Why Catechism Classes?
On Saturday February 19th, at 9:30am, NLC will launch their Family Bible Hour. This hour is for everyone part of our Faith Family. This will be similar to a Sunday School set up, where we get to spend more time in a fun format learning God’s Word.
This season, we will be learning Catechisms. When I first mentioned this to a member in our church, their reaction was, “but we are not catholic!” True, the Roman Catholics have catechism classes, but they are not unique to the RC’s.
Almost every denomination and tradition in church history has used some form of catechism for the religious education of Christian children and adults: Lutherans (Luther’s Small Catechism), Presbyterians (Westminster Shorter Catechism), Baptists (Keach’s Catechism), Catholics (the Catechism of the Catholic Church), Anglicans (The Book of Common Prayer’s Catechism), and so on.
The English word "catechize" simply means to teach biblical truth in an orderly way. The terms related to catechism come from the original Greek word transliterated as katecheo (i.e., to teach orally, to instruct). The word is found in passages such as Luke 1:4 and 1 Corinthians 14:19. Paul uses the word and concept in Galatians 6:6 when he says, “Let him who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches.” Also, in Acts 18:25, Paul says that Apollos “was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord.”
“Q= What is the chief end of man? A= Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Those words are the first question and answer in the Westminster Larger Catechism, which was completed 347 years ago. The Westminster Catechisms—both the Larger and Shorter versions—would become some of the most influential catechisms in Christian history.
The New City Catechism, which we will be using, comprises 52 questions and answers, one question and answer for each week of the year. The New City Catechism is based on and adapted from the Geneva Catechism, the Westminster Shorter and Larger catechisms, and especially the Heidelberg Catechism.
Tim Keller, the author of this resource explains; “The Catechism is divided into three parts to make it easier to learn in sections and to include some helpful divisions: Part 1: God, creation and fall, law (twenty questions) Part 2: Christ, redemption, grace (fifteen questions) Part 3: Spirit, restoration, growing in grace (seventeen questions) As with most traditional catechisms, a Bible verse accompanies each question and answer. In addition, each question and answer is followed by a short commentary taken from the writings or sayings of a past preacher as well as a commentary from a contemporary preacher to help students meditate on and think about the topic being explored. Each question ends with a short, original prayer.”
The more we know God’s written Word, the deeper our knowledge of scripture and the more solid our confidence in the Lord and His ways will be. There are several good reasons for doing these catechism classes. Here are just a few:
- Helps children to memorize and routinely state biblical truths
- Establishes firm beliefs that are built upon a study of God’s word.
- Provides countless touch points for parents to connect with their kids on important issues of faith
- Helps parents solidify their own beliefs and what they want to teach their kids
It is our hope that parents will continue the discussion each week with their children during the week. Discussing the catechism of the week during mealtimes or while traveling in the car, while helping each other to memorize the answers, is a great way to drive biblical concepts deeper into the heart.
Talking about his own Catechism that he had written for his congregation, Martin Luther once said, “By the Grace of God I have brought about such a change that nowadays a girl or boy of fifteen knows more about the Christian doctrine than all the theologians of the great universities used to know in the old days. For among us the catechism has come back into use.”
Please join us on Saturday 19th February at 9:30am, as we help each other, store up God’s word in our hearts, that we can resist the devil and not sin against our Lord (Ps.119:11).