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This way of life is a consequence of faith, best understood as perception. Christian faith is a particular and peculiar way of perceiving life and our lives. It manifests itself in believing and thinking, in trusting and loving, in worshiping and obeying, but fundamentally it is a way of “seeing.”

Christian faith manifests itself in a person’s or community’s character, that is, in one’s sense of identity and behavioral dispositions. Early Christians were to have Christ’s faith and live Christlike lives (2 Cor. 3:18; Rom. 12:1-2), that is, to share in Christ’s character traits. Christian faith also makes possible a particular consciousness or the ability to be aware of God’s presence and action in human life and history and to discern the interior movement of

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Chilcote, P. W., & Warner, L. C. (Eds.). (2008). The study of evangelism : Exploring a missional practice of the church. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Created from amridge on 2022-10-21 03:59:40.

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the spirits. Evangelization and catechesis are the means by which persons develop their faith,

character, and consciousness. The process of evangelization does not give faith, nor does it produce character. Faith is a gift resulting from God’s action within a community of faith and our human response. Character results from our disciplined practice, but not without God’s help. Evangelization plays an instrumental role in transmitting faith and influencing character during the period of Christian initiation that leads to baptism.

Evangelization and Catechesis

Evangelization is the participation in and practice of the Christian life of faith, an intentional process within a community of faith that influences the transformation of a person’s faith, character, and consciousness, thereby preparing him or her to be baptized and enter upon a lifelong pilgrimage of being fashioned into Christlike persons. Evangelization is the initial stage by which persons are led step by step to a first commitment to the Christian life of faith. In the case of baptized children who cannot make a commitment of their own, there is an evangelizing dimension to catechesis, that lifelong process by which persons are fashioned as Christians.

The Christian initiation of adults, which is a series of rites and stages of preparation for baptism, is the context for evangelization. Through faithful witness to the gospel — evangelism — persons are attracted to the church. They come as inquirers. They tell their stories and listen to others tell theirs. The faithful offer hospitality and tell their stories, explaining the significance of the Christian story and the community formed by that story. During this period, those initially attracted to the Christian community are guided to examine and test their motives in order that they may freely commit themselves to pursue a disciplined participation in the Christian life of faith. They are helped to understand that Christianity is a way of life learned through practice and participation in the life of the church over a lifetime, and that the way to begin is to enter upon a process of evangelization that will prepare them for baptism.

Having expressed a desire to prepare for baptism, the candidates participate in a public liturgical act that includes being signed with the cross and begins a period known as the catechumenate. This initial period of formation includes the following: attendance at Sunday worship, engagement with the Scriptures, the development of a disciplined life of prayer, participation in the congregation’s outreach programs, and other practices to be described under catechesis later in this essay. This period will continue for one or more years. To acquire a new way to perceive life and our lives; a new set of allegiances, attitudes, and values; a new identity and behavioral dispositions takes time. Personal readiness, rather than time, is the crucial factor during this period of formation and testing. While the whole community is the teacher, candidates will have sponsors to accompany them and serve as role models for the Christian life of faith.

Chilcote, P. W., & Warner, L. C. (Eds.). (2008). The study of evangelism : Exploring a missional practice of the church. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Created from amridge on 2022-10-21 03:59:40.

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