A Puritan Catechism - Part 1
The place of catechisms are far removed from the daily life of most Protestants. This could be for a variety of reasons. I suspect that the notion that it sounds "Roman Catholic" is one hinderance. I'm pretty sure that the hostility towards Systematc Theology is another problem. However, my strongest guess is that it is hard work to memorize and we cannot see the benefit of catechisms.
In an age where we have far more biblical resources than any other generation, we are surely the most biblically illiterate soceity. Part of the reason is that we do not study the bible or theology nearly enough. The extent of average Christian studying is maybe a chapter of bible reading per day (if the church has recently started a "Read the Bible in a year" plan) and a sermon on Sunday (which may or may not include the exposition of Scripture).
One way to combat this is to become familiar with the Catechisms of old. By far the most popular is the Westminster Shorter Catechism which can be located online easily.
The chatechisms are framed in a Question and Answer format to aid memorization. At this blog, I will be posting 3 questions per week for as long as it is beneficial for at least myself. I will be using A Puritan Chatechism compiled by C.H. Spurgeon. This catechism is almost identical to the Westminster Shorter (Question 1 will show this as the most famous question is repeated verbatim). However, there are less questions (82 instead of 107) and it may more closely reflect my theology in a few places.
So then, an introduction and the first three questions:
I am persuaded that the use of a good Catechism in all our families will be a great safeguard against the increasing errors of the times, and therefore I have compiled this little manual from the Westminster Assembly's and Baptist Catechisms, for the use of my own church and congregation. Those who use it in their families or classes must labour to explain the sense; but the words should be carefully learned by heart, for they will be understood better as years pass.May the Lord bless my dear friends and their families evermore, is the prayer of their loving Pastor.
1. Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.
2. Q. What rule has God given to direct us how we may glorify him?
A. The Word of God which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify God and enjoy him.
3. Q. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A. The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.