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September 2012 (Excerpt reprinted from Sept 2005)
Real Catechesis Affects Lutheran Identity

Often times we may speak about the Gospel, but that speaking should not be confused with the Gospel itself.

The Gospel is a proclamation of Jesus and His work for sinners. Thus, the Lutheran Church teaches and confesses that “My righteousness before God is sure because God forgives my sins by grace without any works or merit in me.  Because of the life and sacrificial death of Jesus, who took my place, God the Father’s attitude toward me and all sinners has changed.  This means that I am righteous before God because Jesus lived, and died in my stead (place).  Thus, the righteousness that makes me acceptable to God the Father, comes from outside of me!”

Catechesis is the interchange of ideas leading to the growth of knowledge. Often this “Catechesis” is accomplished through a series of questions and answers. This is where the term catechism is oft employed.

Where does such Gospel catechesis take place in the Christians’ life?

Perhaps most of us would answer ‘in the Divine Service.’ There God speaks to His people in and through His word.

This “Service of the Word” is chanted, between Pastor and the people of God, read and heard by those assembled, and applied in the preaching of the sermon. The second portion of the Divine Service gives that Gospel to you individually as you come to His table to receive the very Body and Blood given and shed for you!

But there are certainly many more opportunities both within the Divine Service and outside of it for you to receive the Gospel.

This is how Dr. Luther speaks of the many ways in which the Gospel is given by God and received by sinners.
“We will now return to the Gospel which does not give us counsel and aid against sin in only one way. God is superabundantly generous in His grace.
First through the spoken Word, by which the forgiveness of sins is preached in the whole world (Luke24:45-47). This is the particular office of the Gospel.
Second, through Baptism.
Third, through the Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Fourth, through the Power of the Keys. Also through the mutual conversation and consolation of the brethren, ‘Where two or three are gathered’ (Matt. 18:20) and other such verses  (especially Romans 1:12.)

God is indeed a gracious God in providing so many varied and numerous ways in which He sends forth His “Good News” that saves sinners.  O do receive His Gospel with Joy!

Catechetically, I remain,

Pastor Froh