Baptist Version of Heidelberg Catechism

Posted: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 in Baptist History, Books, Calvinism, Pastoral, Reformation

One of my favorite Reformation era catechisms is the Heidelberg. This year marks the 450th anniversary of the catechism, written in 1563. It has been cherished through the centuries for its warmth and practical approach. It has been described as follows:

The Heidelberg Catechism, written in 1563, originated in one of the few pockets of Calvinistic faith in the Lutheran and Catholic territories of Germany. Conceived originally as a teaching instrument to promote religious unity in the Palatinate, the catechism soon became a guide for preaching as well. It is a remarkably warm-hearted and personalized confession of faith, eminently deserving of its popularity among Reformed churches to the present day. [Christian Reformed Church of North America]

While this catechism remains popular among Christian Reformed, Dutch Reformed, and some Presbyterians, it remains relatively unknown by Baptists. who generally remain unfamiliar with the beauty and wisdom of catechisms (simply questions and answers drawn from the Scriptures). The first question of the Heidelberg demonstrates its richness:

Heidelberg Catechism Q1: What is your only comfort in life and death?

Answer: That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, who with his precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, delivered me from all the power of the devil, and preserves me so much that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head.

What a comfort indeed! And what a blessing has been given to us Baptists in the recent reprinting of a Baptist version of the Heidelberg Catechism first published by Hercules Collins in 1680, An Orthodox Catechism. I encourage you to get a copy and work through it, in personal and family devotion. It will feed the soul!

If you are interested in learning more about the use of catechisms, particularly among Baptists, go here and here and here.

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