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A catechism is an instruction by a series of questions and answers, especially a book containing such instruction on the religious doctrine of a Christian church.

Concerning this Catechism - Taken from A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa.

  • This catechism is a teaching resource expressing the basic Christian beliefs and cast in the traditional question and answer form for ease of reference.  Each answer can be used as an introduction to deeper and wider understanding.  It includes a commentary on the Apostles' Creed but is not to be regarded as a complete statement of belief or practice.

  • A further use of this Catechism is to provide a summary of the teaching of the Church for an enquirer.

  • It may also be used selectively in liturgical worship.

Human Nature
To Te Tangata Ahua

1. What is our nature as human beings?

We are part of God's creation, made in God's image: male and female we are created.

2. What does it mean to be made in the image of God?

We are free to reflect God's own nature, to make choices: to love, to create, to reason, and to live in harmony with God and all creation. However we are also free to disobey, or deny the reality of God.

3. Why is there so much disharmony in our world and in human lives?

From the beginning we have misused our freedom. We work against God and put ourselves in the place of God. We sin, we fall.

4. What help is there?

God has acted in Jesus to bring us back to a loving and forgiven relationship. In that action all humanity is offered re-creation and wholeness.

Te Atua

5. How do we become aware of God?

By God's initiative in our thinking and understanding: by experiencing and reflecting on the wonder and mystery of creation, birth and death, love, guilt and the need to find meaning and worth beyond ourselves.

6. Where do we learn about God?

Christians learn about God in the Bible, in the teaching of the Church summed up in the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, and through sharing in the living community of faith.

7. What do we learn about God?

God is eternal, earth maker, pain bearer, life giver; source of all that is and shall be; father and mother of us all. We learn that God is one, yet revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - a Holy Trinity.

God as Father
Te Atua Matua

8. What does the Church teach about God as Father?

There is one God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

9. What does this mean?

God creates all the worlds that are, and is sovereign over all. God is in all and through all, and all that God creates is good.

10. What does this mean about our place in the universe?

It means that the world belongs to its creator; and that we are called to enjoy it and to care for it in accordance with God's purposes.

11. What does this mean about human life?

It means that all people are worthy of respect and honour because all are created in the image of God, and all can respond to the love of God.

God the Son
Te Atua Tama

12. What does the Church teach about Jesus?

Jesus is the only Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, was buried. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

13. What does this mean?

Jesus is the promised Saviour or Christ, God with us. Uniquely conceived by God's power and born as a human, Jesus lived lovingly and obediently. In the time of Pontius Pilate, Roman governor of Judea, he died unjustly by crucifixion. Jesus was raised from death and now lives and reigns in glory.

14. What does Christ's death and resurrection mean?

Through Christ's death and resurrection we are offered forgiveness and oneness with God.

15. What is the nature of God revealed in Jesus?

God is love.

16, Why did Jesus, the Son of God, share our human nature?

So that we might enter into a restored relationship or covenant with God and live as children and heirs of God's Kingdom.

17. What did Jesus teach about our new relationship with God?

Jesus taught that we are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength: we are to love our neighbours as ourselves.

18. What did Jesus teach about the Kingdom of God?

The Kingdom of God is God's rule in the world, the presence of God's love, justice and peace. The Kingdom has come with Jesus, continues to come among us, and will finally come in fullness.

God the Holy Spirit
Te Atua Wairua Tapu

19. What does the Church teach about the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is God at work in the world and in the Church now, the giver of life and truth.

20. How does the Holy Spirit reveal the truth?

The Holy Spirit reveals God's truth through human experience, in the Bible, and in the witness of the Church.

21. How is the Holy Spirit active in people's lives today?

The Holy Spirit enfolds, nurtures and strengthens us in the love of God. By the power of the Holy Spirit people enter into the new life of the kingdom, receive Jesus as Lord of life and become disciples. They grow into love and harmony with God, their neighbours, themselves and all creation.

22. How is the Holy Spirit active in the Church today?

The Holy Spirit gives a variety of gifts to the people of God, produces fruit in their lives, and equips them for ministry in the world.

23. What is the fruit of the Holy Spirit?

The fruit of the Holy Spirit includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The Bible
Te Paipera Tapu

24. What is the Bible?

The Bible, or Holy Scripture, is a library of books divided into the Old and New Testaments.

25. What is the Old Testament?

The Old Testament consists of books written by the people of the Old Covenant before the birth of Christ to show how God was at work in nature and in the history of Israel.

26. What is the New Testament?

The New Testament consists of books written by the people of the New Covenant to set forth the life and teaching of Jesus and the Apostles, the growth of the early Church, and the good news of the kingdom for all people.

27. Why does the Church value the Holy Scriptures?

Because the Holy Spirit inspired their human authors and through the Scriptures God's word continues to speak to the Church.

28. How do we best understand the Bible?

We understand the meaning of the Bible, the Church's book, with the help of the Holy Spirit, who guides the people of God in interpretation and understanding.

29. What is the Apocrypha?

It is a collection of books written by the people of the Old Covenant and sometimes read in church, but not used to establish doctrine. 

The Church
Te Haahi

30. How is the Church described in the New Testament?

The Church is described as the body of which Christ is the head, and all baptised persons are members. It is called the people of God, a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a community of faith and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

31. How is the Church described in the Creeds?

The Church is described as one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

It is one because it is one body, under one head, Jesus Christ.

It is holy because the Holy Spirit dwells in its members and guides it in mission.

It is catholic because it seeks to proclaim the whole faith to all people to the end of time.

It is apostolic because it presents the faith of the apostles and is sent to carry Christ's mission to all the world.

32. What is the mission of the Church?

To proclaim the good news of God's Kingdom to make disciples, to work for justice and peace; and to strive for reconciliation and healing in a broken world.

33. How does the Church carry out its mission?

Through the ministry of its members. 


34. Who are the ministers of the Church?

They are the lay persons, deacons, priests, bishops; all the baptised.

35. What is the ministry of lay persons?

From baptism, their vocation is to witness to Christ in the world using the gifts the Spirit gives them. Within the Church they share in the leadership of worship and in government.

36. What is the ministry of a deacon?

The ministry of a deacon is to be a servant, both within the Church and in the wider community.

37. What is the ministry of a priest?

The ministry of a priest is to build up the Body of Christ in the world through the ministry of Word and Sacrament, pastoral care and teaching.

38. What is the ministry of a bishop?

The ministry of a bishop is to be a pastor and shepherd of Christ's flock, a teacher of the faith and a focus of the Church's unity and mission in the world.

39. What is the purpose of ministry?

It is to continue Jesus' servant ministry in the world by witnessing to God's reconciling love, to bring in the Kingdom of God, to build up the body of Christ, and to glorify God's holy name.

The Sacraments
Nga Hakarameta

40. What are the Sacraments?

They are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ to the Church.

41. What is grace?

Grace is God's freely-given love for people, forgiving sins, enlightening minds, stirring hearts and strengthening wills.  Through grace we are given strength to live as loving sons and daughters of God.

42. What are the two sacraments of the Gospel?

The two sacraments given by Christ to the Church are Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist.

43. What is Holy Baptism?

Baptism is the sacrament by which we are made children of God, members of Christ's body the Church, and heirs of the Kingdom of God.

44. What is the outward and visible sign of Baptism?

Water, by which a person is baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

45. What is the inward and spiritual grace of Baptism?

The gift of union with Christ in his death and resurrection, birth into God's family the Church, forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirit.

46. What is required of those seeking Baptism?

That they renounce evil and turn from sin to Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life.

47. Why are infants baptised?

When infants are brought for Baptism, the Church acknowledges that children can share in the community of faith, enter the new Covenant, and experience the renewing spirit of God. As a response to baptism such children are called to profess faith in Christ for themselves and to receive the laying on of hands in Confirmation.

48. What is the Eucharist?

The Eucharist is the sacrament of thanksgiving given by Christ for the continual recalling of his life, death and resurrection. It is the family meal of the Church in which we are strengthened in our union with the living Christ and with one another for service in the world.

49. What is the outward and visible sign in the Eucharist?

Bread and wine, given, shared and received as Christ commanded.

50. What is the inward and spiritual grace?

The life of Christ, the body and blood, given by Christ and received by faith.

51. How are we to come to the Eucharist?

We come trusting in God's forgiving love, having examined our lives and with goodwill towards others. We come to make thanksgiving, expecting to meet Christ, to be filled with new life.

52. What other sacramental actions does the Church provide?

Reconciliation of a Penitent; Anointing, for healing and wholeness; Christian Marriage; Confirmation, or Commissioning for Christian witness and service; Ordination of Deacons, Priests and Bishops.

To Te Inoi Ahua

53. What is prayer?

Prayer is our response to God's love. We pray in the name of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

54. What are the different ways of prayer?

We can pray with or without words, by ourselves or with others. The main kinds of prayer include adoration, praise, thanksgiving, confession of sins, intercession to God for others and for ourselves. The prayer of listening to God is called meditation or contemplation.

55. What is a helpful way for us to begin?

We can realise God's presence with us by being quiet and stll and by recognising God's love within us and around us.

56. How can the Bible be used in prayer?

We can use a passage or verse of the Bible to reflect on God. Through the words of the Bible God is able to challenge, give guidance, strength and peace for daily living.

57. What prayer does Christ give us?

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom. the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

E to matou Matua i te rangi

Kia tapu tou Ingoa.

Kia tae mai tou rangatiratanga.

Kia meatia tau e pai ai

ki runga kite whenua,

kia rite ano ki to te rangi.

Homai ki a matou aianei

he taro ma matou mo tenei ra.

Murua o matou hara,

Me matou hoki e muru nei

i o te hunga e hara ana ki a matou.

Aua hoki matou e kawea kia whakawaia;

Engari whakaorangia matou i te kino:

Nou hoki te rangatiratanga, te kaha, me te kororia,

Ake ake ake. Amine.

The Anglican Church
Te Haahi Mihinare

58. What is the Anglican Communion?

It is a world-wide fellowship of self-governing churches holding the doctrine and ministry of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, and in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. It initially grew from the historic faith of the English speaking peoples but is now present in many different cultures and languages.

59. What is the Church of the Province of New Zealand?

It is the Anglican Church in New Zealand and Polynesia, made up of dioceses and the Bishopric of Aotearoa in New Zealand and the Diocese of Polynesia. In character the Church of the Province is multi-racial and multi-cultural.

60, How does the Anglican Church in New Zealand understand the relationship between Maori and Pakeha?

The Church recognises a special bi-cultural partnership, founded upon the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, and seeks to express this in its life.

61. How does the Anglican Church regard other Christians?

Anglicans see other Christians as sisters and brothers in Christ, and pray and work for the unity which is Christ's will for the Church.

62. How does the Anglican Church regard members of other faiths?

Anglicans believe that all people are created in God's image and need to find meaning and purpose beyond themselves. All living faiths witness in some way to the reality of God, but in Jesus Christ God's revelation is unique.

63. How does the Anglican Church respond to secular philosophies?

There is much we can learn from them in the common search for meaning of life, but Anglicans believe only God can satisfy the deepest human needs.

64. How does the Anglican Church regard the scientific advances of our age?

Anglicans welcome those scientific advances tat add to our knowledge of creation, and all technological developments that improve the quality of human life, and thank God for them.

Christian Lifestyle
Te Kawe A Te Karaitiana

65. What is the lifestyle of a Christian?

By the grace of God it is to die to sin and rise with Christ to the new life of the Kingdom.

66. How may we live this life?

By prayer, by regular worship and by using our time, talents and money to serve Christ in the world.

67. What values characterise the followers of Christ?

Followers of Christ seek to be loving in all relationships, honest, thankful, generous and forgiving. They seek to honour marriage and the importance of family, to work for peace and justice, and to be responsible stewards of God's creation.

68. How is the Christian life possible?

Following Christ is demanding and costly but Christians have the support of their brothers and sisters in Christ and are strengthened and encouraged by God's grace.

Christian Hope
To Te Karaitiana Tumanako

69. What is the hope of a Christian?

The Christian hope is that nothing, not even death, shall separate us from the love of God which endures and prevails forever.

70. What does the Church believe about the last things?

That God in Christ will come in glory to judge the living and the dead, in the fullness of time. We look to resurrection life and participation with the saints in glory.

71. How are we to live in this hope?

We anticipate the coming of Christ and we live now in the newness of eternal life which the Spirit gives: we work for the fulfilment of God's purpose for the whole creation.

No reira waiho ko te aroha o Te Matua Kaha Rawa hei korowai mou.
May the love of Almighty God enfold you!