Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Westminster Shorter Catechism

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is guided by The Book of Confessions.

Sometimes, some people forget that.

Recently I was reminded that it is good to take a look at The Book of Confessions when one reads or hears in the media, or elsewhere, outlandish, provocative and inaccurate statements, just to get our bearings. Otherwise our eyes may roll up into the back of our heads and never come back to their proper place.

For instance, the Westminster Shorter Catechism was created as a teaching tool for new Christians many centuries ago (1647 to be precise). Often, little Presbyterians learned it at their mothers' knees. Or those adults who were about to become Presbyterians learned it to know what they needed to know to be faithful believers. Think of it as a very early form of Christian Education curriculum, done in a Question and Answer format, long before "Jeopardy" was even a glimmer of an idea in Merv Griffin's cranium.

The Shorter Catechism is one of the creeds and confessions in the Book of Confessions, and today I simply would lift up several of its many fine theological insights:

Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

Q. 21. Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?
A. The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, forever.

Q. 86. What is faith in Jesus Christ?
A. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.

Question 2 answers any concern anyone anywhere may have about what PC(USA) Presbyterians believe about the Bible. Question 21 answers any concern about salvation in Christ; especially when viewed with Question 86.

PC(USA) Presbyterians have always believed this. And always will.

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