A catechism is simply a tool used by Christians to teach the principles and doctrines of the faith in the form of questions and answers. Many Protestant denominations have lost this today, but historically, even the Protestant denominations had catechisms. These were often used for children and new believers. They are not by any means a substitute for the Bible. They explain and teach systematically what is revealed in the scriptures.
Catechisms are so important because they teach what we believe and why we believe it. Each catechism question and answer has scripture references for further study and to show where the answer comes from. We need to know what we believe and why. Not only does it drive us to worship our Savior even more, it also helps us answer the questions of non-believers and encourage fellow believers. The catechisms have been very particularly worded, so they can help us to explain a doctrine or principle of the faith in a way that has the same particularity. Our faith is not blind. It acknowledges and ascents to the truths of God’s word, and we believe these things to be true for us personally. Knowing these truths causes us to sing, to worship, and to live in a way that is in keeping with the truth, with hearts full of faith and repentance.
As Reformed Baptists, we use Keach’s Catechism and An Orthodox Catechism. These teach with the distinctives of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith (our historic statement of faith which explains what we believe). These are the catechisms we are teaching to our children. (Other denominations have their own catechisms.) Right now our children are 5, 3, 2, and 5 months. Our 5-year-old has some of the questions and answers memorized, and we often shorten the answers to help them understand the concepts for their ages. Our 3-year-old and 2-year-old know a couple of the questions and answers, but they still hear and participate in our catechism time during family worship and during our morning basket.
A great resource for starting out with a catechism is the New City Catechism. There’s an app available with all of the questions and answers, as well as songs for each one to help your children memorize them. Whichever you decide to use, my encouragement is- catechize your children! 🙂
New City Catechism – Great for those new to catechisms!
Our copy of Keach’s Catechism and An Orthodox Catechism were put together by our pastor.
What Is A Reformed Baptist? – Excellent article explaining this from Founders Ministries.