In Sunday School, we have begun a study of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. This past week was introductory. We looked at the history behind the Shorter Catechism and why Reformed Christians use catechisms.
If you are new to Reformed Christianity, you might ask, “What is a catechism?” A catechism is a way of teaching the truths of the Bible that uses a question and answer format. Ideally, the questions and answers are easy to memorize and easy to recall at a later time when you don’t have the catechism or the Bible in front of you. For example, the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is:
Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
Not too difficult to memorize, right?
Dr. R. Scott Clark, professor of Historical Theology at Westminster Seminary California and minister in the URC, has written a very helpful article on the importance of learning the catechism. Why We Memorize the Catechism
As Dr. Clark shows in the article, Reformed Christians have historically used catechisms to instruct children in the faith. But as I can personally testify, they are very good teaching tools for adults, too!
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Here are some links to solidly Biblical catechisms in the Reformed tradition: the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the Westminster Larger Catechism, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Genevan Catechism, and the Children’s Catechism.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism and the Children’s Catechism are, perhaps, the best catechisms for memorization purposes because of their compact answers. But any of these will help you have a solid understanding of the truth of Scripture.