The Rev. Alan Ludwig is a theological educator in Siberia, Russia. He recently shared this update.
“This year I have the special joy of teaching a class on the Small Catechism to adults at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Novosibirsk. I have done this in the past and am most pleased to have been asked to do it again.
“Participants are as diverse as can be. We have young adults, parents of Sunday School children, and middle-aged and retired folks. Some are longtime church members who wish to refresh their knowledge of the faith. A few are recently confirmed and desire to strengthen their grasp of the things they have recently come to know as truth. Others are inquirers. Whatever the case, everyone can profit from a study of Luther’s masterful summary of Christian doctrine.
“What could be a clearer way of presenting the saving Gospel to believers and unbelievers alike? The Catechism comprehends the whole story of salvation, from creation through the fall, to the coming of Christ and the building of his church, to the resurrection from the dead and the new creation. In the Six Chief Parts we learn God’s standard for our lives. We are confronted with our sinfulness and our need of a Savior. We are comforted with the promise of salvation in Christ and with the forgiveness of sins that He gives in the holy Christian church. We learn how to pray for God’s good gifts. We discover how these gifts come to us through earthly means.
Rev. Alan Ludwig teaches the Ten Commandments, as seen here in Russian, in the six chief parts of catechism classes.
“That such opportunity to teach the catechism exists in Russia is nothing short of miraculous. Only in this generation has the Small Catechism been translated into Russian. In the past ten or twelve years, it has become increasingly important in the life of the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church. In our parish in Novosibirsk, the Catechism is a major part of Sunday School instruction. From as early as age 4 or 5, children begin memorizing the Six Chief Parts and their meanings.
“Yet the Catechism isn’t just for children. It plays no small part in our seminary teaching and in the instruction of adults. While I find it challenging to present Christian doctrine in a way that is meaningful to Siberians in their cultural context, I have found that people everywhere have much in common. They share many of the same fears and temptations, are burdened by the same sin, and have the same need for forgiveness through Christ. I’m grateful to have a part in spreading the Gospel by teaching the Catechism.”