Every Monday throughout 2017, I’ll be sharing the weeks catechism question in our Facebook group. Some of you know exactly what a catechism is because you grew up in a church that regularly uses them. Others have no idea, and you’re the ones I’m writing to because I was one of you.
What is a catechism?
Simply put: it’s a series of questions and answers designed to help a person grow in their knowledge of Christian doctrine. Generally, these are designed by Christian denominations to teach their denominationally flavored doctrine, but even in this, there are places of general Christian agreement.
How do you use it?
This generally depends upon you and how your learn. My method is to write out the question, answer, and the accompanying scripture each week. This gives me a distinct moment of doctrinal and prayerful focus during the week.
Some work to memorize the questions and answers, which is a fine thing, though I would caution those folks to go beyond rote memory and strive for comprehension.
Which catechism do we use?
Because there are many different systems and because most are designed to teach a particular denomination’s doctrine, it’s not always easy to find one that we can endorse. The New City Catechism, however, is one that focuses on the areas of general Christian agreement rather than pushing a particular denominational bent. That said, it does leave out some of our major areas of denominational belief, but we can accept this sacrifice in order to achieve a deeper understanding of broader Christian doctrine.
If you’d like to invest more of your time into the New City Catechism, I recommend visiting its website. There’s also a terrific iPad app. Both of these sources contain extra arterial beyond the questions and answers, such as scriptural references, prayers, and even commentary.
However, if you prefer paper, there is a printable PDF version that you can study as well.
The overall point here is that we need to take our faith seriously by studying the doctrine we claim to believe.