Category Archives: Classic Catechism

Bishop Bastian post: “What Book Should Come Next to the Bible?”

Bishop Emeritus Donald N. Bastian has written a nice article about the Classic Catechism on his blog, Just Call Me Pastor. In the post Bastian promotes catechesis in general, gives an overview of how the Classic Catechism came to be, and discusses the international interest in it. So see the post, What Book Should Come Next to the Bible?, and enjoy.

And thank you, Bishop Bastian, for your priceless input during the development of the Classic Catechism, and for your continued support of it.

With Bishop Bastian at General Conference 2015.

With Bishop Bastian at General Conference 2015.



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Mentors Give Perspective and so Much More

When you feel small and sometimes out of place in your denomination, the timely attention of a mentor comforts and inspires in ways that are

Bishop Emeritus Donald N. Bastian reviewing the Classic Catechism at General Conference 2015.

Bishop Emeritus Donald N. Bastian reviewing the Classic Catechism at General Conference 2015.

difficult to describe. The relationship does not have to be an “official” mentoring relationship where both mentor and mentee have formally agreed to meet for professional or spiritual formation of the mentee. It might just happen around a shared interest across generations.

One of my unofficial mentors has been Bishop Emeritus Donald N. Bastian. When I began working on the revision of the old Catechism of the Free Methodist Church which became the Classic Catechism, I needed someone with deep Free Methodist roots and a sharp theological and pastoral mind to review drafts. Since I was still relatively new to the Free Methodist Church, I needed input to make sure the final product would ring true to Free Methodist ears, not only in content but also in feel. At some point, I contacted Bishop Bastian and asked if he was willing to review drafts and give me feedback. He was willing, and so the emailing began. The feedback was timely, wise, and greatly improved my submission to the publisher. Also, being able to mention his help in the preface gave legitimacy to the project, something a bishop can do like no other.

One of the benefits that became clear to me through the help of Bishop Bastian is the importance of seeking counsel from ministers who served previous to my generation. There is a timeless wisdom there and a way of looking at things that is at once unnatural to me and at the same time makes me wish I had lived in that previous generation. Ministers are very foolish indeed who look only to the latest books on ministry and church growth and mega church pastors who “know how to do real ministry today.” C.S. Lewis made a similar statement about books in an essay included in On the Incarnation. He wrote,

It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones.
Every age has its outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means old books (1977, p. 4-5).

I am thankful to Bishop Bastian who gives me a perspective that I would not have without his input. He is a precious, classic, “old book,” and I mean that with great respect.

May the Lord make more of us into mentors for younger people, and may he help us to be patient with them as good mentors have been to us.


Athanasius (1977). On the incarnation. With an introduction by C.S. Lewis. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladamir’s Seminary Press.


Filed under Classic Catechism, Discipleship, Leadership / Church Ministry

Classic Catechism in Telugu?

I just received word that the Classic Catechism has been translated into Telugu. What is Telugu, you ask? Well, apparently Telugu is a language Classic Catechism amazonspoken in India. All I know about Telugu I just learned from where everyone with Internet access gets answers from: Wikipedia:

Telugu /ˈtɛlʉɡ/[4] (తెలుగు telugu, IPA: [t̪el̪uɡu]) is a Dravidian language and is the only language other than Hindi, English and Bengali that is predominantly spoken in more than one Indian state, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and in the union territory of Yanam where it is also an official language. It is also spoken by significant minorities in the Andaman and Nicobar, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry, and by the Sri Lankan Gypsy people. It is one of six languages designated a classical language of India.[5][6] Telugu ranks third by the number of native speakers in India (74 million),[7] thirteenth in the Ethnologue list of most-spoken languages worldwide[8] and is the most widely spoken Dravidian language. It is one of the twenty-two scheduled languages of the Republic of India.[9]

So there you have it – it indeed a language, and apparently enough Free Methodists speak it to warrant the work of a translator.

If you speak Telugu and want a copy of the Classic Catechism, I will contact the powers-that-be and try to get you one.

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Classic Catechism Possibly in Third Translation

When my revision of the Catechism of the Free Methodist Church was published in 2006 as Classic Catechism, I had hopes that it would be put to good use in America. To date, it has been used in America – a bit. But what I did not expect was interest in it overseas. Apparently, the question and answer format is still one of the preferred teaching styles abroad. Also a basic, cheap doctrinal resource is needed in places where a pastor may not own any theological books besides a Bible. It is very popular in India (in English) and has been translated into Chin, a language of Myanmar, and recently into Chinese. I have just received word that there are plans to see it translated into Bengali. My hope isClassic Catechism amazon to see it in Spanish in the near future as well.

Revising the old catechism was a labor of love to provide a basic doctrinal teaching tool for teaching my daughter. The revision of questions was extensive as the phrasing, vocabulary, etc. had to be brought from the 1902 way of speaking to present-day usage. Plus I added about 30 new questions to fill in gaps and to better sync it with our Articles of Religion.

If you are interested in reviewing a list of changes I made to the original catechism, read Microsoft Word – Changes List for published catechism. If you want to read a document from a workshop on the Classic Catechism I did at the 2007 General Conference, see (Microsoft Word – Teaching the Classic Catechism – General Conference 20.

The Classic Catechism may be ordered from Amazon and from Wesleyan Publishing House.


Filed under Catechism / Catechesis, Classic Catechism

An All-New Faster Unto Thee

After years of sporadically blogging on another platform and after taking a break for almost a year, I have decided to build a new blog and start all over. This new blog, even though it has the same title as my old one, will be more focused than the previous one. This one will focus on the ideas that are shaping my own pastoral theology and practice as I strive to become a better pastor. Look for new posts starting the second week of July, which is one week after I move to a new pastorate. As you can imagine, I am very busy packing and transitioning from my present pastorate of ten (good and happy) years.

I have ideas for posts that involve reflections on readings related to pastoral work, book reviews, devotional content, practical theology, and the occasional post on systematic theology, which is an interest of mine. Of course, I will post a bit about catechesis in general and about my book, Classic Catechism, in particular.

For now, visit one of my favorite blogs: Bible Design Blog. This blog inspired me to order my very own ESV Pitt Minion which is coming next month! I can’t  wait to hold it, use it, and review it right here.

Also, visit my friend Billy Birch’s new blog, Will and Graced.

Links to both these blogs are in the sidebar.

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Filed under Classic Catechism, Pastoral Theology, Uncategorized