O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
PART I: Beginning with Christ
This Catechism is designed to make clear to everyone what it means to be a Christian. It lays out what is essential for Christian faith and life. It will open for you the door to knowing Jesus Christ and experiencing the full love of God through him. It will lead you to full involvement in the life and mission of the Church, as you become a citizen of the Kingdom of God. And it will anchor you in the full reality of unquenchable joy, beginning in this life and ever increasing in the life to come.
However, one can know about these things and yet remain apart from them. In order not to miss what God is offering you, it is imperative that you receive Jesus Christ as your own Savior and Lord – if you have not already done so – and commit yourself to him to be his lifelong disciple. This opening section of the Catechism focuses on helping you to take this step, and when you have done it, to know that you have done it, so that you may go on from there.
To be a Christian is a lifelong commitment, but it begins with becoming a Christian in a conscious way, just as being a spouse begins with taking marriage vows. Being a Christian is a process of advance from that point. As you continue with Christ, with his Father as your Father, his Holy Spirit as your helper and guide, and his Church as your new family, you will constantly be led deeper into your born-again calling of worship, service, and Christ-like relationships.
You need to be clear from the beginning that God creates human beings for intimacy with himself; but no one naturally fulfills this purpose. We are all out of step with God. In Bible language, we are sinners, guilty before God and separated from him. Life in Christ is, first and foremost, God taking loving action to remedy a dire situation.
The key facts of this divine remedy, which the Bible calls the Gospel (meaning “good news”), are these: God the Father sent his eternal Son into this world to reconcile us sinners to him, and to preserve and prepare us for his glory in the life to come. Born of the Virgin Mary through the Holy Spirit, the Son, whose human name is Jesus, lived a perfect life, died a criminal’s death as a sacrifice for our sins, and rose from the grave to rule as Christ (meaning “the Anointed”) on his Father’s behalf in the Kingdom of God. Now reigning in heaven, he continues to draw sinners to himself through communication of the Gospel here on earth. He enables us by the Holy Spirit to turn whole-heartedly from our sinful and self-centered ways (repentance) and to entrust ourselves to him to live in union and communion with him (faith). In spiritual terms, self-centeredness is the way of death, and fellowship with Christ is the way of life. Holy Baptism, the rite of entry into the Church’s fellowship, marks this transition from death to life in Christ. The Apostle Peter said, as he proclaimed the Gospel on Pentecost morning: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself” (Acts 2:38-39).
God the Father calls us to himself through God the Son. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). As we come to the Father through Jesus Christ, we experience the unconditional and transforming love of God.
God the Son calls us to believe in him. After Jesus was raised from the dead, one of his followers named Thomas said that he would only believe if he could see Jesus and touch his wounds. Jesus later appeared, held out his hands, and told Thomas to put his finger in the wounds. Thomas then exclaimed, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). We may understand a great deal about Jesus, as Thomas did before this encounter, but that is not the same as personally believing in Jesus as our Lord and God. We can attend church services and do many good things without knowing the risen Jesus. Knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord means personally believing in him, surrendering our lives to him, and living as his joyful followers.
God the Holy Spirit enlightens our minds and hearts to believe in Jesus, and gives us spiritual birth and life as we do. Our loving Father will “give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11:13). As we place our faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us and wonderfully provides us with power and gifts for life and ministry as Jesus’ disciples. To live faithfully as Christians we must rely upon the equipping and empowering of the Holy Spirit.
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are near to us at all times and will hear us whenever we pray with sincerity, truly meaning what we say. God calls us to repentance and faith in Christ, and a way to enter into life in Christ is to say a prayer like this – preferably in the presence of a mature Christian:
Prayer of Repentance and Faith
Lord Jesus Christ, I confess my faults, shortcomings, sins, and rebellious acts, and ask you to forgive me. I embrace you, Lord Jesus, as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for your atoning death on the cross in obedience to your Father’s will to put away my sins. I enthrone you, Lord Jesus, to be in charge of every part of my life, and I ask you to indwell and empower me with your Holy Spirit, so that I may live as your faithful follower from now on. Amen.
Inquirers who are on the road to faith, but know they are not yet ready to pray these words with full sincerity, may still be able to pray honestly along the following lines:
O God, my Creator, who sent your Son as the Way, the Truth and the Life to save me and all the world, I believe in your reality. Help my unbelief.
I long to understand all that it means to be loved, known, and forgiven by you, and to be made whole: at peace with you, others, myself, and your creation. I know I have sinned against you, others, myself, and the creation of which I am part.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Open my eyes to all that you are, and draw me closer to you, I pray. Amen.
God will always answer honest prayer, made with patience, persistence, and humility.
As you explore this Catechism, turn again and again to God in prayer, so that you will come to know him more and more. As you learn more about God the Father, you could pray a prayer like this:
Gracious Father, I come to you through the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Thank you for adopting me as your child through him. Grant me the grace to know you more fully as my heavenly Father, that I may enjoy the fullness of the promises of your eternal Kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
As you learn more about God the Son, you could pray a prayer like this:
Lord Jesus Christ, as I surrender to you as Lord of my life, draw me ever closer to you. Show me where I may I harbor resistance to your lordship and rejection of your will. Bring me into the greater joy of the abundant life that you desire for me, now and forever; through your holy Name. Amen.
As you learn more about God the Holy Spirit, you could pray a prayer like this:
Almighty God, thank you for giving me new life in Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me afresh with your Holy Spirit. Bring forth in me the goodness and love of Jesus. Empower me to serve you in faith and obedience to Christ that I may always live for your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In order to give clarity and further detail, and for the purposes of teaching and learning, these things will now be set out in question and answer form.
1. What is the Gospel?
The Gospel is the good news of God loving and saving lost mankind through the ministry in word and deed of his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Romans 5:15; John 1:12; 1 John 5:11-12)
is the human condition?
The universal human condition is that, though made for fellowship with our Creator, we have been cut off from him by self-centered rebellion against him, leading to guilt, shame, and fear of death and judgment. This is the state of sin. (Genesis 3; Romans 3:23)
does sin affect you?
Sin alienates me from God, my neighbor, God’s good creation, and myself. I am hopeless, guilty, lost, helpless, and walking in the way of death. (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:23)
is the way of death?
The way of death is a life empty of God’s love and life-giving Holy Spirit, controlled by things that cannot bring me eternal joy, but that lead only into darkness, misery and eternal condemnation. (Romans 1:25; Proverbs 14:12; John 8:34)
you mend your broken relationship with God?
No. I have no power to save myself, for sin has corrupted my conscience and captured my will. Only God can save me. (Ephesians 2:1-9; John 14:6; Titus 3:3-7)
6. What is the way of life?
The way of life is a life directed toward loving and responding to God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, in the power of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit, and leading to eternal life. (John 14:23-26; Colossians 1:9-12; Ephesians 5:1-2; Romans 12:9-21)
does God want to give you?
God wants to reconcile me to himself, to free me from captivity to sin, to fill me with knowledge of him, to make me a citizen of his Kingdom, and to enable me to worship, serve, and glorify him now and forever. (1 John 5:11-12; 1 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 2:19; 3:19; Colossians 1:9)
8. How does God save you?
God saves me by grace, which is his undeserved love given to me in and through Jesus. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
is Jesus Christ?
Jesus is my Savior, fully divine and fully human. He bore my sins, dying in my place on the cross, then rose from the dead to rule as anointed king over me and all creation. (Colossians 1:15-26)
there any other way of salvation?
No. The Apostle Peter said of Jesus, “There is salvation in no one else” (Acts 4:12). Jesus is the only one who can save me and reconcile me to God. (1 Timothy 2:5)
should you respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
I should repent of my sins and put faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior and my Lord. (Romans 10:9-10; Acts 16:31)
does it mean for you to repent?
To repent means that I have a change of heart, turning from sinfully serving myself to serving God as I follow Jesus Christ. I need God’s help to make this change. (Acts 2:38; 3:19)
does it mean for you to have faith?
To have faith means that I believe the Gospel is true; I acknowledge that Jesus died for my sins and rose from the dead to rule over me; I entrust myself to him as my Savior; and I obey him as my Lord. As the Apostle Paul said, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
14. How may a person repent and place faith in Jesus Christ?
Anyone may repent and place their faith in Jesus Christ at any time. One way to do this is by sincerely saying a prayer similar to the Prayer of Repentance and Faith given above. (John 15:16; Acts 16:31-34; Romans 10:9; Hebrews 12:12)
15. What should you do once you have turned to God for salvation in repentance and faith?
If I have not already been baptized, following proper instruction, I should be baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and thus into membership in his Body, the Church. (Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Corinthians 12:13)
16. What does God grant in saving you?
God grants me reconciliation with him (2 Corinthians 5:17-19), forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14), adoption into his family (Galatians 4:4-7), citizenship in his Kingdom (Ephesians 2:19-21, Philippians 3:20), union with him in Christ (Romans 6:3-5), new life in the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4-5), and the promise of eternal life (John 3:16; 1 John 5:12).
17. What does God desire to accomplish in your life in Christ?
God desires to transform me into the image of Jesus Christ my Lord, by the power of his Holy Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
18. How does God transform you?
He will transform me over time through corporate and private worship, prayer, and Bible reading; fellowship with God’s people; pursuit of holiness of life; witness toward those who do not know Christ; and acts of love toward all. The first Christians set this pattern as they “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:23-25)
PART II: BELIEVING IN CHRIST
THE APOSTLES’ CREED AND THE LIFE OF FAITH
For Anglicans, as for all genuine Christians, authentic Christianity is apostolic Christianity. Apostolic Christianity rests on the historic, eyewitness testimony of Jesus’ followers, the apostles, to the facts of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, ascension, present heavenly reign, and promised future return. Both Jesus and his apostles understood these facts to fulfill the Old Testament hopes of the Kingdom (or reign) of God, to which God’s covenant with Israel was intended to lead, and which the Christian Church has received as a reality from Jesus and his apostles.
Anglicans affirm that the Bible, the Old and New Testament together, is “God’s Word written” (Articles of Religion, 20), from which we learn these authoritative facts. By the second century, these key facts of apostolic faith had been organized into a syllabus of topics for catechetical teaching (the Rule of Faith), and this syllabus became the Apostles’ Creed—so called because it sums up the apostolic faith. In due course this Creed, one of three found now in the Prayer Book, took its place as the baptismal declaration used in the church at Rome and elsewhere. The earliest of the Creeds we acknowledge, it is the briefest and most easily memorized for purposes of catechesis, but is complemented and enlarged upon by the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds.
To gather and focus the central truths of the apostolic faith, as the Scriptures present them, is the first task of all catechesis. That is what the Apostles’ Creed does. It is arranged in three paragraphs or articles, which highlight in turn the person and work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thus the Creed is Trinitarian, as is the New Testament itself. It is a curriculum of truths that leads inquirers into a focused and grounded personal faith in the Triune God, and into real discernment of the personal commitment such faith involves.
The Creed exists, as all Creeds and Confessions do, to define and defend this commitment that is basic to being a Christian. Its central article—which declares who and what Jesus Christ was, is and will be—is the fullest and longest; the article on God the Creator (the Father) introduces it, and the article on the Holy Spirit and the Christian salvation follows from it. As a whole, the Creed testifies to the vital core of God’s self-revelation. It is a consensus document, coming to us with the resounding endorsement of faithful believers over nearly two thousand years, for it has been recited by Christian communities at all times and in all places throughout the history of the Christian Church. And it is a benchmark of orthodoxy, that is, of right belief, guiding our understanding of God’s revealed truth at points where our sin-clouded minds might go astray.
ARTICLE I: FAITH IN GOD
Concerning the Creeds
19. What is a creed?
A creed is a statement of faith. The word “creed” comes from the Latin credo, which means “I believe.” (John 20:24-29)
20. What is the purpose of the Creeds?
The purpose of the Creeds is to declare and safeguard God’s truth about himself, ourselves, and creation, as God has revealed it in Holy Scripture. (2 Peter 1:19-21, John 20:31)
21. What does belief in the Creeds signify?
Belief in the Creeds signifies acceptance of God’s revealed truth, and the intention to live by it. (2 Timothy 3:14-15)
22. Which Creeds does the Church acknowledge?
The Church acknowledges the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. (Articles of Religion, 8)
23. Why do you acknowledge these Creeds?
I acknowledge these Creeds with the Church because they are grounded in Holy Scripture and are faithful expressions of its teaching. (1 Corinthians 15:3-11; Philippians 2:6-11)
24. Why should you know these Creeds?
I should know these Creeds because they state the essential beliefs of the Christian faith.
25. What is the Apostles’ Creed?
The Apostles’ Creed says:
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth;
I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Concerning Holy Scripture
26. What is Holy Scripture?
Holy Scripture is “God's Word written” (Articles of Religion, 20), given by the Holy Spirit through prophets and apostles as the revelation of God and his acts in human history, and is therefore the Church's final authority in all matters of faith and practice. (2 Timothy 3:16)
27. What books are contained in Holy Scripture?
The thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament form the whole of Holy Scripture, which is also called the Bible and the canon. (Articles of Religion, 6)
28. What is in the Old Testament?
The Old Testament contains the record of God’s creation of all things, mankind’s original disobedience, God's calling of Israel to be his people, God’s law, God’s wisdom, God’s saving deeds, and the teaching of God’s prophets. The Old Testament points to Christ, revealing God's intention to redeem and reconcile the world through Christ.
29. What is in the New Testament?
The New Testament contains the record of Jesus Christ's birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection and ascension, the Church's early ministry, the teaching of the Apostles, and the revelation of Christ’s coming eternal Kingdom.
30. How are the Old and New Testaments related to each other?
The Old Testament is to be read in the light of Christ, incarnate, crucified and risen, and the New Testament is to be read in light of God's revelation to Israel. As Saint Augustine says, “the New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed.” (Hebrews 8:1-7; Augustine, Questions in the Heptateuch 2.73)
31. What does it mean that Holy Scripture is inspired?
Holy Scripture is “God-breathed,” for the biblical authors wrote under the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit to record God's Word. (2 Timothy 3:16)
32. What does it mean that the Bible is the Word of God?
Because the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit, it is rightly called the Word of God written. God is revealed in his mighty works and in the incarnation of our Lord, but his works and his will are made known to us through the inspired words of Scripture. God “has spoken through the prophets” (Nicene Creed), and continues to speak through the Bible today. (Hebrews 1:1-2; 3:7-11; 10:15-17; 12:25-27)
33. Why is Jesus Christ called the Word of God?
The fullness of God’s revelation is found in Jesus Christ, who not only fulfills the Scriptures, but is himself God's Word, the living expression of God’s mind. The Scriptures testify about him: “In the beginning was the Word” and “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Therefore, “ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” (John 1:1, 14; Jerome, Commentary on Isaiah, prologue)
34. How should Holy Scripture be interpreted?
Just as Holy Scripture was not given through private interpretation of things, so it must also be translated, read, preached, taught, and obeyed in its plain and canonical sense, respectful of the Church's historic and consensual reading of it. (2 Peter 1:20-21; Jerusalem Declaration; Articles of Religion, 2)
35. How should belief in the God of the Bible affect your life?
As I prayerfully learn Holy Scripture, I should expect the Holy Spirit to use it to teach, rebuke, correct and train me in the righteousness that God desires. This nourishes my soul toward the service of God and my neighbor. (2 Timothy 3:16)
36. How should you use the Holy Scriptures in daily life?
I should “hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them” (Book of Common Prayer) so that, by patience and strengthening through God’s Word, I may embrace and cling to the hope of everlasting life given to me in Jesus Christ. I should read and pray Scripture daily, that I may know God’s truth and proclaim it clearly to the whole world.
37. What other books does the Church acknowledge?
The canon of Holy Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation. The fourteen books of the Apocrypha may also be read “for example of life and instruction of manners,” but “not to establish any doctrine” (Articles of Religion, 6).
“I BELIEVE IN GOD”
38. Who is God?
God is one divine Being eternally existing in three divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is the Holy Trinity. (Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19)
39. According to Holy Scripture, what is the nature and character of God?
“God is love” (1 John 4:16). Sharing an eternal communion of love between the three Persons, God loves and mercifully redeems fallen creation. “God is holy” (Psalm 99; Isaiah 6:1-4). God is utterly transcendent, good, righteous, and opposed to all sin and evil. God’s love is holy, God’s holiness is loving, and the Lord Jesus Christ is the fullest expression of God’s whole character. (Hebrews 1:3; John 1:18; 17:21; Colossians 1:19)
“THE FATHER ALMIGHTY”
40. Who is God the Father?
God the Father is the first Person of the Holy Trinity, from whom the Son is eternally begotten and the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds. (John 1:1, 14; 14:16-17, 26; 15:26, Nicene Creed)
41. Why do you call the first of the three divine Persons “Father?”
Our Lord Jesus called God “Father” and taught his disciples to do the same, and St. Paul teaches that God adopts believers as his children and heirs in Christ, sending his Holy Spirit into our hearts crying “Abba, Father.” (Matthew 6:9; Romans 8:15-17; Galatians 4:4-7).
42. What do you mean when you call God “Father?”
When I call God “Father,” I acknowledge that I was created by God for relationship with him, that God made me in his image, that I trust in God as my Protector and Provider, and that I put my hope in God as his child and heir in Christ. (Genesis1:26, Matthew 6:25-33; Romans 8:16-17)
43. Why do you say that God the Father is “Almighty?”
I call the Father “Almighty” because he has power over everything and accomplishes everything he wills. Together with his Son and Holy Spirit, the Father is all-knowing and ever present in every place. (I Chronicles 29:10-13; Psalm 139)
“CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH”
44. Why do you call God the Father “Creator?”
I call God the Father “Creator” because he is the sole designer and originator of everything that exists. He creates and sustains all things through his Word, and gives life to all creatures through his Spirit. (Genesis 1; 2:7; Job 33:4; John 1:1-3; Hebrews 1:3)
45. How does recognizing God as Creator affect your understanding of his creation?
I acknowledge that God made for his own glory everything that exists. He created human beings in his image, male and female, to serve him as creation’s stewards, managers and caretakers. He entrusts his good creation to us as a gift to enjoy and a responsibility to fulfill. (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:15; Revelation 4:11)
46. What does it mean that God made both heaven and earth?
It means that all things, whether visible or invisible, physical or spiritual, were brought into being out of nothing by the Word of the eternal God. (Genesis 1:1)
47. If God made the world good, why do I sin?
Adam and Eve rebelled against God, thus bringing into the world pain, fruitless toil, alienation from God and each other, and death. I have inherited a fallen and corrupted human nature, and I too sin and fall short of God’s glory. (Genesis 3, Romans 3:23; 5:12)
48. How does sin affect you?
The God-opposing, self-centered power of sin, which is present in all people, corrupts me and my relationship with God, with others and with creation. Because of sin and apart from Christ, I am spiritually dead, separated from God, under his righteous condemnation, and without hope. (Genesis 3; Ephesians 2:1-3; Galatians 5:19-21)
ARTICLE II: FAITH IN CHRIST
“I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST HIS ONLY SON”
49. Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ is the eternal Word and Son of God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity. He took on human flesh to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world, the only Mediator between God and fallen mankind. (1 Timothy 2:5; John 1:14; 14:6; 1 Peter 1:18-19)
50. What does “Jesus” mean?
“Jesus” means “God saves” and is taken from the Hebrew name Yeshua or Joshua. In Jesus, God has come to save us from the power of sin and death. (Matthew 1:21)
51. What does “Christ” mean?
Christos is a Greek word meaning “Anointed One.” Old Testament kings, priests and prophets were anointed with oil. Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit to perfectly fulfill these roles and he rules now as God’s prophet, priest, and king over his Church and all creation. (Acts 10:38)
52. Why is Jesus called the Father’s “only Son?”
Jesus alone is God the Son, co-equal and co-eternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. He alone is the image of the invisible Father, the one who makes the Father known. He is now and forever will be incarnate as a human, bearing his God-given human name. The Father created and now rules all things in heaven and earth “through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:1-5; John 1:18)
53. What do you mean when you call Jesus Christ “Lord?”
I acknowledge Jesus’ authority over the Church and all creation, over all societies and their rulers, and over every aspect of my personal, social, professional, recreational, and family life. I surrender my life to him and seek to live every part of my life in a way that pleases him. (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:21-22; Luke 9:23-26)
“HE WAS CONCEIVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT AND BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY”
54. How was Jesus conceived by the Holy Spirit?
Through the creative power of the Holy Spirit, the eternal Son assumed a fully human nature from his mother, the Virgin Mary, in personal union with his fully divine nature at the moment of conception in Mary’s womb. (Luke l:34-35)
55. Was Mary the only human parent of Jesus?
Yes. Mary is held in honor, for she submitted to the will of God and bore the Son of God as her own son. However, after God told Joseph of Mary’s miraculous conception, Joseph took Mary as his wife and they raised Jesus as their son. (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38, 2:48)
56. What is the relationship between Jesus’ humanity and his divinity?
Jesus is both fully and truly God, and fully and truly human. The divine and human natures of Jesus’ Person may be distinguished but can never be separated, changed or confused. All that Jesus does as a human being, he also does as God; and before he ever became human, he was eternally living and active within the unity of the Holy Trinity. (John 1:1-2; 5:18; 10:30; 14:8-9; Luke 2:7; Definition of Chalcedon)
“HE SUFFERED UNDER PONTIUS PILATE”
57. Why did Jesus suffer?
Jesus suffered for our sins so that we could have peace with God, as prophesied in the Old Testament: “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
58. In what ways did Jesus suffer?
On earth, the incarnate Son shared physically, mentally and spiritually in the temptations and sufferings common to all people. In his agony and desolation on the cross, he suffered in my place for my sins and, in so doing, displayed the self-denial I am called to embrace for his sake. (Hebrews 4:14-5:10; Mark 8:34-38; Philippians 2:5)
59. Why does the Creed say that Jesus suffered under the Roman governor Pontius Pilate?
The Creed thus makes clear that Jesus’ life and death were real events that occurred at a particular time and place in Judea in the first century A.D. (Matthew 27:22-26)
“WAS CRUCIFIED, DIED, AND WAS BURIED. HE DESCENDED TO THE DEAD”
60. What does Jesus’ crucifixion mean?
It means that Jesus was executed as a common criminal. He was scourged, mocked, and nailed to a cross outside the walls of Jerusalem. Though humanly a miscarriage of justice, his execution fulfilled God’s plan that Jesus would bear my sins and die the death that I deserve, so that I could be saved from sin and eternal condemnation and reconciled to God. (Matthew 20:28; 27:32-37; Romans 5:10-11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
61. Why does the Creed make a point of saying that Jesus died?
The Creed makes the point to emphasize that Jesus died a real, bodily death such as all people face because of our sins. (Matthew 27:45-51)
62. Why does the Creed emphasize Jesus’ death in this way?
The Creed emphasizes Jesus’ death to counter suspicions that Jesus did not truly die on the cross, to celebrate the fact that He died there to secure our salvation, and to prepare our minds to grasp the glory of his bodily resurrection.
63. What does the Creed mean by saying that Jesus descended to the dead?
That Jesus descended to the dead means that he truly died; his spirit did not remain with his body, but entered the realm of death. (1 Peter 3:19)
“ON THE THIRD DAY HE ROSE AGAIN”
64. What does the Creed mean when it affirms that Jesus rose again from the dead?
It means that Jesus was not simply resuscitated; God restored him physically from death to life in his perfected and glorious body, never to die again. His tomb was empty; Jesus had risen bodily from the dead. The risen Jesus was seen by his apostles and hundreds of other witnesses. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
65. What kind of earthly life did Jesus have after he rose from the dead?
Following his resurrection, Jesus spent forty days visiting and teaching his followers. He appeared to his disciples, spoke to them, invited them to touch him and see his scars, and ate with them. (John 20:19-23; Luke 24:13-49; Acts 1:3)
“HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN”
66. How should you understand Jesus’ ascension into heaven?
Jesus was taken up out of human sight, and returned in his humanity to the glory he had shared with the Father before his incarnation. There he intercedes for his people and receives into heavenly life all who have faith in him. Though absent in body, Jesus is always with me by his Spirit and hears me when I pray. (John 17:5; Acts 1:1-11)
67. What is the result of the Ascension?
Jesus ascended into heaven so that, through him, his Father might send us the gift of the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, Christians are united as Christ’s Body on earth to Jesus, our ascended and living Head, and in him to one another. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 27; Ephesians 4:15-16; John 14:15-29, 15:5-9)
“AND IS SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER”
68. What does it mean for Jesus to sit at God the Father’s right hand?
The throne on the monarch’s right was traditionally the seat for the chief executive in the kingdom. Ruling with his Father in heaven, Jesus is Lord over the Church and all creation, with authority to equip his Church, advance his Kingdom, bring sinners into saving fellowship with God the Father, and finally to establish justice and peace upon the earth. (Isaiah 9:6-7; 32:16-18; Ephesians 1:22; 4:11-12; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 5:9-10)
69. What does Jesus do for you as he sits at the Father’s right hand?
Noting my needs and receiving my prayers, Jesus intercedes for me as our great high priest. Through Jesus and in his name, I am now granted access to the Father when I make my confessions, praises, thanksgivings and requests to him. (Hebrews 7:23-25)
70. How does your knowledge of Jesus’ heavenly ministry affect your life today?
I can rely on Jesus always to be present with me as he promised, and I should always look to him for help as I seek to serve him. (Matthew 28:20)
“HE WILL COME AGAIN TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD.”
71. What does the Creed mean when it says, “He will come again?”
Jesus promised that he would return (Luke 21:27-28). His coming in victory with great glory and power will be seen by all people and will bring this age to an end. The present world order will pass away and God will usher in a fully renewed creation to stand forever. All the saints will be together with God at that time. (2 Peter 3:12-13; Revelation 21:1-4)
72. When should you expect Jesus’ return?
Jesus taught that only the Father knows the actual day of his return. God patiently waits for many to repent and trust in him for new life; yet Jesus will return unexpectedly, and could return at any moment. (Matthew 24:36-44; 2 Peter 3:9)
73. What should be your attitude as you await Jesus’ return?
I should anticipate with joy the return of Jesus as the completion of my salvation. The promise of his return encourages me to seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to live a holy life, and to share the hope of new life in Christ with others. (Titus 2:11-14)
74. How should you understand Jesus’ future judgment?
When the Lord Jesus Christ returns, the world as we know it will come to an end. All that is wrong will be made right. All people who have died will be resurrected and, together with those still living, will be judged by Jesus. Then each person will receive either eternal rejection and punishment, or eternal blessing and welcome into the fullness of life with God. (Matthew 25:31-46)
75. How should you live in light of Jesus’ coming return for judgment?
Because I do not know when Jesus will come, I must be ready to stand before him each and every day of my life, I should eagerly seek to make him known to others, and I should encourage and support the whole Church, as best I can, to live in readiness for his return. (Matthew 25:1-13)
76. Should you be afraid of God's judgment?
The unrepentant should fear God's judgment, for “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness,” but for those who are in Christ, there is no condemnation. I have no reason to fear the coming judgment, for my Judge is my Savior Jesus Christ, who loves me, died for me, and intercedes for me. (Romans 1:18; 8:1, 31-34)
77. What does Scripture mean when it tells you to fear God?
It means that I should live mindful of his presence, walking in humility as his creature, resisting sin, obeying his commandments, and reverencing him for his holiness, majesty, and power. (Exodus 20:20; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 8:13; 9:10)
78. Should you pass judgment on sinners or non-Christians?
No. God alone judges those outside the Church. The Church may proclaim God's condemnation of sin and may exercise godly discipline over members who are unrepentant; but I am called only to judge between right and wrong, to judge myself in the light of God's holiness, and to repent of my sins. (Matthew 7:1-5, 1 Corinthians 5:12-13; 11:31)
79. How do you judge yourself?
With the help of the Holy Spirit, I judge myself by examining my conscience. I may use the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, or other equivalent Scriptures, as well as godly counsel, to help me see my sins. (Exodus 20:1-17, Matthew 5:1-11)
80. How does the Church exercise its authority to judge?
A priest, acting under the authority of the bishop, may bar a person from receiving communion because of unrepented sin, or because of enmity with another member of the congregation, until there is clear proof of repentance and amendment of life. But the authority Christ gave to his Church is more often exercised by declaring God's forgiveness in absolution. (Matthew 16:19)
ARTICLE III: FAITH IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
“I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT”
81. Who is the Holy Spirit?
God the Holy Spirit is the third Person in the one Being of the Holy Trinity, co-equal and co-eternal with God the Father and God the Son, and equally worthy of our honor and worship. (Luke 11:13; John 14:26; 16:7)
82. What principal names does the New Testament give to the Holy Spirit?
Jesus names the Holy Spirit “Paraclete” (the one alongside). This signifies Comforter, Guide, Counselor, Advocate, and Helper. Other names for the Holy Spirit are Spirit of God, Spirit of the Father, Spirit of Christ, and Spirit of Truth. (John 14:15-17; Matthew 10:20; Romans 8:9)
83. What are the particular ministries of the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit imparts life in all its forms throughout God’s creation, unites believers to Jesus Christ, indwells each believer, convicts believers of sin, applies the saving work of Jesus to the believer’s life, guides the Church into truth, fills and empowers believers through spiritual fruit and gifts given to the Church, and gives understanding of the Scripture which He inspired. (2 Peter 1:21; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7-15)
84. How does the Holy Spirit relate to you?
Jesus Christ sends the Holy Spirit to make Jesus known to me, to indwell and empower me in Christ, to bear witness that I am a child of God, to guide me into all truth, and to stir my heart continually to worship and to pray. (John 16:12-15; Romans 8:15, 26; Ephesians 1:17-19)
85. How do you receive the Holy Spirit?
The Scriptures teach that, through repenting and being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, I am forgiven my sins, indwelled from then on by the Holy Spirit, given new life in Christ by the Spirit, and freed from the power of sin so that I can be filled with the Holy Spirit. (John 3:1-7; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:14; Ephesians 5:18)
86. What is the fruit of the Holy Spirit?
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is the very character of Jesus developing in us through the work of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
87. What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit?
The manifold gifts of the Holy Spirit include faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, other languages, the interpretation of other languages, administration, service, encouragement, giving, leadership, mercy and others. The Spirit gives these to individuals as he wills. (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; 27-31; Ephesians 4:7-10)
88. Why does the Holy Spirit give these gifts?
The Holy Spirit equips and empowers each believer for service in the worship of Jesus Christ, for the building up of his Church, and for witness and mission to the world. (Ephesians 4:12-16)
“THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH”
89. What is the Church?
The Church is the whole community of faithful Christians in heaven and on earth. The Church on earth gathers in local congregations to worship in Word and Sacrament, to serve God according to the Scriptures, and to proclaim the Gospel, under the leadership of those whom God appoints for this purpose. (Articles of Religion, 19; Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Peter 2:9)
90. How does the New Testament teach you to view the Church?
The New Testament teaches me to view the Church as God’s covenant people and family, as the body and bride of Christ, and as the temple where God in Christ dwells by his Spirit. (John 1:12; 1 Peter 2:9-10; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 6:16b-7:1; Revelation 19:6-10; 21:9-10)
91. Why is the Church called the Body of Christ?
The Church is called the Body of Christ because all who belong to the Church are united to Christ as their Head and source of life, and are united to one another in Christ for mutual love and service to him. (1 Corinthians 12: 12-27)
92. What are the “marks” or characteristics of the Church?
The Nicene Creed expands on the Apostles’ Creed to list four characteristics of the Church: it is “one, holy, catholic and apostolic” (see Articles of Religion, 8).
93. In what sense is the Church “one?”
The Church is one because all its members form the one Body of Christ, having “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.” The Church is called to express this unity in all relationships between believers. (Ephesians 4:5-6)
94. Why is the Church called “holy?”
The Church is holy because the Holy Spirit dwells in it and sanctifies its members, setting them apart to God in Christ, and calling them to moral and spiritual holiness of life.
95. Why is the Church called “catholic?”
The term “catholic” means “according to the whole.” The Church is called “catholic” because it holds the whole faith once for all delivered to the saints, and maintains continuity with the apostolic Church throughout time and space.
96. Why is the Church called “apostolic”?
An apostle is one who is sent. The Church is called apostolic because we hold the faith of Christ’s first Apostles; because we are in continuity with them; and because we, like them, are sent by Christ to proclaim the Gospel and to make disciples throughout the whole world. (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 9:1-6)
“THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS”
97. Who are the saints?
The saints are all those in heaven and on earth who have faith in Christ, are set apart to God in Christ, are made holy by his grace, and live faithfully in him and for him. (Ephesians 1:1; Revelation 7:9-15)
98. What does the word “communion” mean?
The word “communion” means being “one with” someone else in union and unity. Christians use it to refer to the relationship of the three Persons within the one being of God, to our union with all three Persons through our union with Christ, and to our relationship with one another in Christ. (John 17:20-21)
99. What is the “communion of the saints?”
The communion of the saints is the unity and fellowship of all those united in one Body and one Spirit in Holy Baptism, both those on earth and those in heaven. (Ephesians 4:4-5, Hebrews 12:1).
100. How is the communion of the saints practiced?
It is practiced by mutual love, care and service, and by worshiping together where the word of the Gospel is preached and the sacraments of the Gospel are administered.
101. How are the Church on earth and the Church in Heaven joined?
All the worship of the Church on earth is a participating in the eternal worship of the Church in heaven. (Hebrews 12:22-24)
102. What is a sacrament?
A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. God gives us the sign as a means whereby we receive that grace, and as a tangible assurance that we do in fact receive it. (1662 Catechism)
103. How should you receive the sacraments?
I should receive the sacraments by faith in Christ, with repentance and thanksgiving. Faith in Christ is necessary to receive grace, and obedience to Christ is necessary for the benefits of the sacraments to bear fruit in my life. (1662 Catechism; Articles of Religion, 28)
104. What are the sacraments of the Gospel?
The two sacraments ordained by Christ, which are generally necessary for our salvation, are Baptism and Holy Communion, which is also known as the Lord’s Supper or the Holy Eucharist. (Articles of Religion, 25)
105. What is the outward and visible sign in Baptism?
The outward and visible sign is water, in which candidates are baptized “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” – the name of the Triune God to whom the candidate is being committed. (1662 Catechism, 1 Peter 3:21; Matthew 28:19)
106. What is the inward and spiritual grace set forth in Baptism?
The inward and spiritual grace set forth is a death to sin and a new birth to righteousness, through union with Christ in his death and resurrection. I am born a sinner by nature, separated from God, but in baptism, rightly received, I am made God’s child by grace through faith in Christ. (John 3:3-5; Romans 6:1-11; Ephesians 2:12; Galatians 3:27-29)
107. What is required of you when you come to be baptized?
Repentance, in which I turn away from sin; and faith, in which I turn to Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord and embrace the promises that God makes to me in this sacrament. (Acts 2:38)
108. Why is it appropriate to baptize infants?
Because it is a sign of God’s promise that they are embraced in the covenant community of Christ’s Church. Those who in faith and repentance present infants to be baptized vow to raise them in the knowledge and fear of the Lord, with the expectation that they will one day profess full Christian faith as their own. (Acts 2:39)
109. What signs of the Holy Spirit’s work do you hope and pray to see as a result of your baptism?
I hope and pray that the Holy Spirit who indwells me will help me to be an active member of my Christian community, participate in worship, continually repent and return to God, proclaim the faith, love and serve my neighbor, and strive for justice and peace. (Hebrews 10:25; 12:14; 1 Peter 3:15; 1 John 1:9; 2:1)
110. Why did Christ institute the sacrament of Holy Communion?
He instituted it for the continued remembrance of the sacrifice of his atoning death, and to convey the benefits the faithful receive through that sacrifice. (Luke 22:17-20; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17)
111. What is the outward and visible sign in Holy Communion?
The visible sign is bread and wine, which Christ commands us to receive. (1 Corinthians 11:23)
112. What is the inward and spiritual thing signified?
The spiritual thing signified is the body and blood of Christ, which are truly taken and received in the Lord’s Supper by faith. (1 Corinthians 10:16-18; 11:27; John 6:52-56)
113. What benefits do you receive through partaking of this sacrament?
As my body is nourished by the bread and wine, I receive the strengthening and refreshing of my soul by the body and blood of Christ; and I receive the strengthening and refreshing of the love and unity I share with fellow Christians, with whom I am united in the one Body of Christ. (1662 Catechism)
114. What is required of you when you come to receive Holy Communion?
I am to examine myself as to whether I truly repent of my sins and intend to lead the new life in Christ; whether I have a living faith in God’s mercy through Christ and remember his atoning death with a thankful heart; and whether I have shown love and forgiveness to all people. (1 Corinthians 11:27-32)
115. What is expected of you when you have shared in Holy Communion?
Having been renewed in my union with Christ and his people through sharing in the Supper, I should continue to live in holiness, avoiding sin, showing love and forgiveness to all, and serving others in gratitude.
116. Are there other sacraments?
Other rites and institutions commonly called sacraments include confirmation, absolution, ordination, marriage, and anointing of the sick. These are sometimes called the sacraments of the Church.
117. How do these differ from the sacraments of the Gospel?
They are not commanded by Christ as necessary for salvation, but arise from the practice of the apostles and the early Church, or are states of life blessed by God from creation. God clearly uses them as means of grace.
118. What is confirmation?
After making a mature commitment to my baptismal covenant with God, I receive the laying on of the bishop’s hands with prayer. (Acts 8:14-17; 19:6)
119. What grace does God give you in confirmation?
In confirmation, God strengthens the work of the Holy Spirit in me for his daily increase in my Christian life and ministry. (Acts 8:14-17; 19:6)
120. What is absolution?
After repenting and confessing my sins to God in the presence of a priest, the priest declares God’s forgiveness to me with authority given by God. (John 20:22-23; James 5:15-16)
121. What grace does God give to you in absolution?
In absolution, God conveys to me his pardon through the cross, thus declaring to me reconciliation and peace with him, and bestowing upon me the assurance of his grace and salvation.
122. What is ordination?
Through prayer and the laying on of the bishop’s hands, ordination consecrates, authorizes, and empowers persons called to serve Christ and his Church in the ministry of Word and Sacrament. (1 Timothy 1:5; 5:22; Acts 6:6)
123. What grace does God give in ordination?
In ordination, God confirms the gifts and calling of the candidates, conveys the gift of the Holy Spirit for the office and work of bishop, priest or deacon, and sets them apart to act on behalf of the Church and in the name of Christ.
The work of bishops is to represent and serve Christ and the Church as chief pastors, to lead in preaching and teaching the faith and in shepherding the faithful, to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church, and to bless, confirm and ordain, thus following in the tradition of the Apostles. (Titus 1:7-9; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Acts 20:28)
The work of priests, serving Christ under their bishops, is to nurture congregations through the full ministry of the Word preached and Sacraments rightly administered, and to pronounce absolution and blessing in God’s name. (Titus 1:5; 1 Peter 5:1)
1 Timothy 3:8-13
128. What is marriage?
Marriage is a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman, binding both to self-giving love and exclusive fidelity. In the rite of Christian marriage, the couple exchange vows to uphold this covenant. They do this before God and in the presence of witnesses, who pray that God will bless their life together. (Genesis 2:23-24; Matthew 19; Mark 10:2-9; Romans 7:2-3; 1 Corinthians 7:39)
129. What is signified in marriage?
The covenantal union of man and woman in marriage signifies the communion between Christ, the heavenly bridegroom, and the Church, his holy bride. Not all are called to marriage, but all Christians are wedded to Christ and blessed by the grace God gives in marriage. (Ephesians 5:31-32)
130. What grace does God give in marriage?
In Christian marriage, God establishes and blesses the covenant between husband and wife, and joins them to live together in a communion of love, faithfulness and peace within the fellowship of Christ and his Church. God enables all married people to grow in love, wisdom and godliness through a common life patterned on the sacrificial love of Christ.
131. What is the anointing of the sick?
Through prayer and anointing with oil, the minister invokes God’s blessing upon those suffering in body, mind, or spirit. (Matthew 10:8; James 5:14-16).
132. What grace does God give in the anointing of the sick?
As God wills, the healing given through anointing may bring bodily recovery from illness, peace of mind or spirit, and strength to persevere in adversity, especially in preparation for death.
“THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS”
133. What are sins?
A sin is any desire or disobedient act that arises out of the fallen condition of my human nature and falls short, either by commission or omission, of perfect conformity to God’s revealed will. (1 John 3:4)
134. How does God respond to human sin?
All sin is opposed to the holiness of God, and is therefore subject to God’s condemnation But God in his mercy offers forgiveness and salvation from sin to all people through the reconciling life, death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ. (Matthew 26:28; Romans 1:18-2:4; 6:6-11)
135. How does God forgive your sins?
By virtue of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, God sets aside my sins, accepts me, and adopts me as his child and heir in Jesus Christ. Loving me as his child, he forgives my sins whenever I turn to him in repentance and faith. (2 Corinthians 5:16-18)
136. How should you respond to God’s forgiveness?
As I live in the grace of God’s constant forgiveness, so I should live in constant thanks and praise to him; and as I have been loved and forgiven, so I should love and forgive without limit those who sin against me. (Matthew 6:12; 18:22)
137. What is grace?
Grace is the gift of the triune God's love, mercy, and help, which he freely gives to us who, because of our sin, deserve only condemnation. (Acts 20:32; Romans 3:24; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Ephesians 1:6-7)
138. Does God give his grace only to Christians?
No. God graciously provides for all people; “he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). However, he shows his saving grace by bringing to faith in Christ those who are far from him. (Romans 5:1-11).
139. For what purpose does God give you grace?
God gives me grace in Christ for the forgiveness of my sins, the healing of sin's effects, growth in holiness, preservation through death and judgment, and my ultimate transformation into the image of Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:16-18; Ephesians 2:2-10)
140. Is God's grace only for your religious or spiritual life?
No. God cares about my whole life, and his grace in Christ is at work in every aspect of it. (1 Corinthians 10:13; Romans 8:28)
141. Can you earn God's grace?
No. God gives his grace freely, and enables me to receive it. Everything I do should be in response to God's love and grace made known in Christ, for “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8), and “we love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
“THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY”
142. How should you think of the human body?
My body is the good and God-given means of my experience, expression, enjoyment, love and service within God’s good creation. But sin and death now infect this world, and my body will degenerate and die. (Genesis 1:26-31; 3:19)
143. Where do you go after you die?
When I die, my body will perish but, by the will of God, my soul will live on, awaiting resurrection and final judgment. (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)
144. What is the resurrection of the body?
When Jesus appears on judgment day, he will bring all the dead back to bodily life, the wicked to judgment and the righteous to eternal life in the glory of God. (John 5:25-29; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)
145. What do you know about the resurrected bodies of believers?
I know that they will match, express and serve our redeemed humanity, and be fully renewed in the image of Christ, being fully glorified in him. (2 Peter 1:4)
146. How does the promise of bodily resurrection affect the way you live today?
Because my body was created good by God and is redeemed by him, I should honor it. I should refrain from any violence, disrespect or sin that would harm, demean or violate either my body or the bodies of others. (Romans 12)
“AND THE LIFE EVERLASTING.”
147. What do you know about the unending life of believers, following judgment day?
I know that it will be a life of joyful fellowship with our triune God and with resurrected believers, as we praise and serve God together in the new heaven and the new earth. (Revelation 21:1-4)
148. How should you live in light of this promise of unending life?
I should live in joyful expectation of the fullness of my transformation, soul and body, into the likeness of Christ, as a part of the renewal of the whole creation. In the midst of life’s difficulty and suffering, and in the face of hostility and persecution for my faith, I am sustained by this hope and the knowledge of our triune God’s eternal love for me.
PART III: BEING CHRIST’S
THE CHRISTIAN LIFE AND THE LORD’S PRAYER
The Gospel is God’s invitation to all people to come to know him, to spend this present life getting to know him better, and to love and serve him as members of his redeemed family. Thus we prepare for eternal life with God. For all Christians, therefore, communing with God becomes life’s central activity. Accordingly, once basic Christian beliefs have been set forth and learned, the next catechetical task is to explore the path of prayer. This is our God-given way of responding to the knowledge of God and his desires and purposes for us: entering through prayer into direct fellowship with him.
Christian prayer is best understood as our personal response to God’s Word. “O Lord, Thou didst strike my heart with Thy Word and I loved Thee,” St. Augustine wrote. Just as Anglican worship begins with the reading of Scripture followed by prayers, so our daily rule of life is to be patterned on Bible reading and prayer.
Prayer takes two primary forms. On the one hand, we speak to God on our own, apart from human company, as our Savior directed in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:6). On the other hand, we also pray in company, as part of a worshipping congregation, in any group that meets for prayer, and ideally also with family and friends. Here are two proven patterns for daily prayer: The first pattern is to follow, in whole or in part, the Morning and Evening prayer services prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer (the Daily Office). Many Anglicans do this. The second pattern, also widely used, is to follow the path marked out by the acronym ACTS – Adoration (of God, the Father, the Son and the Spirit); Confession (of sin); Thanksgiving (for all the good things received that day and every day, for answers to prayer, for blessings given to others); and Supplication (asking God to guide, help and protect oneself and others, and to supply specific needs).
Periodic use of the Litany in the Book of Common Prayer will be of great benefit. Benefit will also come from constant silent utterance throughout the day of the so-called “Jesus Prayer”—“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” This is one of many ways of recognizing the caring presence of the Father and the Son, who are with us at all times through the agency of the Holy Spirit. The exhortation to be constant in prayer is given by St Paul in several places in his epistles (see, for instance, Ephesians 6:18), and he instructs us to rely on the assistance of the Holy Spirit, who teaches and helps us to pray (Romans 8:26-27).
All these realities of prayer are rooted in what is called the Lord’s Prayer, the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples on two different occasions in slightly varying form (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4). It is called “the Lord’s” because, like many Jewish rabbis, the Lord Jesus was giving his followers a prayer that would show that they were his disciples. In our survey of the Christian life as a life of prayer, the Lord’s Prayer is set at the center, as it has been in catechetical presentations of Christian prayer since Christianity began.
149. What is prayer?
Prayer is turning my heart toward
God, to converse with him in worship. (Psalm 122, 123)
150. What should you seek in prayer?
In prayer I should seek the joy of fellowship with God, who made me for fellowship with him. (1 Chronicles 16:28-30; Psalm 96; John 17; Revelation 22:17)
151. What is fellowship with God?
Fellowship with God in prayer is relating to him as his children, as we approach the light and glory of his throne. (Revelation 7:9-17)
152. How can you have fellowship with God?
Through the death of Jesus as both High Priest and sacrifice, and in his Holy Spirit, I have fellowship with God in Word, Sacrament, and prayer. (Hebrews 4:16; 1 John 1:1-4)
153. Why should you pray?
I should pray, first, because God calls me so to do; second, because I desire to know God and be known by him; third, because I need the grace and consolation of the Holy Spirit; and fourth, because God responds to the prayers of his people. (Luke 11:13)
154. What should you pray?
In addition to my own prayers, I should pray the Lord’s Prayer, the Psalms, and the collected prayers of the Church.
155. When should you pray?
I should pray morning, noon, and night, and whenever I am aware of my need for God’s special grace. And I should learn “to pray without ceasing” as I grow in knowledge of God’s nearness. (Psalm 55:17; Daniel 6:10-13; Matthew 15:21-28; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Hebrews 4:16)
The Lord’s Prayer
156. What is the prayer our Lord taught his disciples to pray?
The traditional version of the Lord’s Prayer is:
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
157. Why should you pray the Lord’s Prayer?
I should pray the Lord’s Prayer because Christ in the gospels teaches it to his disciples, as both a practice and a pattern for fellowship with God the Father. (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4)
158. How is the Lord’s Prayer a practice for all prayer?
When I pray the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus is training me to pray according to his Father’s will; so I should employ the prayer constantly. (1 John 5:14-15; Luke 11:2)
159. How does the Lord’s Prayer give you a pattern for prayer?
The Lord’s Prayer models the primary elements of fellowship with God: praise of God, acceptance of his rule and will, petition for his provision, confession of my sins (here called trespasses), forgiveness of others, avoidance of sin, and God’s protection from evil and Satan. I should pray regularly about these things in my own words. (Matthew 6:9)
160. What are the parts of the Lord’s Prayer?
The Lord’s Prayer begins with an address, makes seven petitions, adds a doxology, and concludes with “Amen.”
161. Describe the order of the petitions in the Lord’s Prayer.
As in the Ten Commandments, God’s
Glory, Name, and Kingdom precede any petitions for our personal well-being.
162. How do you address God in this prayer?
As Jesus taught his disciples to call upon God, I pray, “Our Father, Who art in heaven.”
163. Who may call God Father?
All who are adopted as God’s children through faith and baptism in Christ may call him Father. (John 1:12-13)
164. If prayer is personal, why do you not say “my” Father?
The Lord Jesus teaches God’s children always to think of themselves as living members of his Body, God’s family of believers, and to pray accordingly.
165. How is God like earthly fathers?
Like all loving and sincere earthly fathers, God loves, teaches, and disciplines us, observing our needs and frailties, and planning for our maturity, security, and well-being. (Psalm 103:12-14)
166. How is God unlike earthly fathers?
Unlike our natural fathers, our heavenly Father is perfect in his love, almighty in his care, makes no errors in judgment, and disciplines us only for our good. (Hebrews 12:4-11)
167. What is heaven?
Heaven is the realm of God’s glory, presence, and power, which exists alongside this earthly realm, and from which he hears the prayers of his children. (1 Kings 8; Isaiah 61-6; Revelation 21:1-5a)
168. If your Father is in heaven, can he help you on earth?
Yes. God is everywhere, and as my almighty Father in heaven, he is able and willing to answer my prayers. (Psalm 99; Isaiah 6; Ephesians 3:20, 4:6)
The First Petition
169. What is the First Petition?
The First Petition is: “Hallowed be Thy Name.”
170. What is God’s Name?
God’s Name refers to his personal being – his nature, his character, his power, and his purposes. The Name God reveals to Moses is “I AM WHO I AM” or simply “I AM” (Exodus 3:6, 14). This Name means that he alone is truly God, he is the source of his own being, he is holy and just, and he cannot be measured or defined by his creatures.
171. Does God have other names?
Yes. Through the person and ministry of Jesus Christ, God’s Name is also revealed to be “the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
172. What does “hallowed” mean?
Hallowed means to be treated as holy, set apart, and sacred. To hallow God’s name is to honor him as holy.
173. How can you hallow God’s name?
God is King of all the earth, and I pray that all people everywhere may revere and worship him, according to his revelation in Christ and the Holy Scriptures. (Psalms 2; 24; 47; 96; 99; Isaiah 40:12-20; John 14:8-9; Acts 4:8-12; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Revelation 1, 21:9ff.)
174. How does God answer this petition?
God gives grace that I may honor his holy Name and Word in private and public worship, and he enables me to walk humbly with him, my God. (Micah 6:8; Matthew 28:18-20)
175. How else can you hallow God’s Name?
I can hallow God’s Name in word and deed by living an obedient and ordered life as his child, as a citizen of his Kingdom, and as one who seeks his glory. (Hebrews 13:15-16)
The Second Petition
176. What is the Second Petition?
The Second Petition is: “Thy Kingdom come.”
177. What is the Kingdom?
The Kingdom of God is his reign over all the world and in the hearts of his people through the powerful and effective operation of his Holy Spirit. (Matthew 12:28; Romans 8:12-17; Galatians 4:6-7)
178. When you pray for God’s Kingdom to come, what do you desire?
I pray that the whole creation may enjoy full restoration to its rightful Lord. (Romans 8:22-25; Philippians 2:9-11)
179. How does God’s Kingdom come?
God’s Kingdom, which was foreshadowed in the Old Testament, was founded in Christ’s incarnation, established with his ascension, advances with the fulfilling of the Great Commission, and will be completed when Christ delivers it to God the Father at the end of time. (2 Chronicles 7:1-4; Matthew 10:5-8; 28:18-20; Luke 24:1-12; Acts 1:6-11; 1 Corinthians 15:19-28)
180. How do you live in God’s Kingdom?
My Kingdom life as a Christian consists of living with joy, hope, and peace as a child of God, a citizen of heaven, and a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. (Romans 14:17; Ephesians 4-6; Colossians 1:13-14; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:11)
The Third Petition
181. What is the Third Petition?
The Third Petition is: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
182. How is God’s will accomplished in heaven?
The heavenly company of angels and perfected believers responds to God in perfect, willing obedience, and perfect worship. (Psalms 103:20; 104:4; 148:2)
183. Where can you find God’s will?
I find the will of God outlined in the Ten Commandments, learn its fullness from the whole of Scripture, and see it culminate in the Law of Christ, which calls for my complete love of God and my neighbor. (Deuteronomy 29:29; Psalms 119:1-16, 104-105; Proverbs 4; John 13:34; Acts 7:51-53; Galatians 6:2)
184. How is God’s will accomplished on earth?
God’s Kingdom comes whenever and wherever God’s will is done. As the Church aims to hallow God’s Name and seek first his Kingdom, it should lead the way in wholehearted obedience to God in Christ, and I should join and support the Church in this. (Psalm 119:176; Matthew 5-7; Ephesians 1:11; Daily Office Prayer of St. John Chrysostom)
185. What more do you seek in the third petition?
In the third petition I also pray for God to counter the dominion of the world, the flesh, and the Devil in my own soul; to thwart the plans of wicked people; and to extend the Kingdom of his grace to others through me. (Baptismal Service; Acts 1:8; 1 John 2:15-17, Galatians 5:16-21, 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Timothy 2:4)
The Fourth Petition
186. For what personal blessings does the second half of the Lord’s Prayer teach you to ask?
As a loyal child of God I pray first for God’s honor, Kingdom, and will; then I pray for my own needs of daily bread, pardon for sins, and protection from evil.
187. What is the Fourth Petition?
The Fourth Petition is: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
188. What does “our daily bread” mean?
Daily bread includes all that is needed for personal well-being, such as food and clothing, homes and families, work and health, friends and neighbors, and peace and godly governance. (Matthew 6:8; Luke 11:12; 1 Timothy 2:1-2)
189. Why should you pray for bread daily?
God wishes me to trust him every day to supply my needs for that day. (Proverbs 30:7-9; Matthew 6:24-34; Philippians 4:6)
190. Why does God give you daily bread?
God gives me daily bread because he is a good and loving Father, and I should thank him for it morning, noon, and night. (Psalms 81:10, 16; 103; Daniel 6:10)
The Fifth Petition
191. What is the Fifth Petition?
The Fifth Petition is: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
192. What are trespasses?
A trespass is a thought, word, or deed contrary to God’s holy character and Law, missing the mark of his will and expectations. (Romans 3:23)
193. Have you trespassed against God’s Law?
Yes. Together with all mankind, I sin daily against God’s Law in thought, word, and deed, and love neither him nor my neighbor as I should. (Jeremiah 2:12-14; Romans 1:18-24; 3:23)
194. What is God’s forgiveness?
God’s forgiveness is his merciful removal of the guilt of sin that results from our disobedience. (Isaiah 1:18; 52:13-53:12; Ephesians 1:3-14; Colossians 2:13-14)
195. On what basis do you ask forgiveness?
I ask God to forgive all my sins through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, which was completed for me on the cross and is given to me through faith and Baptism. (Acts 2:38; Romans 5:17; Colossians 2:9-12; 1 John 1:9-10)
196. Does God forgive your sins?
Yes. God freely forgives the sins of all who ask him in true repentance and faith, and that includes me. (Leviticus 6:6-8; Matthew 11:28-30; John 6:37, 40, 51; 7:37; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Hebrews 7:25)
197. Do you forgive others as fully as God forgives you?
Following the example of my Lord Jesus, I seek constantly to forgive those who sin against me. (Matthew 18:21-35; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60; Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
198. Why should you forgive others?
I should forgive others because while I was still a sinner God forgave me. (Matthew 18:21-35)
199. How will you forgive others?
I will forgive others by extending to them the love of Christ, and by choosing not to hold against them the hurts they have inflicted, whether they ask forgiveness or not. (Romans 13:8)
200. Will your forgiveness of others bring reconciliation with them?
Not always. Forgiveness is an attitude of my heart desiring the blessing of my neighbor, but my forgiveness may not result in my neighbor’s repentance and the restoration of our relationship. (Romans 12:18)
The Sixth Petition
201. What is the Sixth Petition?
The Sixth Petition is: “And lead us not into temptation.”
202. What is temptation?
Temptation is an enticement to abandon total trust in God or to violate his commandments. (Proverbs 1:8-19; James 1:14-15)
203. What are the sources of temptation?
My heart is tempted by the world, the flesh, and the Devil, all of which are enemies of God and of my spiritual well-being. (1 John 2:15-17, Galatians 5:16-21, 1 John 3:8)
204. What kind of protection from temptation do you ask for?
Knowing Satan’s hatred and my weakness, I ask God to keep me from sin and danger. (Luke 22:31; James 1:14; 1 Peter 5:8)
205. Does God lead you into temptation?
No. God never tempts anyone to sin, nor is he the cause of any sin, but, so that I may grow in obedience, he does allow me to be tested on occasion, as he allowed Jesus. (Matthew 4:1-14; Hebrews 5:7-8; Genesis 22; Judges 2; James 1:1-8)
206. What are ways to guard against temptation?
I can guard against temptation by praying the Lord’s Prayer, asking for strength, confessing my sins, recalling God’s Word, and living accountably with others. (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 14:38; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Ephesians 6:13-17; James 5:16; 1 John 1:9)
The Seventh Petition
207. What is the Seventh Petition?
The Seventh Petition is: “But deliver us from evil.”
208. What is evil?
Evil is the willful perversion of God’s good will that defies his holiness and mars his good creation. (Genesis 3:1-19; 4:1-8; 6:1-8)
209. If God made the world good at its creation, why does he permit evil?
God made rational creatures free to worship, love, and obey him, but also free to reject his love, rebel against him, and choose evil – as the human race has done. (Genesis 6:5; Ecclesiastes 7:29; 1 Timothy 1:20; Revelation 2:18-29)
210. Did evil exist before the human race embraced it?
Yes. Satan and the other demons with him had already opposed God and chosen evil. (Genesis 3: 1-5; Job 1:6-12; John 8:44)
211. What are Satan and demons?
Demons, of whom Satan is chief, are fallen angels. Satan rebelled against God and led other angels to follow him. They now cause spiritual and sometimes physical harm to mortals, and they sow lies that lead to confusion, despair, sin and death. (Luke 11:14-26; 8:29; 9:39; John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 4:3-4, 11:3; 12:7; Revelation 12:7-12)
212. How did Satan and his angels turn to evil?
Satan and his angels were overcome by envy and pride and rebelled against God. (Luke 10:18; 1 Timothy 3:6; Jude 6; Revelation 12:7-12)
213. What are angels?
Angels are spiritual, holy beings created by God. They joyfully serve him in heavenly worship and God appoints them to act as messengers, bringing words of guidance and assurance to the faithful, and assisting and protecting them. (Psalm 148:1-6; Hebrews 1:14; Luke 1:19, 26-33; Acts 8:26-28, 12:7-11, 27:23-24)
214. How did God address evil in this world?
God, in his love, sent Jesus Christ to gain victory over all the powers of evil by his death, resurrection and ascension. Victory and authority over sin and evil are granted to the faithful in their daily lives through the Holy Spirit by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross. God will finally overcome all evil, including death, at the end of the age. (John 3:16; Colossians 2:13-15; Luke 10:17-20, Philippians 2:10, 1 John 4:4; Romans 8:28, 35-39; Revelation 21:1-4)
215. Is God responsible for evil?
No. The free choices of his creatures do not implicate God in evil in any way. (Galatians 2:17; James 1:13-15)
216. How does God redeem evil?
Though the evil deeds of his creatures may cause great harm and suffering, the almighty and all-wise God can use them to bring about his good purposes, both in the world and in my life. (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28)
217. From what evil do you seek to be delivered?
I desire, first and foremost, to be delivered from Satan our Enemy, the Evil One, and all demonic forces that seek to destroy God’s creatures. (Matthew 16:21-23; John 13:27; 1 Peter 5:8-9)
218. From what other evil do you seek deliverance?
I ask my heavenly Father to protect me from the world and the flesh, and to deliver me from the dangers of the day and night; from sin, sorrow, sickness, and horror; and from everlasting damnation. (The Great Litany, BCP 1662)
219. How does God deliver you from evil?
God’s Holy Spirit transforms my soul to see and hate evil as he does; then he further delivers me either by removing my trial or by giving me strength to endure it gracefully. (Psalms 1; 23; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Philippians 4:13)
The Doxology and Amen
220. What is the doxology of the Lord’s Prayer?
The doxology which the Church adds to the Lord’s Prayer is: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.”
221. What does “kingdom, power, and glory” mean?
Referring back to the first half of the Lord’s Prayer, the Church rejoices that God can fulfill its requests, for he is already reigning over all creation, working out his holy will, and being hallowed by praise in both earth and heaven. (Revelation 5:11-14)
222. Why is the doxology regularly added to the Lord’s Prayer?
Rejoicing that God is already King over this sin-sick world, the Church on earth uses this doxology to join in the praise being given to God in heaven. (Revelation 15:3-4)
223. Why do you end the Lord’s Prayer by saying “Amen”?
By saying “Amen,” which means “so be it,” I unite with the faithful, who pray as Jesus directed, believe that their petitions please the Father, and trust that he will answer their requests. (Revelation 19:1-4)
Prayer, Liturgy, and a Rule of Life
224. How should you use the Holy Scriptures in daily life?
I should “hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them” that by the sustaining power of God’s Word, I may embrace and hold fast to the hope of everlasting life given to me in Jesus Christ. (Scripture Collect, Book of Common Prayer)
225. How should you “hear” the Bible?
I should hear the Bible through regular participation in the Church’s worship, both corporate and domestic, in which I join in reciting Scripture, hear it read and prayed, and listen to its truth proclaimed.
226. How should you “read” the Bible?
I should read the Bible in daily portions as set out in “lectionaries” – Bible reading guides found in the Prayer Book and elsewhere. I should also study individual books of the Bible, using resources such as commentaries and Bible dictionaries when possible.
227. How should you “mark” passages of Scripture?
I should read the Bible attentively, noting key verses and themes. I should also note connections between passages of Scripture in the Old and New Testaments in order to grasp the full meaning of God’s Word.
228. How should you “learn” the Bible?
I should seek to know the whole of Scripture, and to memorize key passages for my own spiritual growth and for sharing with others.
229. How should you “inwardly digest” Scripture?
I should ground my prayers in the Scriptures. One time-tested way of doing this is to pray the Psalms, which formed Jesus’ own prayer book. As I absorb Scripture, it becomes the lens through which I perceive and understand the events in my life and the world around me, and guides my attitudes and actions.
230. Are there different ways to pray?
Yes. Prayer can be private or public, liturgical or extemporaneous; personal prayer can be vocal, meditative, or contemplative.
231. What is vocal prayer?
In vocal prayer I pray to God using spoken words.
232. What is thanksgiving?
In thanksgiving I express my gratitude to God for his grace, favor, providential goodness, and answers to my prayers.
233. What is petition?
In petition I make requests to God on my own behalf.
234. What is intercession?
In intercession I make requests to God on the behalf of others.
235. What is meditation?
In meditation I prayerfully read and reflect upon Holy Scripture according to its intended meaning, with openness to personal spiritual direction from God.
236. What is contemplation?
In contemplation I lift my heart in love to God without any deliberate flow of thoughts or words.
237. How should you pray?
I should pray with humility, love, and a ready openness to God’s will, in my heart hearing God say, “be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10-11; 2 Chronicles 7:14-15; Philippians 4:6)
238. Of what should you be certain in prayer?
I should be certain that God hears my prayers. I should also be certain that in response he will grant me all that I actually need, by his wisdom, in his time, and for his glory. (Deuteronomy 6:24; Esther 4:16; Proverbs 15:29; Ephesians 3:14-21)
239. What should you remember when prayers seem to be unanswered?
God always hears my prayers, and answers them in his wisdom and in his own time, sometimes withholding blessings for my discipline, and sometimes giving better than I ask. (Matthew 6:8)
240. How should you pray in times of suffering?
I should join my sufferings to those of Jesus Christ, trusting in the sufficiency of his grace, and joyfully assured that “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame.” (Romans 5:3-5; 2 Corinthians 1:5; Philippians 3:10; Hebrews 5:8-9)
241. What obstacles may hinder your prayers?
My prayers may be hindered by distractions, laziness, pride, selfishness, discouragement, sin, and lack of faith.
242. What is liturgy?
Liturgy is the public worship of God by God’s people according to an established pattern or form.
243. Why do Anglicans worship with a structured liturgy?
Anglicans worship with a structured liturgy because it is a biblical pattern displayed in both Testaments, and because it fosters in us a reverent fear of God.
244. Do form and structure inhibit freedom in worship?
No. Form and structure provide a setting for freedom of heart in worship.
245. How does the Book of Common Prayer organize the liturgy?
In the Church’s Prayer Book, Scripture is arranged for daily, weekly, and seasonal prayer and worship, and for special events of life. Most services include the Lord’s Prayer.
246. What is the liturgy of the Daily Office?
The Daily Office consists of Morning and Evening Prayer. These services are based on Israel’s Morning and Evening Prayer as adopted and adapted by the early Church. In them we confess our sins and receive absolution, hear God’s Word and praise him with Psalms, and offer the Church’s thanksgivings and prayers.
247. Who observes the Daily Office?
Many Christians observe the Daily Office—at church, in their homes, at the family table, or wherever they may find themselves.
248. Why do Anglicans pray Morning and Evening Prayer?
Anglicans pray the Daily Office believing it to be a sacrifice that pleases God, and because it keeps them aware that their time is sanctified to God.
249. What is a collect?
A collect is a form of petition that collects the people’s prayers. Over the centuries, the Church has gathered its most cherished prayers to mark times and seasons. They are embodied for Anglicans in the Book of Common Prayer.
250. Why use the Prayer Book when you have the Bible?
The Book of Common Prayer is saturated with the Bible, organizing and orchestrating the Scriptures for worship. It leads the Church to pray in one voice with order, beauty, deep devotion, and great dignity.
251. What is a rule of life?
A rule of life is a devotional discipline in which I commit to grow in grace as I resist sin and temptation, and to order my worship, work, and leisure as a pleasing sacrifice to God. (Romans 12:1-2)
252. Why do you need a rule of life?
I need a rule of life because my fallen nature is disordered, distracted, and self-centered. Because bad habits often rule my life, I need to establish godly habits that form Christ-like character.
253. What is the Anglican rule of life?
The Church invites me to its life of Common Prayer as a rule of life. That rule is a key part of a life of witness, service, and devotion of my time, money and possessions to God.
254. What prayers should you memorize as a part of your rule of life?
After memorizing the Lord’s Prayer, I should aim to memorize the liturgy, Psalms, and other prayers and collects.
255. How can you cultivate a fruitful life of prayer?
I can cultivate a fruitful prayer life by following the ancient three-fold rule: weekly Communion, Daily Offices, and private devotions. This rule teaches me when to pray, how to pray, and for what to pray, so that I may grow to love and glorify God more fully.
PART IV: BEHAVING CHRISTIANLY
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AND OBEDIENCE TO CHRIST
In Jesus Christ, God calls us to respond to him in three basic ways: by grasping God’s revealed truth about Jesus with our minds; by prayerful communion with God in and through Jesus; and by doing God’s will. God’s will is primarily revealed to us in Jesus’ word and example, which are inextricably linked to the Ten Commandments and other moral instructions found in Scripture.
Catechetical instruction deals with the first aspect through teaching and learning the Apostles’ Creed. It deals with the second through teaching and learning the Lord’s Prayer. It deals with the third by centering on the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17, Deuteronomy 5:6-21), which are the heart of the Law of God that Jesus embodied in his own life, and are summarized for us in the command to love God and our neighbor.
The standards set by the Law reflect values and obligations that are, to some degree, impressed upon the consciences of all people (Romans 2:15). Yet God gave the Law in a clear and unmistakable way to his chosen people, Israel. Delivering them from slavery in Egypt, he established a covenant relationship with them at Mt. Sinai through Moses, giving them the Law. In grateful response to his grace, Israel would worship and serve God, living as his people in accordance with his Law.
In a similar way, the moral teaching of Jesus Christ is universal, authoritative and final. It is set in a family relationship with God the Father and established by his love and grace in Christ. Through the reconciling power of Jesus’ cross, anyone who names him as Savior and Lord is freed from bondage to sin and death, adopted as God’s child, and called to a life of holiness. The Christian life of holiness, in which obedience to Christ is central, is rooted in the bond that believers have with the Son and the Father through the Holy Spirit. Therefore, keeping the divine Law is a fundamental form of the new life into which we are brought by faith in Christ.
Following the teaching of Jesus, his apostles, like all the Bible writers, always look at the human individual as a whole. They see behavior as a “fruit,” not as something external or separate from heart and character. They therefore always speak of human behavior in terms that link behavior with motivation and purpose. For Jesus, acts are only right insofar as the attitude of mind and heart that they express is right. The pages that follow reflect the same viewpoint.
The Ten Commandments
256. Why did God give the Ten Commandments?
God’s holy Law is a light to show me his character, a mirror to show me myself, a tutor to lead me to Christ, and a guide to help me love God and others as I should. (Deuteronomy 4:32-40; Psalms 19; 119:97-104; Romans 7:7-12; 13:8-10; Galatians 3:19-26; James 1:21-25; 2:8-13)
257. When did God give the Ten Commandments?
After saving his people Israel from slavery in Egypt through the Ten Plagues, the Passover sacrifice, and crossing of the Red Sea, God gave them the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai as covenant obligations. (Exodus 6:1-8; 13:3; 14:26-31; 19:1-6; 20:1-2; Deuteronomy 5:1-5)
258. How did God give the Ten Commandments?
God gave them to Moses audibly and awesomely, from the midst of the cloud, thus revealing his holiness, and afterward writing them on stone tablets. (Exodus 19; 32:15-16)
259. How should you understand the Commandments?
There are four guiding principles: though stated negatively, each commandment calls for positive action, forbids whatever hinders its keeping, calls for loving, God-glorifying obedience, and requires that I urge others to be governed by it, as I am myself.
260. What is our Lord Jesus Christ’s understanding of these Commandments?
Jesus summed them up positively by saying: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40; see also John 15:7-17; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)
261. Why can you not do this perfectly?
While God made mankind to love him perfectly, sin has corrupted our nature, leading me to resist him, to ignore his will, and to care more for myself than for my neighbors. (Psalm 14:1; Romans 3:9-23; 7:21-25; 1 Corinthians 2:14)
262. When will you love God perfectly?
I will only love God perfectly when he completes his work of grace in me at the end of the age. (Philippians 1:6; 1 John 3:2-3)
263. Why then do you learn God’s Law now?
I learn God’s Law now so that, having died to sin in Christ, I might love him as I ought, delight in his will as he heals my nature, and live for his glory. (Deuteronomy 11:18-21; Psalm 1:1-3; 119:89-104; Romans 6:1-4,11; 1 John 3:23-24; 4:7-9, 19; 5:1-3)
264. How does God prepare you to begin living his Law?
Through faith, repentance and Baptism, God in grace washes away my sin, gives me his Holy Spirit, and makes me a member of Christ, a child of God, and an heir of the Kingdom of Heaven. (Acts 22:16; Titus 3:4-8)
265. How does the Church help you to live out God’s law?
The Church exercises godly authority and discipline over me through the ministry of baptismal sponsors, clergy, and other teachers. (Romans 15:1-7; 2 Timothy 3:14-15; Hebrews 13:7, 17)
266. How does the Lord’s Supper enable you to continue learning and living God’s Law?
In the Lord’s Supper or Holy Eucharist, I hear the Law read, hear God’s good news of forgiveness, recall my baptismal promises, have my faith renewed, and receive grace to follow Jesus in the ways of God’s Laws and in the works of his Commandments.
The First Commandment
267. What is the First Commandment?
The First Commandment is: “I am the Lord your God, You shall have no other gods before me.”
268. What does it mean to have no other gods?
It means that there should be nothing in my life more important than God and obeying his will. I should love, revere, trust, and worship him only. (Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy 6:4, 10-15; 12:29-31; Jeremiah 10:6-10; Matthew 4:10; 28:8-20)
269. Can you worship God perfectly?
No. Only our Lord Jesus Christ worshiped God perfectly. He leads the Church today to seek to do the same. (Matthew 4:1-11; 26:36-46; Revelation 4-5)
270. Why are you tempted to worship other gods?
I am tempted because my sinful heart is still drawn to false gods and their appeal for my allegiance. (Ephesians 5:1-21; James 4:1-10; 1 John 1:8-10; 5:20-21)
271. How are you tempted to worship other gods?
I am tempted to trust in my self, possessions, relationships, and success, believing that they will give me happiness, security, and meaning. I am also tempted to believe superstitions and false religious claims, and to reject God’s call to worship him alone. (Psalm 73:1-17; Romans 1:18-32)
The Second Commandment
272. What is the Second Commandment?
The Second Commandment is: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them.”
273. What does the Second Commandment mean?
God’s people are neither to worship man-made images of God or of other gods, nor make such images for the purpose of worshiping them. (Deuteronomy 4:15-24)
274. How did Israel break the first two commandments?
Israel worshiped the gods of the nations around them, neglected God’s Law, and corrupted the worship of the Temple, thus earning God’s punishment. (Exodus 32; Judges 2:11-15, Psalm 78:56-72; Jeremiah 32:30-35)
275. Why did the nations make such images?
Israel’s neighbors worshiped false gods by means of images, or idols, believing they could manipulate these imaginary gods to gain favor with them. (Isaiah 40:18-26; 44:9-20)
276. Are all carved images wrong?
No. God, who forbids the making of idols and worship of images, commanded carvings and pictures for the Tabernacle. These represented neither God nor false gods, but rather angels, trees, and fruits from the Garden of Eden. (Exodus 37:1-9; 39:22-26; 1 Kings 6:14-19)
277. Are idols always carved images?
No. Relationships, habits, aspirations, and ideologies can become idols in my mind if I look to them for salvation from misery, guilt, poverty, loneliness, or despair. (Ezekiel 14:4-5; Isaiah 2:20; Ephesians 5:2; 1 John 5:21)
278. How was Jesus tempted to break the first two commandments?
Satan tempted Jesus to bow down and worship him, promising him a world kingdom without the pain of the cross. Instead, Jesus loved and worshiped God faithfully and perfectly all his life. He chose the will of his Father over the promises of the Devil, and accepted the cross. (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 22:39-49; Hebrews 4:14-16)
279. How will idolatry affect you?
If I worship idols I will become like them, empty and worthless, and alienated from God, the only One who can make me whole. (Psalm 115:4-8; Jeremiah 2:11-19; Romans 1:18-32)
280. How can you love God in worship?
The Holy Scriptures teach me how to worship God, and the Church’s liturgy guides my worship in keeping with the Scriptures. I can show love to God by worshiping him in this way. (Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 9:11-14; 10:11-25; 12:18-29; 13:1-19)
The Third Commandment
281. What is the Third Commandment?
The Third Commandment is: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”
282. What does it mean not to take God’s Name in vain?
All forms of God’s Name are holy, and those who love him should use his Name with reverence, not lightly or for selfish purposes. (Leviticus 19:12; Psalm 29:2; Psalm 99:1-5; Revelation 15:3 – See Questions 169-175)
283. How can you use God’s Name irreverently?
In false or half-hearted worship, oppression of the poor, and conflicts cloaked with divine cause, people use God’s Name without reverence for him, and only to further their own goals. (Ezekiel 36:22-23)
284. How can you use God’s Name lightly?
Profanity, careless speech, broken vows, open sin, and meaningless exclamations all cheapen God’s Name. These treat God’s Name as “empty” of the reality for which it stands. (Matthew 5: 33-37; Articles of Religion, 39)
285. How can you honor God’s Name?
I honor and love God’s Name, in which I was baptized, by keeping my promises and by upholding honor in relationships, charity in society, justice in law, uprightness in vocation, and holiness in worship. (Deuteronomy 12:11; Psalm 138:2; Proverbs 30:7-9; Matthew 5:22-23; Ephesians 4:25; James 5:12)
The Fourth Commandment
286. What is the Fourth Commandment?
The Fourth Commandment is: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
287. What does it mean to keep the Sabbath day holy?
“Sabbath” is from the Hebrew shavath, which means “rest.” God commanded Israel to set apart each seventh day following six days of work for rest and worship. (Exodus 19:8-11)
288. Why should you rest on the Sabbath?
I rest, as Israel was to rest, because God rested on the seventh day from his work of creation. The Sabbath rest brought rhythm to life, work, and worship; freedom from slavery to unending labor; and awareness that God is Lord of all time, including mine. (Genesis 2:1-2; Deuteronomy 5:12-15)
289. Where do you learn about the holiness of time?
In creation, through the sun, moon, and stars; in the Law, through Israel’s sacrificial calendar; and in the Church’s liturgy, patterned after Temple worship, I learn that time belongs to God and is ordered by him. (Genesis 1:14-15; Numbers 28:9-10; Deuteronomy 16-18)
290. Did Jesus keep the Sabbath?
As its Lord, Jesus both kept and fulfilled the Sabbath. (Matthew 5:17-20; Mark 2:23-27)
291. How does Jesus bring Sabbath as God’s eternal gift to you?
Jesus now offers himself as the source of my true rest—from the slavery of sin, from the wasteland of human striving, and from Satan’s legacy of futile toil, pain, disease, and death. (Matthew 11:25-30)
292. What does it mean that a Sabbath rest remains for the people of God?
When the Church is perfected in Christ, all believers will be completely free from sin and its curse, and established in an eternity of love, adoration, and joy. This will be our unending Sabbath rest. (Isaiah 66: 22-23; Romans 8:18-30; 1 Corinthians 15; Hebrews 4)
293. How do you celebrate this Sabbath rest with the Church now?
I join in the Church’s weekly worship and participation in God’s heavenly rest, which brings order, meaning, and holiness to the other six days of the week. (Hebrews 4:9-10; Colossians 2:16-19)
294. Why does the Church worship on the first day of the week rather than the seventh?
The Church worships on the first day of the week in remembrance of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on the first day of the week. (Matthew 28:1)
The Fifth Commandment
295. What is the Fifth Commandment?
The Fifth Commandment is: “Honor your father and your mother.”
296. What does it mean to honor your father and mother?
While still a child, I should obey my parents; and I should honor, serve, respect, love, and care for them all their lives. (Proverbs 2:10; 23:22; Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:20-21)
297. How did Jesus keep the Fifth Commandment?
As a child Jesus submitted himself to Mary and Joseph, and honored his mother even as he suffered on the cross by entrusting her to his beloved disciple’s care. (Luke 2:39-52; John 19:25-27)
298. How else do you love God in light of the Fifth Commandment?
I keep the Fifth Commandment in love to God by showing respect for the aged; submitting to my teachers, pastors, and directors; respecting tradition and civil authority; and ordering myself in reverent humility, as is fitting for a servant and child of God. (Matthew 22:15-22; Romans 13; Colossians 3:18-4:1; 1 Tim 6:1-2; Hebrews 13:7,17; Articles of Religion, 37)
299. Will such an attitude of honor come to you naturally?
No. “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child” (Proverbs 22:15). From my earliest days, led and driven by sin, I persistently attempt to rule myself.
300. Does earthly authority have limits?
Yes. All authority comes from God, who is the King of kings and expects me to love, honor, and obey him rather than others if they command me to sin. (Exodus 1:17; Daniel 1:8-16; 3:16-18; Acts 5:29; Romans 13:1-5; Colossians 4:1; 1 Peter 2:14-15)
The Sixth Commandment
301. What is the Sixth Commandment?
The Sixth Commandment is: “You shall not murder.”
302. What does it mean not to murder?
Since God declares human life sacred from conception to natural death, I may not take the life of neighbors unjustly, bear them malice in my heart, or harm them by word or deed; rather, I should seek to cause their lives to flourish. (Genesis 9:6; Leviticus 19:16; Deuteronomy 19:4-7)
303. How did Christ cause life to flourish?
Jesus sought the well-being of all who came to him: he made the blind see and the deaf hear, caused the lame to walk, cured the sick, fed the hungry, cast out demons, raised the dead, and preached good news to all. (Luke 4:17-21; Matthew 14:13-21, 34-36)
304. How did Jesus extend the law against murder?
Jesus equated unjust anger with murder. (Matthew 5:21-22; 1 John 3:15)
305. Is your anger always sinful, or can it be just?
Anger can be just if I am motivated not by fear, pride, or revenge, but purely by love for God’s honor and my neighbor’s well-being. More often than not, however, human anger is sinful. (Ephesians 4:26-27)
306. What other actions may be considered forms of murder?
Suicide, abortion, genocide, infanticide, and euthanasia are forms of murder. Related sins include abuse, abandonment, recklessness, and hatred or derision.
307. Is it always wrong to harm or kill another?
There are rare times when the claims of justice, mercy, and life itself may require doing harm or even bringing death to others. It is the particular task of government to do this in society. (Romans 13:1-4)
308. How else can you cause life to flourish?
As a witness to the Gospel, I can love God and my neighbor by refraining from selfish anger, insults, and cursing, by defending the helpless and unborn, by rescuing those who damage themselves, and by helping others to prosper. (Matthew 5:38-48; 9:35-38; Luke 23:34; Acts 10:34-42; Ephesians 4:25-32; 5:1-2)
The Seventh Commandment
309. What is the Seventh Commandment?
The Seventh Commandment is: “You shall not commit adultery.”
310. What does it mean not to commit adultery?
Marriage is holy. Married persons are to be faithful to their spouses as long as they both shall live. So I must not engage in sexual activity with anyone other than my spouse. (Deuteronomy 22-24:5; See Questions 128-130)
311. Why does God ordain marriage?
God ordains marriage for three important purposes: for the procreation of children to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; for a remedy against sin and to avoid fornication; and for mutual friendship, help, and comfort, both in prosperity and adversity. (Genesis 1:28; Deuteronomy 6:7; Proverbs 22:6; 31:10-12; 1 Corinthians 7:2-5; Book of Common Prayer)
312. What does marriage illustrate?
The New Testament reveals that human marriage is meant to reflect the faithful love that unites Christ to his Church. (Ephesians 5:21-33)
313. What does it mean to be faithful in marriage?
To be faithful in marriage is to be exclusively devoted in heart, mind, and body to one’s spouse in the marriage covenant. (Ephesians 5:29-31)
314. Is divorce ever permitted?
Although he permits divorce in some cases, God hates it. It severs what he has joined, and causes immeasurable pain, suffering and brokenness. (Malachi 2:13-16; Matthew 19:1-12; 1 Corinthians 7:12-16)
315. How else is the Seventh Commandment broken?
Fornication, same-gender sexual acts, rape, incest, pedophilia, bestiality, pornography, lust, or any other form of self-centered sexual desire and behavior, all violate this law. (Leviticus 18; Romans 1:18-28; Matthew 5:27-30)
316. What does it mean for you to be chaste?
It means that I must refrain from sexual acts outside of marriage; and I must respect myself and all others in body, mind, and spirit; practice sexual purity; and view others as image bearers of God, not as objects of personal gratification. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7)
317. How do you benefit from chastity?
Chastity enables me to give of myself in friendship, avoid difficulty in marriage, and experience the true freedom of integrity before God. (1 Corinthians 7:32-35)
The Eighth Commandment
318. What is the Eighth Commandment?
The Eighth Commandment is: “You shall not steal.”
319. What does it mean not to steal?
Because God is Creator and Lord of this world, the created order is holy, and all things fundamentally belong to him. Since I am required to love God and my neighbor, I must not take what does not belong to me, and I must be true, honest, and just in all my business dealings. (Leviticus 19:10-12; Ephesians 4:28; Articles of Religion, 38)
320. If the earth and all it contains is the Lord’s, is it fitting for you to own property or goods?
Yes. However, everything I own I hold as God’s steward, to cultivate and use for his glory while respecting what he has entrusted to others. (Genesis 1-2; 9; Leviticus 25-27; Psalm 24:1)
321. How did God teach Israel to respect the property of others?
God gave land and possessions as a trust from him, which could be bought, sold, and inherited. He required restitution when property was stolen, and forbade unjust loans and interest. (Exodus 22:1; Leviticus 25:36-37; Numbers 27; 33:50-36:12)
322. What things other than property can you steal?
I can steal reputation, wages, and honor; credit, answers, and inventions; friendship, hope, and goodwill from others. I must repay and, to the best of my ability, restore what I have stolen. (Deuteronomy 24:14-15, 17-18; 2 Samuel 11-15; 1 Kings 21)
323. As his steward, how does God require you to use your possessions?
As I am able, I should earn my own living so that I may set aside offerings for worship, give alms to the poor, and care for my dependents; and I should use all my possessions, gifts and abilities to glorify God, better the state of the creation, and love my neighbors. (Proverbs 19:17, 30:8-9; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Ephesians 4:28)
324. What is the minimum standard of giving for you as a Christian?
A tithe, which is ten percent of my income, is the minimum standard and goal of giving for the work of God; yet Jesus expects more than my minimum. (Deuteronomy 14:22-29; Luke 21:1-4)
The Ninth Commandment
325. What is the Ninth Commandment?
The Ninth Commandment is: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
326. What does it mean not to bear false witness?
It means that I am to love God and my neighbor by speaking truthfully and graciously at all times, and by keeping my tongue from lying, slander, or gossip. (Proverbs 6:19; Matthew 5:33-37; 12:36; Ephesians 4:15-16)
327. How did Jesus suffer from false witness?
The Sanhedrin, desiring Jesus’ execution, hired witnesses to lie about him. (Psalm 109:1-3; Mark 14:53-58)
328. How does Jesus bear true witness?
Jesus always speaks the truth about himself and me, and bears witness before God and Satan that I belong to him. (John 17:6-8; 18:19-24)
329. How is false witness borne in court?
False accusations, lies, withholding evidence, or an unjust verdict all violate truth and justice. (Exodus 23:1)
330. When is it right to speak of your neighbor’s sins?
I am forbidden to gossip or slander, but I must speak the truth in love to my neighbor, report crimes, advocate for the helpless, and protect the community. (Ephesians 4:15, Leviticus 19:17-18; Matthew 18:15; James 5:18-20)
The Tenth Commandment
331. What is the Tenth Commandment?
The Tenth Commandment is: “You shall not covet.”
332. What does it mean not to covet?
I am not to let envy make me want what others have, but in humility should be content with what I have. (Micah 2:1-2; Hebrews 13:5-6; Philippians 4:10-13)
333. How did Jesus practice contentment?
In contentment, Jesus took on the form of a servant without wealth or possessions, and in his earthly life loved and trusted his Father in all things. (Matthew 6:25-34; Philippians 2:3-11)
334. How is covetousness especially dangerous?
Covetousness begins with discontent in mind and spirit, and as it grows in the heart, it can lead to sins such as idolatry, adultery, and theft. (2 Samuel 11:1-4; 1 Kings 21:1-15; Luke 12:15; James. 1:15)
335. What should you do instead of coveting?
I should think often of the inheritance that Jesus has prepared for me, meditate upon his care for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, be generous with what God has entrusted to me, and help others to keep what is rightfully theirs. (Matthew 6:25-34; Romans 12:13; Philippians 4:8; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Timothy 6:6-10; 1 Peter 1:3-5)
Need for Atonement, Healing, and Joy
336. Is it possible for you to keep all these commandments?
No. I fail to fulfill them perfectly, however hard I try. One purpose of the Law is to show me my utter inability to obey God flawlessly, and so to point to my need of Christ’s obedience and atoning death on my behalf. (Isaiah 53:4-6; Romans 3:19-31; Hebrews 10:1-14)
337. Since you cannot keep God’s commandments perfectly, what has Jesus done on your behalf?
As the perfect human and the unblemished Lamb, Jesus has offered himself to God, suffering death for my redemption upon the cross, which is the once for all “sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.” (1662 Book of Common Prayer; Hebrews 10:10,12)
338. Does Christ's obedience excuse you from personal obedience?
No. Obedience is always due to God as our Father, Lord, and Creator. Despite my sin and weakness, I should strive always to obey him, looking to Jesus for salvation and to the Holy Spirit for strength. (John 14:15-16, 23-24)
339. What is the first benefit of Christ’s sacrifice?
My sins are forgiven when I confess them and ask for pardon through Christ’s shed blood. I live by being forgiven. (1 John 1:8-9; Hebrews 9:11-12)
340. Are you still broken, despite God’s forgiveness?
Yes. Sin leaves me wounded, lonely, afraid, divided, and in need of Christ’s healing ministry. (Psalms 32:1-5; 51; 130; Matthew 15:19; 1 John 2:1-2)
341. How does Jesus heal you?
Through the gift and fruit of the Holy Spirit, Jesus mends my disordered soul from the effects of sin in my mind, will, and desire. (Acts 2:38; Romans 8:26; 12:2)
342. What is this healing called?
This healing is called sanctification. In it, by the work of the Holy Spirit, my mind, will, and desires are progressively transformed and conformed to the character of Jesus Christ. (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 2:1-3; 3:14-21; 4:17-19; Philippians 2; Colossians 2-4; 1 John 3:2-3)
343. What does the Church offer you as helps for your sanctification?
The Church’s teaching, sacraments, liturgies, seasons, ministry, oversight, and fellowship assist my growth in Christ and are channels of God’s abundant care for my soul. (Ephesians 4-6; Philippians 3; Colossians 3; Ascensiontide Collects)
344. For what does sanctification prepare you?
Sanctification prepares me for the vision and glory of God in conformity to my Lord Jesus Christ, who has promised that “the pure in heart shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
345. With what attitude should I live a life of sanctification?
God calls me to a life of joy. Constant thoughts of God’s love for me, and of my hope in Christ, will keep me always rejoicing. (Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19)
Prayers for Use with the Catechism of the Anglican Church in North America
Prayer is an essential component in the catechetical process. It invites catechists, catechumens and sponsors to participate in the presence and power of God, who is at work transforming disciples into the image of Jesus Christ. It is a significant means by which Christian faith moves beyond our heads into our hearts and hands, so that the reign of God will increase in and through us. Catechists and sponsors are encouraged to pray with and for catechumens during sessions, and by beginning and ending each session with prayers. The following section contains some of the classic prayers of the Church categorized by topics to help in the process of formation:
For repentance and forgiveness
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who repent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
For rebirth and renewal in Christ
Almighty God, you have given your only‑begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born of a pure virgin: Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Almighty God to whom all hearts are open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hid, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
For growth in the knowledge and love of God the Father
Almighty God who so loved the world pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us, that we may delight in the inheritance that is ours as your sons and daughters, and live to your praise and glory, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
For growth in the Holy Spirit
Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts, to direct and rule us according to your will, to comfort us in all our afflictions, to defend us from all error, and to lead us into all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O God, who taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
For self‑dedication and commitment to God’s will
Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be completely yours, utterly dedicated to you; and then use us, we pray, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
For studying the Scriptures
Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
For quiet hearts
O God of peace, who has taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, and in quietness and confidence shall be our strength: By your Holy Spirit lift us, we pray, to your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For preparation for Baptism
Almighty God, by our baptism into the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ, you turn us from the old life of sin: Grant that we, being reborn to new life in him, may live in righteousness and holiness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
For preparation for Confirmation
Grant, Almighty God, that we, who have been redeemed from the old life of sin by our baptism into the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ, may be filled with your Holy Spirit, and live in righteousness and true holiness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
For the ministry of sharing the Gospel with others
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may draw those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.
A Rite for Admission of Catechumens Proposed to the College of Bishops of The Anglican Church in North America
January 7, 2014
This form is to be used for adult persons, or older children who are able to answer for themselves, at the beginning of a course of instruction in all the teachings of the Church, in preparation for Holy Baptism, or if baptized as infants, for Confirmation.
On the day appointed, the persons to be received as Catechumens shall be brought by their sponsors to the Church, and shall remain by the principal door, until the Gospel has been proclaimed.
The Celebrant shall them greet the Catechumens at the door and ask,
Celebrant What is your hope?
Catechumen That I may have eternal life in Christ.
Celebrant What do you desire of God and of this congregation?
Catechumen That I may grow in faith, hope, and love.
Then the Celebrant shall say,
If you hope to enter into eternal life, you must by his grace follow in Our Lord’s steps, for He said: “ ”
Then the Celebrant shall ask,
Celebrant Will you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Lord and Savior?
Catechumen I will.
Celebrant Because none can follow Christ without God’s grace and apart from Christ’s Body, will you join with us in our common life of worship, teaching, service, and fellowship?
Catechumen I will.
The Celebrant shall lead the Catechumens to the chancel steps, where they shall kneel, and the Celebrant shall pray over them, saying,
Celebrant Let us pray.
O Lord God of Hosts, before the terror of whose presence the armies of Hell are put to flight: Deliver these your servants from the powers of the world, the flesh, and the Devil; cast out from them every evil and unclean spirit that lurks in the heart, and any spirit of error or wickedness; and make them ready to receive the fullness of your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then the Celebrant shall take the OIL OF THE CATECHUMENS, and sign each Catechumen with a cross on their forehead, saying to each,
May almighty God deliver you from the powers of darkness and evil and lead you into the light and obedience of the kingdom of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then, the Catechumens kneeling, the Priest shall bless them, saying:
who in His love for you has called you to the knowledge of His grace, grant you
entrance into His kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, visible and invisible.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father [and the Son],
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Creed of Saint Athanasius (Quicunque Vult)
Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith.
Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish
And the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity,
neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.
But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the Glory
equal, the Majesty co-eternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate.
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost
The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal.
And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal.
As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated, but one uncreated, and
So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty.
And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty.
the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God.
And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord.
And yet not three Lords, but one Lord.
For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by
himself to be both God and Lord,
So are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion, to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords.
The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten,
So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three
And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none is greater, or less than another;
But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together and co-equal.
So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be
He therefore that will be saved is must think thus of the Trinity.
Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the
Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of
God, is God and Man;
God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man of the substance
of his Mother, born in the world;
Perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching his
Who, although he be God and Man, yet he is not two, but one Christ;
One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh but by taking of the Manhood into God;
One altogether; not by confusion of Substance, but by unity of Person.
For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ;
Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead.
He ascended into heaven, he sitteth at the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from
whence he will come to judge the quick and the dead.
At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies and shall give account for their
And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil into
This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.
 The filioque [and the Son] is not in the original Greek text. Nevertheless, in the Western Church the filioque [and the Son] is customary at worship and is used for the explication of doctrine [39 Articles of Religion]. The operative resolution of the College of Bishops concerning use of the filioque is printed with the General Instructions at the end of the Holy Communion, Long Form.