Catechism. The common reference-point which I naively assumed would be there in any congregation to which I was called was not there.
Since that time I have struggled to answer why this state of catechesis exists in our church. …