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Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way

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Historically, the church's ministry of grounding new believers in the essentials of the faith has been known as catechesis--systematic instruction in faith foundations, including what we believe, how we pray and worship, and how we conduct our lives. For most evangelicals today, however, this very idea is an alien concept. Packer and Parrett, concerned for the state of the Historically, the church's ministry of grounding new believers in the essentials of the faith has been known as catechesis--systematic instruction in faith foundations, including what we believe, how we pray and worship, and how we conduct our lives. For most evangelicals today, however, this very idea is an alien concept. Packer and Parrett, concerned for the state of the church, seek to inspire a much needed evangelical course correction. This new book makes the case for a recovery of significant catechesis as a nonnegotiable practice of churches, showing the practice to be complementary to, and of no less value than, Bible study, expository preaching, and other formational ministries, and urging evangelical churches to find room for this biblical ministry for the sake of their spiritual health and vitality.


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Historically, the church's ministry of grounding new believers in the essentials of the faith has been known as catechesis--systematic instruction in faith foundations, including what we believe, how we pray and worship, and how we conduct our lives. For most evangelicals today, however, this very idea is an alien concept. Packer and Parrett, concerned for the state of the Historically, the church's ministry of grounding new believers in the essentials of the faith has been known as catechesis--systematic instruction in faith foundations, including what we believe, how we pray and worship, and how we conduct our lives. For most evangelicals today, however, this very idea is an alien concept. Packer and Parrett, concerned for the state of the church, seek to inspire a much needed evangelical course correction. This new book makes the case for a recovery of significant catechesis as a nonnegotiable practice of churches, showing the practice to be complementary to, and of no less value than, Bible study, expository preaching, and other formational ministries, and urging evangelical churches to find room for this biblical ministry for the sake of their spiritual health and vitality.

30 review for Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Rindels

    Being raised Southern Baptist, the word catechesis was thrown into the bin with a number of other obscure and foreign terms only Catholics, Lutherans care about. Gary Parrett and J.I. Packer put an emphasis on teaching church members the fundamentals of the Gospel: the Trinity, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten commandments. As they assert, most evangelicals today are a mile wide but only an inch deep. Being raised Southern Baptist, the word catechesis was thrown into the bin with a number of other obscure and foreign terms only Catholics, Lutherans care about. Gary Parrett and J.I. Packer put an emphasis on teaching church members the fundamentals of the Gospel: the Trinity, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten commandments. As they assert, most evangelicals today are a mile wide but only an inch deep.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Venkatesh G

    This book is a call to the Evangelical Church to return to the ancient practice of catechising Christians systematically. The authors -- JI Packer and Gary Parrett -- argue that catechesis is a biblical idea (chapter 2) which has fallen by the wayside because of various historical factors (chapter 3). The fourth chapter is worth the price of the book. The authors inform the readers about the framework on which ancient catechisms were built. The framework includes the Apostles' Creed, the Ten Comm This book is a call to the Evangelical Church to return to the ancient practice of catechising Christians systematically. The authors -- JI Packer and Gary Parrett -- argue that catechesis is a biblical idea (chapter 2) which has fallen by the wayside because of various historical factors (chapter 3). The fourth chapter is worth the price of the book. The authors inform the readers about the framework on which ancient catechisms were built. The framework includes the Apostles' Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord's Prayer. Packer and Parrett make a good case that modern-day churches should not lightly exchange this framework for other frameworks which are one-dimensional (like the stories model of the Sunday-School movement). The writers make the case that the historic model (Creed, Prayer, and Decalogue) address the whole person (head, heart, and hand). They also helpfully relate the historic model to Jesus's words in John 14:6, with the Truth corresponding to the Creed, the Way corresponding to the Ten Commandments, and the Life corresponding to the Lord's Prayer. This chapter is the bed-rock of the book and is well worth reading several times. The rest of the book builds on upon the foundation laid by chapter 4. Chapter 5 argues for keeping the gospel as the main focus in all catechetical endeavours. There is also a brief -- and I think necessary -- critique of the New Perspectives on Paul (NPP). Chapter 6 unpacks the Truth-Way-Life model (Creed-Commandments-Lord's Prayer) and helpfully relates this model to the gospel (which the authors call the "plumb line"). Chapter 7-9 are more practical in nature and give many suggestions on how to develop and implement a catechetical curriculum. Chapter 10 is a summary of the whole book. After reading the book, I realized how postmodern the Evangelical Church is (including the one where I serve). The Church lives and moves and has her being in the postmodern world, which has great contempt for history. Evangelical churches would be well served if their pastors and leaders take time to read this book, mull over its contents, and implement some (if not all) of its suggestions. By doing so, we would be well on our way to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus (Colossians 1:28)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Klynsmith

    Packer and Parrett give a thorough treatment of the necessity and helpfulness and blessing that a renewed whole of life catechetical ministry in the church would be. And they stir us up to pursue that end. I read this in conjunction with The Benedict Option, and am deeply convinced that a renewed catechesis will be essential for mature and steadfast faith in Christ among God's people in the troublesome days that seem to lie ahead. Packer and Parrett give a thorough treatment of the necessity and helpfulness and blessing that a renewed whole of life catechetical ministry in the church would be. And they stir us up to pursue that end. I read this in conjunction with The Benedict Option, and am deeply convinced that a renewed catechesis will be essential for mature and steadfast faith in Christ among God's people in the troublesome days that seem to lie ahead.

  4. 5 out of 5

    David Morrison

    A well needed remedy for todays church This is a well needed book for the life and witness of our church. So often modern discipleship can lack the roots and direction that is needed to enable faith to thrive in our modern context and thus Packer and Parrett advocate going back to the practice of the early church and many generations since and reintroduce catechising. They do so both practically and warmth; enabling church leaders to develop a catechising culture which avoids some of the pitfalls A well needed remedy for todays church This is a well needed book for the life and witness of our church. So often modern discipleship can lack the roots and direction that is needed to enable faith to thrive in our modern context and thus Packer and Parrett advocate going back to the practice of the early church and many generations since and reintroduce catechising. They do so both practically and warmth; enabling church leaders to develop a catechising culture which avoids some of the pitfalls of previous generations.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Evan

    I ate this book too fast. Only after a few days of digesting and mulling over the principles am I fully struck with the impact of what Packer has put together. In short, the authors lay out a framework for how to "onboard" folks into the church, which creates lasting relationships and foundational knowledge. While some of the book is academic and verbose, the content is electrifying and inspirational in that we are provided a historical, biblical way to perpetuate solid teaching in turbulent tim I ate this book too fast. Only after a few days of digesting and mulling over the principles am I fully struck with the impact of what Packer has put together. In short, the authors lay out a framework for how to "onboard" folks into the church, which creates lasting relationships and foundational knowledge. While some of the book is academic and verbose, the content is electrifying and inspirational in that we are provided a historical, biblical way to perpetuate solid teaching in turbulent times.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    Excellent book that lays out the need for a modern-day catechism and how to implement one in a church. Really anything by J.I. Packer is amazing, and this book is no different.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    This is a really well done book about the historical use of catechism in the Church to introduce people to the Christian faith and also using it as part of the process of membership for new converts. For me, catechizing is a fairly new idea. And, I think it's a great idea. This book was really helpful for me as it showed the historical uses of catechism as well as the different forms of catechism. Catechizing is not just a group of questions and answers. The Apostle's creed, explaining the Lor This is a really well done book about the historical use of catechism in the Church to introduce people to the Christian faith and also using it as part of the process of membership for new converts. For me, catechizing is a fairly new idea. And, I think it's a great idea. This book was really helpful for me as it showed the historical uses of catechism as well as the different forms of catechism. Catechizing is not just a group of questions and answers. The Apostle's creed, explaining the Lord's supper, call to worship and other things are all things that a catechizing church can do. These are all ways of explaining and reviewing the truths of the Christian faith. This book helped me to see that my church uses liturgy and catechism. I didn't realize it before, but I really appreciate it. I need those reminders. Another premise of the book was that the use of catechism should be revived for today, in church and at home. When I was growing up, I knew some of what I believed, but not why I believed it. So, now I want to use some form of catechism in my home to help my family and I was encouraged by some information in the appendices that offered guidance in that direction (some hymns and a list of resources). I started to read this book because I wanted to be encouraged in my faith. It wasn't quite what I thought it would be, but the job of encouragement was done. I highly recommend this book. It's good for background and for motivation.

  8. 4 out of 5

    John

    Recovering an Ancient Practice for Modern Evangelicals Historically, the church's ministry of grounding new believers in the essentials of the faith has been known as catechesis--systematic instruction in faith foundations, including what we believe, how we pray and worship, and how we conduct our lives. For most evangelicals today, however, this very idea is an alien concept. Packer and Parrett, concerned for the state of the church, seek to inspire a much needed evangelical course correction. T Recovering an Ancient Practice for Modern Evangelicals Historically, the church's ministry of grounding new believers in the essentials of the faith has been known as catechesis--systematic instruction in faith foundations, including what we believe, how we pray and worship, and how we conduct our lives. For most evangelicals today, however, this very idea is an alien concept. Packer and Parrett, concerned for the state of the church, seek to inspire a much needed evangelical course correction. This new book makes the case for a recovery of significant catechesis as a nonnegotiable practice, urging evangelical churches to undertake this biblical "Nothing could be more practical than the urgently needed wisdom that Packer and Parrett provide in this book. More than a call to recover a neglected practice, Grounded in the Gospel provides concrete advice to us all for dedicating ourselves anew to rooting the next generation in the great truths of the faith." --Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Theology, Westminster Seminary California Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way Available at Monergism Books

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nile

    What is catechesis? It is more than memorizing a list of question and answers that were written 500 years ago. It entails the full range of instruction and training for everyone from those interested in the faith, to the new believer, to the newly baptized, to the continuing maturation of church members. This book helped to broaden my scope from the catechism itself to see a more holistic view of training believers in the truth, life, and the way; engaging their heads, hearts, and hands. This mus What is catechesis? It is more than memorizing a list of question and answers that were written 500 years ago. It entails the full range of instruction and training for everyone from those interested in the faith, to the new believer, to the newly baptized, to the continuing maturation of church members. This book helped to broaden my scope from the catechism itself to see a more holistic view of training believers in the truth, life, and the way; engaging their heads, hearts, and hands. This must be done with concrete lines drawn around doctrines in the Christian consensus and evangelical essentials, while maintaining unity with the wider Church in spite of differences in Denominational distinctions and congregational commitments. Our church members need to know what they believe, why they believe it, and how it should affect their life. This book seems to be written more for the pastor who needs to consider how he is teaching his flock, but as a layperson, I still found it very helpful to understand what I need for the vision in my own life and the lives of my family. I am called to pastor my little flock at home and intend to do that with the Gospel at the center.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    There is an apathy and shallowness in today’s North American church that needs to be addressed. Throughout history, periods of revival and growth in the church were always preceded by a focus on teaching doctrine and the authors contend that this is the need today as well. Packer and Parrett present a strong case for the recovery of catechesis in the church based on several historical accounts and outline what catechesis should and could look like in today’s churches. The authors contend that the There is an apathy and shallowness in today’s North American church that needs to be addressed. Throughout history, periods of revival and growth in the church were always preceded by a focus on teaching doctrine and the authors contend that this is the need today as well. Packer and Parrett present a strong case for the recovery of catechesis in the church based on several historical accounts and outline what catechesis should and could look like in today’s churches. The authors contend that the Gospel must be the centerpiece of any catechetical program to be truly effective. They expand on this idea by arguing that living the Gospel is a combination of a sound understanding of doctrine and godly living in equal proportions. I found this emphasis on balance refreshing as one aspect is often put forward at the expense of the other.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Josh Wilson

    In their book on catechesis, Packer and Parrett challenge their lower church evangelical audience to renew the practice of catechesis for forming believers. Packer and Parrett charge that much of the contemporary evangelical church suffers from a lack of depth. They believe that intentional and ongoing practices for catechesis is vital to the church's vitality. Before looking laterally at other contemporary churches or ministries, Packer and Parrett point church leaders to the wisdom of the past In their book on catechesis, Packer and Parrett challenge their lower church evangelical audience to renew the practice of catechesis for forming believers. Packer and Parrett charge that much of the contemporary evangelical church suffers from a lack of depth. They believe that intentional and ongoing practices for catechesis is vital to the church's vitality. Before looking laterally at other contemporary churches or ministries, Packer and Parrett point church leaders to the wisdom of the past. They argue that the idea of catechesis is Biblical, while holding the particular semantics loosely. For a model of catechesis, Packer and Parrett are integrationists; they review models from early, reformation, and Puritan churches in an attempt to discern core elements common to the traditions. The authors also incorporate

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paul Kurtz

    I read this book because I heard the authors interviewed in an episode of the White Horse Inn radio program (WHI-986, Feb. 28, 2010). I thought their thesis - that the church is strongest when it places an emphasis on catechesis - was intriguing. The book did not disappoint. According to the historical evidence presented in the book, it does appear that the church has been strongest when its catechetical efforts have also been strong. And as the emphasis on catechesis wanes, so does the overall I read this book because I heard the authors interviewed in an episode of the White Horse Inn radio program (WHI-986, Feb. 28, 2010). I thought their thesis - that the church is strongest when it places an emphasis on catechesis - was intriguing. The book did not disappoint. According to the historical evidence presented in the book, it does appear that the church has been strongest when its catechetical efforts have also been strong. And as the emphasis on catechesis wanes, so does the overall strength of the church. Considering the lack of doctrinal depth and biblical knowledge of many in the Protestant churches I have been associated with, I think this is a message that Protestants need to both hear and apply in their individual congregations.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    I borrowed this from my pastor and read it to see what I thought. The first two-thirds of the book breakdown the ideas of catechism and how it currently looks in the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches. The history, background materials, and comparison charts are a wonderful read for those not knowledgeable; but as a whole, it reads more like a seminary textbook instead being intended for the average layman. The last third of the book would be most beneficial to Pastors and lay leaders l I borrowed this from my pastor and read it to see what I thought. The first two-thirds of the book breakdown the ideas of catechism and how it currently looks in the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches. The history, background materials, and comparison charts are a wonderful read for those not knowledgeable; but as a whole, it reads more like a seminary textbook instead being intended for the average layman. The last third of the book would be most beneficial to Pastors and lay leaders looking to build "new members" classes and redeveloping the Sunday School program. The major idea being the creation of the three tiered program of classes that identify new believers, growth and discipleship of followers, and the mentoring of believers and leaders of the church.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    In addition to Kevin DeYoung's great little devotional commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, The Good News We Almost Forgot (Moody), there is also J.I. Packer and Gary A. Parrett's learned and provocative argument for putting catchesis back at the heart of the church, Grounded in the Gospel (Baker). Taken together, these books are delightful, encouraging, and, for those involved in church leadership, challenging, calling us to revisit old paths in new ways, avoiding both the romantic antiquari In addition to Kevin DeYoung's great little devotional commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, The Good News We Almost Forgot (Moody), there is also J.I. Packer and Gary A. Parrett's learned and provocative argument for putting catchesis back at the heart of the church, Grounded in the Gospel (Baker). Taken together, these books are delightful, encouraging, and, for those involved in church leadership, challenging, calling us to revisit old paths in new ways, avoiding both the romantic antiquarianism of so much Reformed church life, and the consumerist eclecticism of the ad hoc approach to the past found in emergent quarters.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Linda Trostle

    Packer and Parrett offer some very good advice on establishing catechesis in a church. They discuss successful catechetical methods and content used in the past and explain how to implement them today. At times, the authors offer their own acrostics, acronyms, and other memory aids; however, I did not always find them helpful--I think it depends on one's learning style. All in all, though, it was a very good and very helpful book. Packer and Parrett offer some very good advice on establishing catechesis in a church. They discuss successful catechetical methods and content used in the past and explain how to implement them today. At times, the authors offer their own acrostics, acronyms, and other memory aids; however, I did not always find them helpful--I think it depends on one's learning style. All in all, though, it was a very good and very helpful book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Choi

    "Catechesis" is a strange word for a Baptist like me. But Packer and Parrett bring clarity to the matter. I appreciated the Gospel-saturated counsel and practical wisdom but also found it to be redundant and a bit too ecumenical at times. Overall, stimulating stuff that helped me to re-evaluate my philosophy of Christian education in the local church and at home. "Catechesis" is a strange word for a Baptist like me. But Packer and Parrett bring clarity to the matter. I appreciated the Gospel-saturated counsel and practical wisdom but also found it to be redundant and a bit too ecumenical at times. Overall, stimulating stuff that helped me to re-evaluate my philosophy of Christian education in the local church and at home.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Walter

    This one goes under the category of 'I didn’t know I was looking for this book until I read it'! The first half lays an amazing foundation for teaching the Faith. The way it is laid out shows how keeping it simple (the Gospel) can stretch way beyond the most profound aspects of what we believe and hold to as truth. This one goes under the category of 'I didn’t know I was looking for this book until I read it'! The first half lays an amazing foundation for teaching the Faith. The way it is laid out shows how keeping it simple (the Gospel) can stretch way beyond the most profound aspects of what we believe and hold to as truth.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mar

    States the Western (Evangelical) Church is losing its Biblical literacy and therefore needs to be more concrete in providing Biblical and Doctrinal Education to its members. Lays a foundation for why we need more education, but the reader has to piece together what she and her church will do with the information.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jason Mccool

    I really liked this book and would encourage all Christians to read it. Catechesis is a good solution to the rampant Biblical illiteracy in the church. I also liked the look at hymnody as the theology we sing.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Kin

    I found this book to be very interesting and helpful.

  21. 4 out of 5

    John Larson

    Very helpful book. Good historical overview of the practice of "catechesis", and strong exhortations to keep it up or, if necessary, pick it up. Very helpful book. Good historical overview of the practice of "catechesis", and strong exhortations to keep it up or, if necessary, pick it up.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shane Mcgrath

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

  24. 5 out of 5

    Todd Price

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jim

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kent Kessler

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Kim

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brian Lerkins

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