Thursday, September 26, 2013

Starting next week. We will post one question each week from New City Catechism by Tim Keller and Sam Shames. We hope you will look at it and use it for your own personal devotion and edification.

But let me give a brief word for those you unfamiliar or a little weirded out by the word "catechism." It is a word that people often associate with the Catholic Church and rote soulless memorization. The word means "instruction" and comes from the Greek word katecheo in Gal. 6:6; Lk. 1:4; Acts. 18:25; Rom. 2:18; 1 Cor. 14:19 (ESV renders it taught or instructed).  This might be surprising to you, but in fact the Catholic Church instituted their catechism during the counter-reformation as a response to numerous reformed catechisms developed during the Reformation. The first Catholic catechism appeared in 1566, 25 years after Luther and Calvin developed their respective catechisms (Luther's Large and Small Catechism in 1529, Calvin's Geneva Catechism in 1541). The Heidelberg Catechism (1563) and Westminster Catechism (1648) are the most famous of them all with the former pre-dating Catholic catechism. The intent and purpose was that through them people would learn the basics of the Christian faith. Catechisms have been used in important periods of Christian renewal throughout history. The first would be the Apostle's Creed. Early creeds were another from of later Catechisms (it should be noted that some baptists have a problem with creeds and catechisms but there are Baptist catechisms you can google).

New City Catechism is a simple question and answer format that is intended to be memorized. It is short, only 52 questions (one per week of the year), and has a great web format with an ipad app too. Each question also contains a short bible passage, brief commentary from classic Christian works, short videos by great pastors around the country, and a brief prayer. I highly recommend you try it. You can even do it as a family since it has short answers easy enough for kids that are color coded within the longer answer for adults.

I would also highly recommend reading Keller's explanation of what Catechism is and why it is beneficial here.

Here is a helpful FAQ on how you can use it personally and with your kids.

You can check it out at or just wait for our posts starting this Monday morning.

I pray you will find it edifying.

Pastor Chris

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