Line of Promise Press

A Catechetical Program
Using This Covenantal Catechism

Catechism Means Question and Answer

After Jesus had led and taught the disciples three years, He posed this question to them, "Who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Embedded in that short exchange is the essence of catechism and the essence of covenant. Covenant is God revealing Himself and his people responding. This catechism curriculum then, is built on that premise.

Since God’s revelation of Himself is one of words He expects His people to respond first of all with words. It is upon that "God speaking, people answering" dynamic that this covenantal catechism program is based.

Teaching What God Says—The Bible

The first part of a covenantal catechism program then will consist of teaching our children what God has said and is saying to them in His Word, the Bible. The series of books you see on this site is dedicated to assist in filling that purpose—to reveal through the Bible the Word and works of our God. We may call this first part Scripture Catechism.

Teaching What the Church Answers—The Confessions

The second part of a covenantal catechism program will teach our children how they should answer our God; what confession of faith they should make. This normally takes form by teaching them the confessions of the church to which they belong. Although Line of Promise Press does not yet publish confessional catechetical material, much is available. You will find a page listing material available on this site. We call this second part Confessional Catechism.

What Is Our Doctrinal Position? Reformed and Covenantal

These books are Scripture Catechism, and express a standpoint that is both Reformed and covenantal.

The teaching is Reformed.

The books teach from a perspective reflecting the great Reformation confessions — the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, and the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. They belong to the heritage commonly known as “Reformed” to distinguish it from the Lutheran and Anabaptist streams of the Reformation.

Our Scripture catechism books clearly follow the great Reformation themes of Scripture Alone, By Faith Alone, Through Grace Alone, By Christ Alone, and To God Alone Be the Glory.

The teaching is clearly covenantal.

  • The books and lessons teach that the Bible is the one revelation of the Triune God. God’s revelation is one, His church is one—Old Testament and New Testament—His salvation is one, always and only through Jesus Christ, from Adam onward.
  • They teach that God, from Adam to the present, has included children in the unbelief, and also in the belief, of their parents. These books therefore teach that infants born to believers are, along with their parents, members of the Church of Jesus Christ.
  • They teach that as God establishes His covenant with children, He speaks to them through His Word, also by means of catechism instruction, and expects and requires an answer of faith from these children.
  • They teach that the children are a covenantal unity of prophet, priest, and king. This means that the children, as image of God, have been equipped with intellect, emotion, and will. This catechetical instruction will seek to inform their intellect, their mind; to call for a response of faith and love from their heart, and finally to challenge them to choose, to act, to live, in obedience to God.

What Is Catechism?

Historical Background

Catechism is a term that embraces the system of teaching used in the Jewish synagogues, by the early Christian churches, and recovered during the great 16th century Reformation.

Although many Christians think that catechism is what the Roman Catholic Church does, during the 14th and 15th centuries it largely abandoned catechism. After the Reformation churches recovered it, the Roman church followed. The great Roman Catholic Council of Trent (1563) recognized the tremendous impact of Protestant catechism teaching when they noted, "The heretics (meaning the Reformers) have chiefly made use of catechism to corrupt the minds of the Christians."

John Owen, the great Puritan preacher and theologian said, "Amongst my endeavors after the ordinance of public preaching the Word, there is not, I conceive, any more needful than catechizing."

Definition

What is catechism then? The word comes from the Greek and we find it used in Luke 1:4, where Luke notes that Theophilus was "instructed" or "catechized" in the truth of the Gospel. "Catechizing" is teaching by the question and answer method. A "catechism" is simply a book of questions and answers to aid in catechizing.

New Testament—Preaching and Teaching

If you survey the ministry of Christ and Paul, you will find that preaching and teaching went hand in hand.

While preaching and teaching are similar, we can distinguish them in the following manner. Preaching is primarily declarative; it is a monologue. It is a faithful proclamation of the Word. It is done without interruption or discussion. Teaching, on the other hand, is an exchange between speaker and hearers. We call it dialogic or interlocutory.

Endorsement of Catechism

John Owen commends catechism teaching by saying, "More knowledge is ordinarily diffused, especially among the young and ignorant, by one hour’s catechetical exercise, than by many hours continual discourse." You will find that all the great Reformers and church leaders of the 16th and 17th centuries—Calvin, Luther, Knox—called catechetical instruction essential.

For more reading and study, please see our Resources page.

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