is that I love confessions. And creeds. And catechisms. Christian ones I’m talking about here.
The Apostles, Nicene & Athanasian creed. The Westminster & Heidelberg confessions – and the catechisms that go along with them. I love how core, biblical truths are brought together, summarised and put into a form where even I can remember them. They don’t replace reading the Bible – they complement it.
But while they’ve been used and developed since the earliest Christians, our interest and use for them has died. What do I need to remember something for when I’ve got Google? Do i really need to know why the one who saved me had to be God, what the church is, or how can we glorify God?
I’d argue yes. Absolutely. When God brought Israel out of slavery in Egypt, just as they were about to enter the promised land, he showed them what it looked like to live as His people, he said to them in Deuteronomy 6:
4 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. 7 Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
When Paul wrote to titus, he told Titus to:
“teach what was in accord with sound doctrine” Titus 2:1
That is, lives shaped by grace. Just have a read of Titus 2-3.
The end point is not to just remember (or learn) what God says – that was the Pharisees problem. It’s to be shaped by it. And if we’re going to be shaped by what God says, we’ve got to know what He says. We’ve got know what His Word says.
So in tandem with our first Church History night where we’ll be looking at “Irenaeus and truths worth dying for” (14 April), I’m going to put out there something I’m doing with Jac and they boys, and we’d love you to join us. We’re going to start working through a New City Catechism that the Gospel Coalition have developed. There’s 52 questions / answers (one for each week of the year), and there are answers for both adults and children.
So we’re going to start working through it together. Not legalistically / pharisaically…but because we want to be shaped by God’s truths, and we think this’ll be a great way to remember them. Why not join us?
There are a number of ways you can do it – there’s a web site with the questions, and iPad app.