According to this article ‘Catechumen’ means one receives instruction from “a catechist in the principles of the Christian religion with a view to baptism”. I understand that some churches have this before baptizing people. I do not criticize this practice, but I am curious when this idea may have developed. In the scripture people are baptized immediately upon believing and there does not seem much delay in the matter. For example:
But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (NIV ACTS 8:12)
The Apostolic Tradition was the work of Hippolytus, written somewhere between 215 and 400 AD. Recent scholars seem to take the later date (source). The whole writing can be found here: Apostolic Tradition.
Among the 'oddities' of this Tradition, seems to be that people were baptized only after three years of catechism.
17 Catechumens will hear the word for three years...When the teacher finishes his instruction, the catechumens will pray by themselves, separate from the faithful...After the prayer, the teacher shall lay hands upon the catechumens, pray, and dismiss them. ...When they are chosen who are to receive baptism, let their lives be examined. (Hippolytus, The Apostolic Tradition)
I am wondering is there any evidence that this switch occurred before 215-400 AD, or not? Do some churches still practice a three year regiment?