Reactions to BJS Publication of “Catechesis: The Quiet Crisis.”

Here are some comments and questions from Lutherans on Facebook when they saw the post on titled, “Catechesis: The Quiet Crisis, in Three Parts, at Brothers of John the Steadfast.” [See Part 1 , Part 2, or Part 3.]

  • I was an adult confirmand and don’t even remember hearing the word catechism. I think the LCMS was afraid they were looking too Roman Catholic at that time.
  • That is quite alarming for a denomination built on true biblical understanding. Lutheran fathers should be ashamed.
  • What does it mean to be catechized with the Small Catechism?
  • During my new member class we went over it but it wasn’t the main focus of what I was taught from.
  • This is a serious problem. In my case, many members remember that they “learned” the Catechism, but cannot remember its content. Those who came from other denominations were received without any instruction whatsoever, save a one-time discussion with my predecessor. No wonder there are such problems!
  • But when you when you confirmed, didn’t you have to agree with the small catechism?
  • My husband and I are memorizing the small catechism with help from a CD by CPH.
  • Woe, that is sad. Over 30 years in the Holy Office I have supplemented with the Large Catechism, all of the Book of Concord, and the Brief Statement, but have never taught without the Six Chief Parts. Yet I have inherited two congregations where the Small Catechism was abused or ignored before my arrival
  • Tragic.
  • Should I not be able to speak, see or hear…may you find comfort in knowing that I have memorized the meaning of the second article, it will be my source of comfort as all other memorized Scripture.
  • I’d just love to have a class based on the catechism. I know many of our members are converts and have not studied it so a refresher for me (us) and something wonderful for them!
  • I have never understood how anyone in the Lutheran church catechizes without using Luther’s Small Catechism.
  • I was raised Catholic and after that all over the place. I would love a class like that.
  • Goodness, I’ve been a member of 5 different churches (LCMS or WELS) in the past 25 years (we moved alot) and I went to “new member information” classes at each one just to get to know more about the methods and teachings of each pastor. ALL of them taught from the Small Catechism. This is shocking that you have found so many not teaching from this source. What are they using?
  • At my church a program called “People Close to God” is used and at a neighboring congregation they use a program called “Basic Bible Christianity.”


About T. R. Halvorson

T. R. Halvorson was born in Sidney, Montana on July 14, 1953, baptized at Pella Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sidney, Montana on November 8, 1953, and confirmed at First Lutheran Church in Williston, North Dakota in 1968. He and his wife, Marilyn, are members of Trinity Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Sidney, Montana. They have three sons and six grandchildren. T. R. farms at Wildrose, North Dakota, and is Deputy County Attorney in Sidney, Montana. He has been a computer programmer; and an author, conference speaker, instructor, and consultant to industry in online legal information. He is among the authors of the religion column in the Sidney Herald at Sidney, Montana. He is the Editor of


Reactions to BJS Publication of “Catechesis: The Quiet Crisis.” — 5 Comments

  1. > “Tragic.”
    Short, sweet, certain.

    I am thankful that I’ve come to a congregation that expects confirmation instruction to be a three year program covering biblical history and Luther’s Small Catechism. Yet as a somewhat “larger” congregation, I’ve noticed that our “new member class” does not seem to have the same set of expectations. The variety of backgrounds of new members has prevented the class from having one “curriculum,” so to speak. Some come with extensive knowledge, some come with very little. To date, we’ve provided (short) instruction which is loosely based on the SC with supplements here and there. Since you’re invested in a good-looking catechesis resource project, you might know: Are there resources that can adapt the use of the SC for the variety of catechetical backgrounds for adult instruction?

  2. @T. R. Halvorson #2

    It’s a good start. Some of the challenge here is identifying the differences in context between catechesis for different groups of people. Right or wrong, the way “confirmation age students” are instructed is going to be different than “adult bible study.” The “new member class” has such a variety of past experience with christian doctrine, that they usually miss out. So this is a good start to build on. Thank you.

    Out of curiosity, how does your congregation handle adult instruction for those joining the congregation? What do you like about it, and where do you see room for improvement? (This is a general question, not just for TRH)

  3. @kc #3

    how does your congregation handle adult instruction for those joining the congregation?

    I went to the instruction class in my present congregation just for a refresher. The class was varied, RC, Baptist, ?, and me (life Lutheran). Basically we went through the Small Catechism in the same way as the senior confirmands, with elaboration as requested by those unfamiliar with it.
    [The only concession to previous knowledge was that I was not required to do make up classes if I missed.] 🙂

    It doesn’t hurt anyone to take another guided tour of the SC. You learn something every time.

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