To Be a Christian

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

Having grown up on the Westminster Shorter Catechism, I highly value the role of question-and-answer catechesis for faith formation. As a now-Anglican, I was looking to this catechism to see if it would provide a similar teaching tool for my own children. Unfortunately, I don't think it will. If you are looking for a historic catechism to compare it to, the Westminster Larger Catechism would be a better comparison point - the number of questions and length of the answers are more in line with that bigger, broader document. Given that J. I. Packer was the editor-in-chief, I think I also kind of wanted this catechism to work as a question and answer format version of his "Concise Theology," but it tends to get more specific than that amazing little volume. I also didn't find any questions with the pithy but amazing theological punch of WSC question 1 or Heidelberg question 1. So I will continue to hold out for "To Be a Christian for Children" or the like.

Those quibbles aside, as an adult and lifelong believer, but relatively new Anglican, I found myself enlightened by many of the specific questions that I don't think my kids need but that tease out Anglican distinctives. If you are an adult wanting to understand the broad positions of the Anglican communion, this book is a great place to start.
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Great little Anglican resource in line with the evangelical tradition. As a Presbyterian reading through this I found myself agreeing with just about everything and was duly encouraged.
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Found this quite interesting as someone who has little direct experience with Anglican and high church procedures and format.
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'To  Be a Christian' is an Anglican Catechism that is intended to be used by both mature and new Christians in their discipleship journey. In the ancient tradition of Catechisms, it seeks to bring forward the solid apostolic teachings and convictions to new generation of Anglican. The hope is that people who use this document will find their faith and trust in the Lord Christ enriched and solidified.
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To Be a Christian is a wonderful read. A very solid summary of orthodox faith and a good intro to Anglicanism.
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Catechism is question and answer formula that is foundational in learning and applying biblical truth. Each question builds to the next question and each answer is supported by multiple scriptures. It is prayerful, worshipful and discipleship based.

The following is an example from the book.

What should you seek in prayer? In prayer, I should seek not only God's provision for my needs but fellowship with God, who made me for fellowship with himself. (Exodus 33:7-11, Psalms 27:4,8; 42:1-2; John 14:18-23; 1 John 1:3)

The next question draws from the answer - How can you have fellowship with God? It is a building block of learning and discovering.

With this particular Catechism there are 3 parts .

Beginning with Christ
Believing in Christ
Belonging to Christ

I have a great appreciation for the Catechism and would strongly recommend it as it gives believers a tool that builds faith.

A Special Thank you to Crossway Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.
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I am not Anglican but as a Nazarene ordained minister I find my stream of theology being rooted in John Wesley who was an Anglican minister. That being said there are a few differences in belief and practice. Yet with that disclaimer the catechism of the Anglican Church is a beautiful way to educate new believers. 
Often used with children this training educates using question and answers. I didn’t grow up in a church that performed a catechism but had its own flavor of training. But I enjoy this and have read the books of Catechism before. 
This would be a great book to study with new believers and those who seek to have a more solid foundation in their beliefs. 
This book edits and updates the classic works and is a great educational piece. 
I appreciate the statement that more than just h ad knowledge is needed. We need to believe in faith what we learn!  

Thanks to the publisher for providing this free ebook for my review. In no way as I told I had to rate this book in any specific way.
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This book is set to release January 28, 2020. I receive a free copy though NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m not entirely sure if this has been updated from the previous edition, or just rebound.

Anglicanism caught my interest after I stumbled across The Prayer Book Society on YouTube. Liturgical worship was foreign to me, and used to make me feel uncomfortable, but over time I grew to appreciate it. One of the questions in this book says,

Why do Anglicans worship with a structured liturgy? Anglicans worship with a structured liturgy because it embodies biblical patterns of worship, fosters reverence and love for God, deepens faith in Jesus Christ, and is in continuity with the practices of Israel and the Early Church. (Numbers 6:22–27; Deuteronomy 12:8– 14; Psalm 96; Acts 2:42–47; Revelation 15; Didache 8–10)

The beginning of the book begins by saying Anglicans are heirs of rich tradition, and have millions of believers on six continents. Some Anglicans throughout history are: William Wilberforce, who led the abolition of the slave trade in England, to the bishops and martyrs of the English Reformation like Thomas Cranmer, and to missionaries like Augustine of Canterbury and Saint Patrick, who spread the Gospel throughout the British Isles. (I’d like to note that John Owen, JC Ryle, Richard Baxter, Richard Sibbes, Michael Reeves, Gerald Bray, were/are Anglican!)

“All true doctrine, Anglicans believe, is derived from Holy Scripture, which is the wellspring and ground for testing all that is taught in the Church. Saint Paul instructs the Church, ‘All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness’ (2 Timothy 3:16). Further, Article 6 of the Articles of Religion states, ‘Whatever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of the Faith.”

The preface goes over Anglican stuff like the Book of Common Prayer, 39 Articles, etc, and there’s an introduction by J.I. Packer. The setup is really quite nice in the ebook. I’m really curious to seeing what the physical book will look like!

This book is then broken up into four parts. The first part is over the gospel and salvation. There are questions asking what’s sin, how can we be saved, who is Jesus. Here’s an example question:

Can you save yourself from the way of sin and death? No. I have no power to save myself, for sin has corrupted my conscience, confused my mind, and captured my will. Only God can save me. (Psalm 33:13–19; Isaiah 43:8–13; John 3:1–8; Ephesians 2:1–9)

The second part is over the Apostles’ Creed and the sacraments (Protestants only have two— baptism and The Lords Supper).

What is the purpose of the creeds? The purpose of the creeds is to declare and safeguard for all generations essential truths about God, the Church, and the world, as revealed in Holy Scripture. (Deuteronomy 7:9–11; Psalm 145:4– 13; John 20:30– 31; 2 Timothy 1:13–14; Hebrews 2:1– 4)

I really loved the breakdown of each line the Apostles Creed. It will make for awesome study material.

Part three breaks down the Lord’s Prayer, and discusses Scripture, prayer, worship, and the Christian life. A question from this section:

How can you have fellowship with God? Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and union with him by the Holy Spirit, I have fellowship with God as his adopted child. I experience this in prayer, worship, God’s Word, the sacraments, and Christian community, as I daily follow him by faith. (Nehemiah 9:1–8; Psalm 65:1–4; John 15:9–17; Acts 2:42–47; Romans 8:14– 17; 1 John 1:3–7)

And the fourth part covers the Ten Commandments, justification and santficiation. Gotta appreciate the writers for calling things what they are, especially with all the liberalism creeping into the church.

What other actions are considered murder? Genocide, infanticide, abortion, suicide, and euthanasia are all forms of murder. Sins of murderous intent include physical and emotional abuse, abandonment, willful negligence, and wanton recklessness. (Exodus 1:15–22; 21:28–30; 2 Kings 17:16–18; Psalm 139: 13–16; Amos 1:13–15; Acts 9:1–2; Didache 2.2)

Here are two more from this section I want to share. I love that this catechism has stuff on singleness!

How should a single person keep the seventh commandment? Those who are single should honor as holy their own bodies and those of others by refraining from sexual acts, lewd speech, or lustful thoughts.They should nurture chaste and loyal friendships , and uphold the common life of their families, fellowships, and churches. (1 Corinthians 6: 12– 20; 7: 6– 9)

Are some called to lifelong celibacy? Yes. God calls some to an unmarried life of faithfulness and chastity.This calling enables them to devote their lives to God’s service without the responsibilities of marriage and family. (Matthew 19: 10– 12; 1 Corinthians 7: 32– 35)

There is a 20 page appendix with the Nicene Creed, the Creed of Saint Athanasius, and some prayers.

I really enjoyed this book! It’s a wonderful resource, and a delight to read. If you’re a new Anglican, or curious about Anglicanism, this is a really great place to start.
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First sentence: Why an Anglican catechism? Anglicans are heirs of a rich tradition of Christian faith and life.

To Be A Christian is a new catechism written specifically for Anglicans. I am not an Anglican. (Though certainly I can affirm many of the questions and answers in this one.) I wanted to let you know at the start that I am not an Anglican and I am looking at this from more of an outsider perspective.

The question isn't so much do believers--in general--need catechisms and creeds. The question is do Anglicans need their own catechism, an updated catechism though the content is often drawn from a rich, traditional past? The editors' obvious answer is YES, yes they do.

Do I agree that Anglicans need their own catechism? I'm not sure that I'm convinced. But hey I am an outsider.

So the catechism covers the gospel and faith in general, the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, prayer in general, the Ten Commandments, etc. All stuff you'd expect in ANY christian catechism. But it doesn't stick with the basics. It goes above and beyond to cover things that are specifically or exclusively Anglican.

When it's covering more-basic, truly-essential Christian doctrine and creed, the catechism is good and beneficial. 

So at times I found myself LOVING it. And at other times it was more of a meh response. There are over 360 questions and answers that one would potentially have to memorize. That is A LOT. The answers are concise, but perhaps there are a few too many for the average reader...unless one is truly an Anglican.
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