Dluxe's World

Wednesday, February 21

Catechism Links

It's fitting that I actually do something useful with this blog (for the first time) in honor of my 200th post.

In our ABF, we've previously discussed the value of catechisms and confessions for believers. The modern church has largely cast aside such things as relics of a 'high-church' past. However, I think that such summaries of the faith have a huge benefit if we'd use them well! Such distillations of Biblical truth can be great for our personal devotions and for family worship.

I pulled this list together for one of my friends, so I thought I'd post it here in case anyone else is interested.

1. The London Baptist Confession (Full text Online or Print)
While the Westminster Confession - discussed below - is the grandest of all the confessions, it has a decidedly Presbyterian bent to it. While this is certainly not terrible, it does mean that I personally can't affirm some of their ideas re: baptism and the church.

So, I offer the London Baptist Confession first in my list. It's really the Westminster with the more distinctly Presby spots overstruck with solid "Babdist" truth. There have also been a couple modernizations of the LBC I'd highly reccommend:
  • A Baptist Catechism (by John Piper). This document represents a slight update of the LBC with some helpful comments on each question by Piper.
  • A Puritan Catechism (by Charles Spurgeon). Spurgeon also edited the LBC (at age 21!!!) for his congregation at New Park Street.
2. The Wesminster Confession of Faith (Full Text Online or Print)
The mack-daddy of them all... The WCF was published in 1647 after four years of study/effort by the Westminster Divines. Almost all of the confessional language we'd recognize in the modern church comes from the Westminster. The Confession is the 'full' statement of faith as distilled from Scripture by the assembly. That confession gave birth to the following:
  • The Westminster Larger Catechism (approved in 1648) is the full, Q&A presentation of the essentials of the Westminster Confession. It is indeed large, but beautifully written and thorough.
  • The Westminster Shorter Catechism represents the essential, distilled substance of the Larger Catechism/Confession. If you're looking a Westminster to start your family on, this might be it.
  • A Children's Catechism is a simplified document based on the Westminster and geared specifically for families seeking to start catechizing their children. I can't find any specific info on the date/source for this, though I know it's relatively recent (1970s?). If you have info, post it in the comments please!
3. The Heidelberg Catechism (Full Text Online or Print)
I love the Heidelberg Catechism... Pre-dating the Westminster by nearly 80 years, it was helpfully divided into 52 sections, one for each Sabbath day during a year. Aside from making this ideal for family devotions, the Heidelberg has been pulpit fodder for more than a few Reformed pastors. It's also written in a exceedingly warm and pastoral way...

So, I commend these to your reading and study... May God use these great truths, 'by His Holy Spirit, [to] assure us of eternal life, and make us sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.' (The Heidelberg, Question 1)

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