In February 2014, the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR), with the concurrence of the Synod president and the help of Concordia Publishing House, began a process to update the Explanation of Luther's Small Catechism at the request of the 2013 Synod convention.
The process began with the first of six surveys emailed monthly through July 2014 to rostered workers of the Synod for input on the current and future state of the Explanation.
The first part of the survey pertained to the Ten Commandments; the second, the Apostles' Creed; the third, the Lord's Prayer; the fourth, the Sacraments and Baptism; the fifth, Confession; and the sixth, Lord's Supper.
The revised Explanation is not a new translation of the text of the catechism itself, last amended in 1986.
The Explanation of the catechism was last revised in 1991. According to the 2013 convention Res. 3-13A, “many changes in the understanding of morals, civil law and natural law in church and society” have occurred.
Addressing these societal “changes in understanding” — and even legislation — in such areas as same-sex marriage, beginning-and-end-of-life issues, drug legalization and religious liberties is a main rationale behind the impetus to update the Explanation.
After the survey ends, a roughly yearlong drafting process will begin by a committee working under the oversight of the CTCR. The changes will be field tested and revised further after consultation and with the consent of the LCMS president's office. The revised Explanation will be ready for publication by the 2016 Synod convention.
Questions? Please contact the LCMS Church Information Center at 888-THE LCMS (843-5267) or firstname.lastname@example.org.