Two Questions with Larry Vogel…
Registration is now open for the 27th Annual Theological Symposium, “From Font to Grave: Catechesis for the Lifelong Disciple” (September 20-21, 2016). We have invited a few of this year’s presenters to answer a few questions as they prepare for the Symposium. Larry Vogel serves as the associate executive director of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR).
1. What sparked your interest in catechesis for adults over the years?
My earliest experiences as a missionary-at-large in Queens, NYC. I served in an African-American community for about a decade, working toward the revitalization of a congregation. God’s blessing on that effort involved the Catechism in a central way. The congregation grew and became self-supporting without a single transfer—every new member came from outside the Lutheran tradition. The Catechism wasn’t viewed as something Lutheran—it was a deeply appreciated summary of the Christian faith at its most basic and simple level. That gave me an entirely new appreciation of a booklet I had taken for granted as little more than a hurdle in a rite of passage for Lutheran adolescents.
2. What would be your vision for using the Catechism today?
I’d like it to help us in sharing the Gospel with the world by serving to recapture the simple joy of Christian life and truth. The world and humanity are a hot mess (Commandments), but our gracious Creator overflows with love in the gift of life, the restoration of our relationship with him through Christ, and the re-orientation of life that comes by his Spirit (Creed). He longs for us to know him and to live in continuing communication with him (Prayer). His gifts begin prior to our awareness as faith takes root and grows (Baptism), is continually renewed in a life of confession (Absolution), and is nurtured in the community where Christ feeds us with his own life in his body and blood (the Altar).