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Studying the Catechism

By Duane Garner

This coming Wednesday evening, we plan to begin a weekly study on the The Heidelberg Catechism. This document is one of the confessional statements Christ Church subscribes to and is a representation of the things we hold in common and believe together. It was written in the mid-1500’s by the German Reformer Zacharias Ursinus and is one of the clearest summaries of Reformed thought and faith available to us today.

While the word “catechism” itself may sound strange or stuffy to many evangelical believers, we need to understand that a catechism is simply a rehearsal of basic Christian doctrines written in a question-and-answer format. So for example, Question 29 of the Heidelberg Catechism reads:

Q. Why is the Son of God called “Jesus”, that is a Savior?

A. Because he saveth us, and delivereth us from our sins; and likewise, because we ought not to seek, neither can find salvation in any other.

You can see how in this way, doctrines are presented in a way that can be easily memorized and absorbed – especially by young people and new converts.

The first question and answer of this catechism is one of the most beautiful articulations of the Christian hope you will find anywhere:

Q. What is thy only comfort in life and death?

A.That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me, that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him. 

Over the next fifty-two weeks or so, we will walk through this catechism, hearing it speak to us and by God’s grace, growing in our understanding of the Christian faith. Come join us on this journey!

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