Concordia Theological Monthly

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Document Type



adult education, religion class, religious instruction, schools, children, parochial, lutheran, catechetical, confession

Submission Type

Bible Study; Lecture; Sermon Prep


We Lutherans of the Synodical Conference are sometimes inclined to be somewhat apologetic with regard to our whole system of religious instruction. This is true even of our catechetical training in preparation for the rite of confirmation and the admission to adult or communicant membership in the Church. How else shall we explain the lowering of standards of indoctrination, particularly in adult classes? And yet, apart from Scripture precept and example, we have the support of some of the staunchest champions of the Bible, as when J. Gresham Machen writes, in his book What is Faith? (p. 150 f.) : "It should, I think, be made much harder than it is now to enter the Church; the confession of faith that is required should be a credible confession; and if it becomes evident upon examination that a candidate has no notion of what he is doing, he should be advised to enter upon a course of instruction before he becomes a member of the Church. Such a course of instruction, moreover, should be conducted, not by comparatively untrained laymen, but ordinarily by the ministers; the excellent institution of the catechetical class should be generally revived. Those churches, like the Lutheran bodies in America, which have maintained that institution have profited enormously by its employment; and their example deserves to be generally followed."


History of Christianity

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Submission Audience

Laity; Ministers; Scholars