29: The Catechumens

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? But I trust lo that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

2nd Corinthians 13:5-6

The early Church went to the most enormous lengths to protect the Communion Feast and to guard against false professions. In this day of easy belief when a simple decision is often untried and untested by the spiritual oversight the concept of the catechumen appears foreign and unnecessary.

The catechumen was a ‘half-Christian’ to express it in the most basic fashion. This was a class of individuals who were not baptised but who had professed faith in Jesus Christ. Full acceptance into the faith, however, was not assured until baptism. Therefore the catechumen had to leave the place of worship along with the unbelievers before the Lord’s Supper was celebrated.

In this period between profession and baptism the catechumen was taught or catechised. The catechumen was essentially one who was catechised in the faith. This was a time of testing, questioning, learning, and discovering. The modern equivalent would be the discipleship class where new converts are gathered together for appropriate teaching.

Recognising that false professions endangered souls by encouraging a dependence upon false hope, the Church engaged this practise. They also knew that false professions today is the breeding ground for false teachers tomorrow. Guarding souls and the faith must continue to be the focus of the Church of Christ, as the baton of truth is passed from one generation to the next.

“Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear”
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear”
With a generous heart, embrace God’s Word
And let it bear fruit a hundredfold!”

Leila Seco

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