What do Catechisms Teach?


My last article, What are Catechisms?, briefly described the purpose of using catechisms: to teach Christian doctrine in a way that’s easy to understand.

Some of the catechisms are obviously related, such as Martin Luther’s Small Catechism and Large Catechism (both 1529), and the Westminster Shorter Catechism and Larger Catechism (both 1647). Other catechisms may build on an existing catechism, such as the Baptist revision (1680) of the Heidelberg Catechism (1563). Much of A Puritan Catechism (1855) is the same as Westminster Shorter Catechism (1563), but A Puritan Catechism is shorter and uses more modern wording. In the case of the Baltimore Catechism, the Larger one was written in 1885, with 421 questions. Later, the Baltimore Shorter Catechism removed some of the questions, leaving a total of 208, but didn’t renumber the remaining ones.

I’ve decided to read through some catechisms and post articles about the answers given, but I haven’t decided how I will organize the articles yet. I’m not intending to exactly follow any particular catechism, but there are common themes:

  • God
  • People
  • Sin
  • Ten Commandments
  • Christ
  • Repentance
  • Justification
  • Prayer
  • Lord’s Supper
  • Baptism

The list below are the catechisms I’m intending to reference for this series:

Catechism

Year

Author

Group

Links

Luther’s Small Catechism

1529

Martin Luther

Lutheran

Mt Olive Lutheran Church PDF, Archive.org PDF

Luterh’s Large Catechism

1529

Martin Luther

Lutheran

 

Lutheran Church Missouri Synod PDF, Book of Concord

Geneva Catechism

1545

John Calvin

Reformed

Reformed.org, APuritansMind.com

Heidelberg Catechism

1563

Zacharius Ursinus

Reformed

Westminster Theological Seminary, Heidelberg-Catechism.com

Westminster Shorter Catechism

1647

 

Church of England

APuritansMind.com, Matt2819.com

Westminster Larger Catechism

1647

 

Church of England

Wikisource.org

Baptist Catechism

1677

Benjamin Keach

Baptist

ReformedReader.org

Baptist Catechism

1695

William Collins

Baptist

LearnScripture.net

Episcopal Catechism

1789

 

Episcopal

BibleStudyTools.com

A Puritan Catechism

1855

Charles H. Spurgeon

Puritan

BibleStudyTools.com

Baltimore Smaller Catechism

1885

 

Catholic

BibleStudyTools.com

Baltimore Larger Catechism

1885

 

Catholic

BibleStudyTools.com

 

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