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 alien. 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 ministry for the sake of their spiritual health and vitality.
On his 80th birthday, Packer said that the greatest challenge for the twenty-first-century church was to re-catechize and disciple believers. These contributions from two of our best Christian thinkers help us to do precisely what Packer said is needed. It will help you to see how to make not just converts but, as Jesus tells us, disciples.
—Chuck Colson, founder, Prison Fellowship
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 S. Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Theology, Westminster Seminary, California
Having been initially formed by Lutheran catechetical practices, I heartily endorse Packer’s and Parrett’s efforts to encourage evangelicals to adopt similar procedures for training both young and old in the foundational elements of faith. I want to prod parishes of all denominations to listen to Packer’s and Parrett’s cries and constructive proposals to better equip new believers. This is an urgently needed book!
—Marva J. Dawn, teaching fellow in spiritual theology, Regent College
At last, a book that tells local churches how to fulfill all of the Great Commission! It’s important that we ‘go’ and that we ‘make disciples,’ but it’s also important that we ‘teach’ new believers and help them grow in the faith. I highly recommend this book to pastors and church leaders who want to encourage Christian intelligence and maturity in their people.
—Warren W. Wiersbe, author, The “BE” Series
This book considers one of the ‘ancient ways’ as vital for the present and future health of the church but emphasizes two critical factors: learning is important; and catechesis is about the holistic development of the whole people of God. Christian learning needs to make a comeback in the church. This book will help.
—Linda Cannell, academic dean, North Park Theological Seminary
J. I. Packer and Gary Parrett offer a diagnosis and prescription to remedy our shallow faith and practice. While the prescription might not be popular in our individualistic, do-it-yourself contemporary church culture, it’s precisely the remedy needed to reverse the pandemic of narcissistic spirituality and lethargy plaguing the church.
—Walt Mueller, founder and president, Center for Parent/Youth Understanding
Many thoughtful Christian analysts have pinpointed the lack of maturity and of a biblical mindset among the vast majority of Christians as one of the most serious problems today in the church worldwide. Few have presented a concrete remedy for this problem as effectively as J. I. Packer and Gary Parrett have in this book.
—Ajith Fernando, national director, Youth for Christ Sri Lanka
Packer and Parrett argue that recovering the practice of catechesis can go a long way toward curing anemic Christianity. The book’s biblical grounding and theological structure should go a long way toward encouraging evangelicals to resurrect this ancient church practice.
—Mark Galli, senior managing editor, Christianity Today
Packer and Parrett move from history to explanation to application in their vision to see catechesis restored to the body of Christ. Anyone would benefit from reading Grounded in the Gospel, for this is no dry exercise in educational theory within the church. Rather it is a thoroughly informed and passionate plea to fully comprehend the essence and faithfully apply the implications of the Gospel. Pastors, elders, and parents will benefit especially from the vision and strategy of this timely and important book.
—TGC Reviews (The Gospel Coalition)
J. I. Packer is the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College and an executive editor for Christianity Today. Best known for his bestselling classic Knowing God, Packer is the author or editor of more than 30 books.
Gary A. Parrett is the professor of educational ministries and worship at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and the coauthor of The Many Colored Kingdom.