What is a Catechism and Why Use it in the Church?

At our church we have begun working through the Baptist Catechism in our Pastor’s Corner bulletin insert. In light of our working through this catechism, I decided to share here what John Piper wrote concerning the what and why of using the Baptist Catechism in the church. This is found here but here it is reproduced here:

I. What is a catechism?

In 1 Corinthians 14:19 Paul says, “Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.” In Galatians 6:6 he says, “One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches.” Acts 18:25 says that Apollos “had been instructed in the way of the Lord.”

In each of these verses the Greek word for “instruct” or “teach” is katecheo. From this word we get our English word “catechize.” It simply means to teach Biblical truth in an orderly way. Generally this is done with questions and answers accompanied by Biblical support and explanation.

II. What is the history of this catechism?

This is catechism is known as “The Baptist Catechism” first put forth by Baptists in 1689 in Great Britain. It was adopted by the Philadelphia Baptist Association in 1742. It is patterned on the well-known reformed Westminster Catechism.

III. Is there a Biblical pattern of doctrine?

Several texts teach that there is. For example, in Romans 6:17 Paul gives thanks “that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed. 2 Timothy 1:13 says, “Follow the pattern of sound words which you heard from me.” Acts 2:42 says, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15 says, “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us.” And Acts 20:27 says, “for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”

So it appears that there was a body of authoritative instruction and even a way of teaching it in the early church.

IV. Why is it important?

1) We are required to “continue in the faith, stable and steadfast” (Col. 1:23).

2) We are urged to “attain to the unity of the… knowledge of the Son of God…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Eph 4:13–14).

3) There are many deceivers (1 John 2:26).

4) There are difficult doctrines “which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16).

5) Leaders must be raised up who can “give instruction in sound doctrine and also confute those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9).

V. How shall we begin?

Make them part of your family routine or just use them for yourself. I am excited about being a partner with you in building a “stable and firm” generation who hopes in God.

Advertisements

One Response to What is a Catechism and Why Use it in the Church?

  1. Hi! Allen,

    Thank you for writing this for us to read and learn from you. Keep up with it.

    I just read this again and wrote a blog about this. Here is my blog What is a Catechism?http://boldlion.blogspot.com/2010/04/what-is-catechism.html
    I also add the link to your blog about this and to John Piper’s too.

    Hungry to eat His Word,
    ‘Guerite ~ BoldLion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: