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To Be a Christian

“To Be a Christian”… It is a wonderful thing, but what does it mean? I mean in detail… How are we saved? What are our responsibilities? Will it impact our lifestyle? In what ways? What are all the benefits?

Throughout my 20-year career in the Navy my primary responsibility was counseling Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen. I counseled countless people, but increasingly toward the end of that time I found that more and more, Christians were coming to me that didn’t seem to know very much about being a Christian.

Historically, the Church used an approach called a Catechism. From the introduction by the theologian J. I. Packer: Within a century of Jesus’ earthly ministry, Christian congregations could be found from Spain to Persia, and from North Africa to Britain. By this time, the catechumenate for would-be Christians (from the Greek katecheo: “to instruct” – a period of 1-3 years’ instruction leading to baptism at Easter) had become established Christian practice. This pattern of Christian disciple-making continued for some centuries before falling into disuse, as nominal Christianity increasingly became a universal aspect of Western culture.

Two things are among the many reasons I really like this work:

  1. It’s written to use by and for people who don’t know anything about being a Christian.
  2. It’s written with an introduction, then a question-and-answer format. Like a FAQ.

What does it mean to be a Christian? The Anglican Church in North America hereby offers an answer.

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