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Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 3

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 3

4
Q What is God?
A God is a Spirit,1 infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being,2 wisdom,3 power,4 holiness,5 justice,6 goodness,7 and truth.8

*1 John 4:24.
*2 Psalm 90:2; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17;1 Kings 8:27; Jeremiah 23:24; Isaiah 40:22
*3 Psalm 147:5; Romans 16:27
*4 Genesis 17:1; Revelation 19:6
*5 Isaiah 57:15; John 17:11; Revelation 4:8
*6 Deuteronomy 32:4
*7 Psalm 100:5; Romans 2:4
*8 Exodus 34:6; Psalm 117:2


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Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 1

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 1

Q & A 1
Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God,1 and to enjoy him forever.2

*1 Psalm 86:9; Isaiah 60:21; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 10:31; Revelation 4:11.
*2 Psalm 16:5-11; Psalm 144:15; Isaiah 12:2; Luke 2:10; Philippians 4:4; Revelation 21:3-4.


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My Favourite Shorter Catechism Story

Ray Ortlund has posted the often shared story of two men who meet in mayhem and recognise they have something in common.
It’s always someone’s first time reading this, so here it is again.

“What is the indelible mark of the Shorter Catechism? We have the following bit of personal experience from a general officer of the United States army. He was in a great western city at a time of intense excitement and violent rioting. The streets were overrun daily by a dangerous crowd. One day he observed approaching him a man of singularly combined calmness and firmness of mien, whose very demeanor inspired confidence. So impressed was he with his bearing amid the surrounding uproar that, when he had passed, he turned to look back at him, only to find that the stranger had done the same. On observing his turning, the stranger at once came back to him and, touching his chest with his forefinger, demanded without preface, ‘What is the chief end of man?’ On receiving the countersign, ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever’ — ‘Ah!’ said he, ‘I knew you were a Shorter Catechism boy by your looks!’ ‘Why, that was just what I was thinking of you’ was the rejoinder.

It is worthwhile to be a Shorter Catechism boy. They grow up to be men. And better than that, they are exceedingly apt to grow to be men of God.”

John E. Meeter, editor, Selected Shorter Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield (Phillipsburg, 1970), I:383-384.


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The Creedal Imperative – A Book Review

What does The Creedal Imperative (Carl Trueman, Crossway, 2012) promise?
In six succinct chapters, Carl Trueman: outlines the current cultural trends which deter people from confessionalism; outlays a biblical case for creeds and confessions; recounts the way creeds and confessions were (and remain) indispensable formularies in combating theological errors in early church history; overviews four major reformation era protestant confessional standards; demonstrates the roles creeds and confessions play in Christian praise and spiritual growth; and concludes by highlighting how creeds and confessions regulate and balance healthy church life and structure.
What I liked.
I started reading this as a committed confessional. That said Trueman opened up various tangents that I found refreshing. It was good to be reminded of biblical examples of summary statements of biblical teaching, forms of sound words or confessions being encouraged upon the early church. The notion that a church or Christian who claims ‘no creed but the Bible’ is bound to revisit every theological and christological controversy of the early church, but without the terminologies and formulations which the church expressed in creedal and confessional standards should prove very daunting. So much of the effect of creeds is woven into Christianity that most Christians outside of the creedal tradition don’t even recognise their effect. The chapter dealing with Confession As Praise is particularly practical as it seeks to remind us that the statement Jesus Is Lord is both confession and exultation, and, rather than being elements of formalism, creeds focus on God and his nature and works, which when rightly considered promote praise.
What I’m not sure about.
Personally, the contrasting of creedal and confessional material in corporate worship with the content of songs was intriguing. I have to confess a preparedness to adopt and use songs based on our own congregational discernment, as do most churches these days. The concept that our songs are sung creeds or confessional statements is something that I’m thinking about as I select them and think about their role in our worship and what that means for our links with our denominational family.
It would also be interesting to read expanded evaluation about the subject of rewriting or revising creeds or how contemporary formulations such as the one recently completed by scholars associated with the World Reformed Fellowship, or the Belhar Confession fit into contemporary church life.

The Creedal Imperative is an insightful introduction to the place of Creeds and Confessions in the life of the church for those who have not encountered such formulations, and a refreshing invitation for those of us committed to their use to ensure that their full value is realised in our church worship and life.

The pdf review copy of The Creedal Imperative was provided by Crossway Publishing as part of their blog review program.
Provision of the book did not require the publication of a positive review.


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Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 8

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 8

Q & A 12
Q What special act of providence did God exercise towards man in the estate wherein he was created?
A When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death.*1

*1 Genesis 2:16-17; James 2:10.


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Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 2

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 2

Q & A 2
Q What rule has 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,*1 is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.*2
*1 Matthew 19:4-5; With Genesis 2:24; Luke 24:27, 44; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 14:37; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Peter 3:2, 15-16
*2 Deuteronomy 4:2; Psalm 19:7-11; Isaiah 8:20; John 15:11; John 20:30-31; Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 3:15-17;1 John 1:4.

Q & A 3
Q What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God,*3 and what duty God requires of man.*4
*3 Genesis 1:1; John 20:31; Romans 10:17; 2 Timothy 3:15.
*4 Deuteronomy 10:12-13; Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119:105; Micah 6:8; 2 Timothy 3:16-17.


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Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 1

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 1

Q & A 1
Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God,*1 and to enjoy him forever.*2

*1 Psalm 86:9; Isaiah 60:21; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 10:31; Revelation 4:11.
*2 Psalm 16:5-11; Psalm 144:15; Isaiah 12:2; Luke 2:10; Philippians 4:4; Revelation 21:3-4.