A Catechism
by Paul Hazelden

A Catechism is a series of questions and answers designed to help people learn and understand.

(Some extra notes have been given in small type like this.)

  1. What is a Christian?
  2. A Christian is a follower of Jesus.

  3. Who is Jesus?
  4. Jesus is the Messiah expected by the Jews and the Son of God. He is a historic figure, about whom the primary source of information is in the Bible.

  5. What is the Bible?
  6. The Bible is a written record given to us by God. We are to receive it as God's word to us, just as Jesus did.

    The first four books in the New Testament, which are called the 'Gospels', tell us about Jesus - about His birth, life, death and resurrection. The remaining books in the New Testament tell us more about Jesus through the experiences of His early disciples. The Old Testament, the other part of the Bible, tells of God's dealings with the human race in general, and certain people in particular, before Jesus came.

  7. What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus?
  8. A follower of Jesus is someone who believes the things He says, accepts His authority over their life, and follows His example in the way they live.

    In the New Testament, a follower of Jesus is often called a 'disciple' or a 'believer'.

  9. Who can be a follower of Jesus?
  10. Anyone who is prepared to give Jesus the first place in their life can be a follower of Jesus. There are no qualifications needed, and nothing can make you ineligible. In particular, the wrong things you have done do not prevent you from following Jesus because through Jesus you have been forgiven.

  11. What does it mean to believe the things Jesus says?
  12. A follower of Jesus is someone who believes all the things Jesus said as recorded in the New Testament, and recognises that He continues to speak to us today in a variety of ways through His Spirit.

  13. What does it mean to accept the authority of Jesus over your life?
  14. The first statement of the faith of the early church was this: Jesus is Lord! Part of what they were saying is that He was God in human form. We accept His authority by living a life that is consistent with the reality of His divine status.

    We do not make Him Lord, we simply acknowledge that He already is Lord, and one day soon every knee will bow down to Him and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

  15. What does it mean to follow the example of Jesus in the way you live?
  16. Jesus' life shows what it means to be fully a human being, and His example shows what is possible for a person who is fully relating to their Heavenly Father. A person who follows Jesus is learning to be like Him, and accepts His ministry and mission as their own.

    The early disciples did not seek to follow Jesus by imitating the superficial details of His life, but they did seek to follow His ethical and spiritual example, which was worked out by loving people in practical ways.

  17. What happens when you become a follower of Jesus?
  18. When you become a follower of Jesus, you become a part of God's family, the Church; you receive eternal life and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

  19. What is the Church?
  20. The Church is the community of Jesus' followers. The key characteristics of this community are faith, hope and love.

  21. What is faith?
  22. Faith is acting in obedience to God's word.

  23. What is hope?
  24. Hope is acting on the basis that all God has promised will come true.

  25. What is love?
  26. Love is acting in the other person's best interests.

  27. What is the Church to do?
  28. The Church is to go into every nation of the world, and in each place, make more disciples of Jesus, baptising them and teaching them to obey everything that Jesus has commanded.

  29. How is the Church to do this?
  30. The Church is to do this by using the gifts that God has given to it - apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers - so that the people in the church may be built up in their faith, grow to maturity, and do the work God has given them to do.

  31. What is eternal life?
  32. Eternal life is the life of Jesus. It differs from the life we receive from our parents both by duration and nature. The essence of eternal life is a relationship with God as your Heavenly Father and Jesus as your Lord.

    Eternal life makes us alive in a new way to supernatural realities. Heaven and Hell are not physical places, but they are realities which people can experience something of in this life, and they are the only realities we will experience after life.

  33. Who is the Holy Spirit?
  34. The Holy Spirit is God, in the same way that the Father and the Son are both God, and together they are the one God. The Holy Spirit is given to each follower of Jesus, to enable us to understand how they are to live, and to give us the inner strength we need when, on our own, we would not be able to do what God wants.

    The Holy Spirit does not take over our lives - He does not control what we do or prevent us from making mistakes. But He does enable us to live the life of Jesus if that is what we want to do.

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