By Sinclair B. Ferguson
We believe that the confessional documents we have adopted accurately encapsulate the teaching of the Bible. We do not believe that the Westminster Standards are Scripture. Rather, we believe they correctly and concisely summarize Scripture.
As followers of Christ, the world should not be left wondering what we believe the Bible to teach. We are not a cult where we hide our beliefs from others. We are a church, so we proclaim our faith to the world. A good catechism helps us to do that. It says, “Here’s what we believe. You can study it, question it, reject it, or embrace it.”
How then should the Shorter Catechism be used?
In the first place, use it for personal devotion. Study the catechism against the teaching of Scripture. The questions and answers are meant for reflection. Try writing them down or listening to them read aloud. Even if you have difficulty memorizing it, the practice of working through the catechism will not only reinforce biblical categories but also encourage greater godliness.
Second, use the catechism for discipleship. There is no better way to learn the content of the catechism than to teach it to others. It can be easily adapted for family worship, Sunday school, small group study, or one-on-one discipleship.
Third, use the catechism to promote unity and accountability among God’s people. The catechism is a tool for churches to stay grounded in the faith, guard the sacred deposit of Scripture, and pass down the truth of the gospel to future generations.
Used properly, the Shorter Catechism can help Christians, families, and churches pursue our chief end to glorify and enjoy God forever.
Courtesy and Copyright © 2016, Ligonier Ministries.
The Shorter Catechism : Why Bother? by Sinclair B. Ferguson