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To Be A Christian: An Anglican Catechism

To Be A Christian: An Anglican Catechism

In 2019, I began to take an interest in Anglicanism, so I was absolutely delighted to be able review the Catechism from The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and Crossway which is entitled, To Be a Christian: an Anglican Catechism. {They provided a copy free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own, I was not asked for a positive review, just an honest one.)

Photos of To Be a Christian

 

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To Be a Christian is noteworthy not simply for being a very easily understood catechism but also because it is one of the final projects undertaken by the late theological and pastoral titan, the Most Reverend J.I. Packer. Had you ever read anything by Dr. Packer you would understand the enthusiasm I have for this work. Dr. Packer served as the Theological Editor of this work and his fingerprints are everywhere.

 

The Book

The physical book, itself, is muted. It is black cloth over board with gold foil stamping on the cover. Like the other two catechisms I own, the book draws no attention to itself and instead uses its content to draw attention to the Lord of the Church. The paper is soft white with a black letter text. It would appear that Crossway has even sewn the binding in this simple catechism so that it would be very durable for on the go carry.

 

It is currently available in hardcover and e-book formats. I would love to see To Be a Christian available in either a top grain leather or goatskin for use in the pulpit.

 

The Content

You might think that To Be a Christian simply contains an Anglican Catechism but you would be wrong.

 

We open with a section called “Beginning with Christ.” This introduction to the catechism lays out the Gospel in plain simple English, so simple in fact that if you had never seen a Bible but had access to this book, you would still be able to repent of sin. Following the Gospel Presentation, To Be a Christian begins to catechize with the section on Salvation. To veteran Christians, such as myself, this may seem a bit obvious. The reality, however, is that there is nothing more important for a Christian to understand than the concept of Redemption from Sin and so the pastors who composed this catechism begin us there.

 

There are 368 total questions and answers so that you have one question and answer for family worship for every day of the year.

 

The Creeds

Appendices 3 and 4 contain the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, the two foundational Creeds of Christianity. While there is not a guide or suggestion on using the Creeds, my recommendation is to recite them at least once per week in family worship

 

Catechetical Liturgy

There are some samples of liturgy to use for formal catechism classes in the Church. For those of us outside of the Anglican Communion, formal catechism usage may be an unnerving concept but I would encourage you not to fear. Catechism classes unify the church around the essentials of the faith.

 

Pairing with the Bible

The catechism offering Scripture references, I recommend pairing with the Bible, but not just any Bible- I recommend that it be paired with the ESV Bible with Creeds and Confessions. The ESV with Creeds and Confessions not only includes the 30 Articles of Religion, it also gives the Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and the Definition of Chalcedon.

 

When reading the Catechism, it is always advisable to turn to the Scriptures and read the references provided for each question and answer.

 

Real Life Usage

The audience, here at Exploring the Truth, are mostly Anglican and Baptist and we have been providing the Anglican Catechism daily while our sister ministry, Abounding Grace Baptist Church provides the Baptist Catechism.

 

It is a sad reality that many professing Christians have no real clue as to what the Christian Faith entails nor are they familiar with teachings that the Church has handed down through the centuries. Using this catechism will help to build a strong foundation upon which to stand as the days grow ever more wicked.

 

Final Thoughts

The importance of a catechism cannot be overstated. If you have never had a catechism, I commend this one to you. The Anglican Communion has stood for nearly 600 years and will continue to stand, built on the rock of Scripture and guided by faithful catechisms.

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