August 31, 2006

“I Belong to God”

Category: Catechism,Theology :: Permalink

It may be easy for people to forget today, but in the time of the Reformation (and for some time after) the Reformed churches didn’t all subscribe to one confession of faith or one catechism.  Local pastors produced catechisms, not intending them to be the final statement of theology for their congregation but simply intending them to be good teaching tools for the congregation and, in particular, for its children.

Those days are largely gone.  Today, in Reformed circles, the catechism is the Heidelberg Catechism.  In Presbyterian circles, it’s the Westminster Shorter Catechism.  I can’t say I care much for the latter, though I do appreciate the way it begins (“The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever”).  I do have a great love for the former, and especially the first question and answer (“What is your only comfort in life and in death?”).  But at the same time, I wish that men were still writing confessions of faith and producing catechisms today, correcting some errors in previous ones, incorporating some more recent insights, and warmly instructing today’s young people.

One man who is tackling that job (perhaps in the spirit of Jordan translating Leviticus: see the previous blog entry) is Rich Lusk.  Here’s his catechism: “I Belong to God: A Covenantal Catechism.”  I haven’t read it in detail, but it looks good and I particularly appreciate its attention to redemptive history and its inclusion of typology, even in its explanation of the Lord’s Supper.  Good stuff.  I look forward to spending some more time with it in the near future.

Posted by John Barach @ 5:49 am | Discuss (3)

3 Responses to ““I Belong to God””

  1. Paul Baxter Says:

    In Jaroslav Pelikan’s recent book about creeds I noticed (while glancing through it at the bookstore) that he mentions that the Westminster Confession was almost totally unknown in Germany until well into the 19th century. We certainly do have a tendency to over-universalize the scope of theological standards.

  2. Nathanael Says:

    Thanks for that link. My next youngest brother and his wife have been going to Trinity Pres in Birmingham (Pastor Lusk’s congregation) for a while, and this weekend we will be worshiping there. I’ve heard many good things about the church and its pastor, and this adds to it.

  3. DadB Says:

    One of the problems with most catechisms is that they present the “correct” view without considering how that view differs from alternate or similar views. I recently heard a reformed pastor “explain” dispensationalism in a way that almost no dispensationalist would ever hold. Obviously that man does not know the view, but what he thinks (or has been taught in seminary) the view is. Many a “strawman” has been created to show the fallacy of a particular view. When I taught theology, I presented all the views and even received complements from those who were Armenians, for instance, saying that they had never heard a better presentation of their view.

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