Foundations for Faith: Building Blocks
Many traditional confirmation programs are built around a “Catechism”, a series of questions about the Christian Faith. Confirmation at Bethlehem includes 26 building blocks to be used as touchstones for understanding Christian faith and theology. We will make reference to the building blocks throughout class this year, so confirmands should familiarize themselves with them. In January, second year students will choose a building block for their second year projects to be presented at the confirmation brunch.
#1 Who is God?
God is personal, eternal Spirit, creator of the universe, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and our Father.
“Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God.” –Psalm 90:1-2
#2 What do we believe about the Bible?
We believe that the Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the word of God and the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” –Timothy 3:16-17
#3 What is God’s relationship to the world?
God created the world by his Word, sustains it by his power, and entrusts it to the care of human beings.
“You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.” –Revelation 4:11
#4 What does it mean to be a human being?
To be a human being means to be created by God in his likeness, free and responsible in relation to God, the world, neighbor, and self.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” –Genesis 1:26
#5 What is sin?
Sin is all thought, word, and deed that is contrary to the will of God.
“Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.” –James 4:17
#6 What are the results of sin?
The results of sin are broken relationships, a weakening of ability to obey God, and finally, eternal separation from him.
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” –Isaiah 59:2a
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”-Romans 6:23
#7 What is meant by a covenant between God and his people?
A covenant between God and his people is an agreement in which God promises his care and faithfulness as his people respond in faithful obedience.
“Understand therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.” –Deuteronomy 7:9
#8 What is meant by God’s faithfulness?
God’s faithfulness means God loves and cares for us throughout all our lives, both in good times and bad times.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.” –Lamentations 3:22-23
#9 Who are the prophets?
The prophets are chosen by God to show nations and individuals their sin, call them to obedience, and to present the hope of the Messiah.
“Then the Lord said to me, ‘What they have said is right. I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him. I will personally deal with anyone who will not listen to the messages the prophet proclaims on my behalf.” –Deuteronomy 18:17-19
#10 Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, fully human and fully divine, the promised Messiah who came into the world to redeem people from sin and establish his kingdom on earth.
“Then he asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” –Matthew 16:15-16
#11 What is the sacrament of baptism?
Baptism is the sacred use of water, commanded by Jesus Christ, to signify God’s cleansing of our sins and our welcome into the family of God.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Song and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, eve to the end of the age.” –Matthew 28:19-20
#12 How does one become a Christian?
A person becomes a Christian by trusting in what God has done through Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. This is God’s gift received through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or the will of man, but of God.” –John 1:12-13
#13 What is the Kingdom of God?
The kingdom of God is the rule of God breaking into history through Jesus Christ, working in the world and expressed in the hearts and lives of God’s people.
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink but of righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” –Romans 14:17
#14 What did Jesus teach us concerning life in the Kingdom of God?
Jesus taught us that life in the kingdom of God means we are to live in a loving relationship with God and others.
“ ‘…And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” –Mark 12:30-31
#15 What is the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper?
The Lord’s Supper is the sacred use of the bread and the cup as commanded by Jesus Christ. At the Lord’s Table, believer recognize his presence, remembering his suffering, proclaim his death until he comes, and partake of him in faith.
“For I pass it on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.’ In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying ‘This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.’ For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.” –1 Corinthians 11:23-26
#16 What is salvation?
Salvation is the work of God through Christ by which God forgives us our sin, frees us from guilt, and restores us to a right relationship with God.
“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” –John 5:24
#17 What was accomplished by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
By the death and resurrection o Jesus Christ, God conquered sin, death, and the devil, offering forgiveness for sin and assuring eternal life for those who follow Christ.
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” –John 3:16
#18 What is the Christian hope?
The Christian hope is the confident expectation of Christ’s triumphant return when he will reign forever with his Church.
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.” –1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
#19 What does it mean to believe in the Trinity?
To believe in the Trinity is to confess that God is one, and that he continually and personally makes himself known to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” –2 Corinthians 13:14
#20 What is the source of the Church’s life?
The life of the Church has its source in God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is created and renewed by the Spirit and Word, the holy sacraments and prayer.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask of think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” –Ephesians 3:20-21
#21 What is the Christian Church?
The Christian Church is all who confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and who are united in one body with Christ as head.
“Instead we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” –Ephesians 4:15-16
#22 What is the purpose of the church?
The purpose of the Church is to glorify God, celebrate new life in Christ, build up one another in faith and love, proclaim and teach the gospel everywhere, and care for the needs of the world.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” –1 Peter 2:9
#23 Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is God, everywhere present and powerful working in us, in the church, and in the world.
“But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.” –John 15:26
#24 What is meant by atonement?
Atonement means the work of God in Jesus Christ by which we, being guilty, are justified; being enslaved to sin, are redeemed, being alienated from God are reconciled; and being unholy, are sanctified.
“Yet now he has reconciled you to himself though the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” –Colossians 1:22
#25 What is a sacrament?
A sacrament is a visible and outward sign of an invisible and spiritual grace. The sacraments commanded by Jesus Christ are baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
“So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” –Acts 2:41-42
#26 How do we grow as Christians?
We grow as Christians as we devote ourselves to the spiritual disciplines of corporate worship, participation in the sacraments, prayer, Bible study, service, stewardship, and Christian fellowship.
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” –Colossians 2:6-7.