In reading The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher, I’ve been challenged to read (and reread) historic creeds and confessions. I know some evangelicals sour on creeds, but I don’t see them any differently than I would denominational or church statement of faiths (or different theological works).

Creeds are meant to be a summary of what we believe about the Bible. Evangelicals tend to forget the church existed before the 1950s and that we have two thousand years of a very rich heritage. We can learn from the past.

Catechisms were (and are) used to train disciples in the faith. They are a series of questions and answers. Ideally meant to be memorized so one can better articulate and defend the faith.

I started to reread through the Heidelberg Catechism, and I want to share the very first question and answer.

First, a little background, the Heidelberg Catechism, written by Zacharius Ursinus and Caspar Olevianus, was first published in 1563 in German and then in 1566 in Dutch. The National (Reformed) Synods of the 16th century adopted the Heidelberg Catechism as one of the Three Forms of Unity, requiring office-bearers to subscribe to it and pastors to explain it to the churches.

The very first question asks, “What is your only comfort in life and death?”

The Catechism answers:

That I am not my own,[1] but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death,[2] to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.[3] He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil.[5] He also preserves me in such a way[6] that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head;[7] indeed, all things must work together for my salvation.[8] Therefore, by His Holy Spirit He also assures me of eternal life[9] and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him.[10]

[1] I Cor. 6:19, 20 [2] Rom. 14:7-9. [3] I Cor. 3:23; Tit. 2:14. [4] I Pet. 1:18, 19; I John 1:7; 2:2. [5] John 8:34-36; Heb. 2:14, 15; I John 3:8. [6] John 6:39, 40; 10:27-30; II Thess. 3:3; I Pet. 1:5. [7] Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 21:16-18. [8] Rom. 8:28. [9] Rom. 8:15, 16; II Cor. 1:21, 22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13, 14. [10] Rom. 8:14.

How would you answer? Is Jesus the source of your comfort or is something else? The answer you give is of eternal importance.

Drop me a line if you want to know more (or leave a comment below).

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