For the 2023 year, our church will work through a modified version of the Heidelberg Catechism in our corporate worship services. Click the link below to download a PDF version of the file:
“The first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism is the whole gospel in a nutshell; blessed is he who can repeat it from the heart and hold it fast to the end.”
– Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom
Why use a catechism in our worship services? Because a catechism is the easiest and fastest way to systematically teach the eternal truths of Scripture to new converts. Let’s face it: the secular culture around us is disintegrating into anarchy and chaos. Everything related to history and tradition is being ripped from the fabric of our society. If we will hold fast to the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) then we must communicate the content of the faith in succinct and memorable ways. This generation of Christians is responsible to build a Christian culture that will endure into the next.
So, what is a catechism? Isn’t that a Roman Catholic thing? No. Catechisms precede the Roman Catholic church and have been used by Christians in every century. A catechism is a summary of Christian doctrine given in the form of questions and answers. The historic creeds, confessions, and catechisms of the church anchor us in the eternal truths of God’s Word. They don’t save anyone. They don’t make anyone righteous. But they are efficient means of passing on the truths of Scripture. During the time of the early church, most converts were either Jewish or pagan and, therefore, needed to be shaped by the teaching of the Apostles. The Apostles Creed represents one such summary of the Christian faith used to train new converts.
During the Protestant Reformation, most new converts to Christianity were Roman Catholics who had believed the true gospel after hearing preaching of the Reformers. To ensure that these new “professors”, as they were called, had a proper understanding of the gospel, new catechisms were developed. One such catechism, known as the Heidelberg Catechism, was published in 1563 and enjoyed wide acceptance in Protestant churches. The following version of the Heidelberg Catechism has been adapted to align with our statement of faith here at Lake Wylie Baptist Church. Because the catechism was originally written for those with a Presbyterian view of baptism that section has been modified.
As we work through the Heidelberg Catechism this year, I pray that new converts will learn what Christians believe and that mature converts will find their faith strengthened. May God take our efforts to contend for the faith and multiply them by his grace and power.
Pastor Jonathan Homesley