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Friday, June 19, 2009

Cyril of Jerusalem - Procatechesis

This morning I'm reading some Cyril of Jerusalem... He is a 4th century church father from Jerusalem. I am reading his writings and instructions to those who are receiving baptism. And he said something this morning that triggered an "ah ha" for me. It is in the "Procatechesis" #11.

He says this:
"11. Let me give thee this charge also. Study our teachings and keep them for ever. Think not that they are the ordinary homilies for though they also are good and trustworthy, yet if we should neglect them to-day we may study them to-morrow. But if the teaching concerning the laver of regeneration delivered in a consecutive course be neglected to-day, when shall it be made right? Suppose it is the season for planting trees: if we do not dig, and dig deep, when else can that be planted rightly which has once been planted ill? Suppose, pray, that the Catechising is a kind of building: if we do not bind the house together by regular bonds in the building, lest some gap be found, and the building become unsound, even our former labour is of no use. But stone must follow stone by course, and corner match with corner, and by our smoothing off inequalities the building must thus rise evenly.
"In like manner we are bringing to thee stones, as it were, of knowledge. Thou must hear concerning the living God, thou must hear of Judgment, must hear of Christ, and of the Resurrection. And many things there are to be discussed in succession, which though now dropped one by one are afterwards to be presented in harmonious connexion. But unless thou fit them together in the one whole, and remember what is first, and what is second, the builder may build, but thou wilt find the building unsound."

I guess for me, the "ah ha" was the realization that many folks, good, solid Christian folks in our churches (including Fox Valley Christian) don't spend any time on solid reading and study outside of the Bible. Obviously reading the Bible is vital to the Christian, and I would NEVER dispute that.

But when we finish reading our Bibles for the day, are we finished reading and learning about God?

I would say "no."

Maybe that's where we are missing it in the church. We encourage folks to read their Bibles. But then we don't encourage them to go the next step, or to lay the next layer as Cyril seems to say, by picking up some works of the church fathers or a current theological book of interest. I'm not talking about picking up some devotional Max Lucado reading (although I've read almost all of Max's stuff at one point in my life). But pick up something with some meat that is going to require us to think.

Maybe, rather than a book, you download a quality podcast sermon.

Just thinking.

But I think too often we are guilty of encouraging folks to spend 15 minutes a day reading their Bibles (which is awesome by the way), but then we don't encourage them to continue reading, learning and growing by picking up some other works throughout the day.

Thoughts?

Jim

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