Back To Catechesis

Some of us would remember the days of Sunday School and our encounter with the Heidelberg Catechism and our laborious struggle through a seemingly archaic document. I am not sure how many churches still promote the use of catechisms, especially for the children and their exposure to the Bible and doctrine, but I doubt that it is used widely. The absence of this practice might leave a gap bigger than we think, not only for children but also for adults.

Tim Keller’s take on the absence of catechisms and the potential benefits of introducing them into the church:

“Catechesis is also different from listening to a sermon or lecture—or reading a book—in that it is deeply communal and participatory. The practice of question-answer recitation brings instructors and students into a naturally interactive, dialogical process of learning. It creates true community as teachers help students—and students help each other—understand and remember material. Parents catechize their children. Church leaders catechize new members with shorter catechisms and new leaders with more extensive ones. All of this systematically builds relationships. In fact, because of the richness of the material, catechetical questions and answers may be incorporated into corporate worship itself, where the church as a body can confess their faith and respond to God with praise.

Our people desperately need richer, more comprehensive instruction. Returning to catechesis—now—is one important way to give it.”

Why Catechesis Now?, Tim Keller

On October 15 The Gospel Coalition, with the help of Tim Keller, launched The New City Catechism. The Catechism is adapted from the four prominent Reformation-era catechisms and provides a joint child & adult catechism. Read more about The New City Catechism here, see the Web app here, see the iPad app here.

I think this might prove to be a very valuable tool available to the church today.