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Creeds, Confessions and Catechisms

James Dodson

A Presbyterian catechizing.

A Presbyterian catechizing.


“The Papists in the Preface to the Catechism of the Council of Trent, confess that all the ground which we [i.e., Protestants] have got of them is by catechizing; and let us look that we lose not our ground again for want of it.”—Edward Leigh, A System or Body of Divinity (1654).

Creeds, Confessions, and Catechisms and Works About Them:

The Principal Grounds of Christian Religion.-1625-Nicholas Byfield (1579-1622).-Published posthumously, this catechism contains the basic principles of the Christian faith. This catechism is at once Calvinistic and succinct. It demonstrates the Puritan concern for catechizing.

A Brief Catechetical Exposition of Christian Doctrine.-1632-William Twisse.-A treatise containing four catechism. The first designed to explain and distinguish the sacraments; the second treats the Lord’s prayer; the third expounds the Ten Commandments; and the fourth unfolds the articles of the Apostles’ Creed. This is a good example of many early Reformed catechisms written specifically for helping communicants prepare for a right reception of the Lord’s supper.

The Larger Catechism.-1648-Westminster Assembly.-The Larger Catechism was written for those who have made some proficiency in the grounds of the true religion.

A Most Familiar EXPLANATION OF THE ASSEMBLY’S Shorter Catechism. Wherein their Larger Answers are broken into Lesser Parcels, thereby to let in the light, by degrees, into the minds of the Learners. To which is added, in the close, a most brief help for the necessary, but much neglected duty of self-examination, to be daily perused. And to this is subjoined; a Letter of Christian Counsel, to a destitute Flock.-1674-Joseph Alleine (1634-1668).-This is Alleine’s work using the Shorter Catechism as a springboard for a more detailed catechizing. Not only are his questions on the Catechism’s questions helpful, his epistle to his congregation at the end of the work provides a brief apologetic for the practice of catechizing.

AN EXPOSITION OF THE ASSEMBLY’S CATECHISM With Practical Inferences from each Question:-1688-John Flavel.-A complete exposition of the Shorter Catechism done by way of question and answer upon the 107 questions set forth by the Westminster Assembly as Lord’s day exercises.

The Ecclesiastical Catechism.-1806-Alexander McLeod.-A discussion of church government in the form of a catechism by an early “American” Reformed Presbyterian father.

Creeds and Confessions Defended,-1810-John Paul (1777-1848).-A muscular defense of creeds and confessions and many other points of Presbyterian and Covenanter doctrine with it. Paul does not spare his opponent on any front. While not for the faint of heart, Mr. Paul explains why creeds should be without error and fully subscribed by all communicants.

The Utility and Importance of Creeds and Confessions.-1824-Samuel Miller.-Dr. Miller explains the purpose of creeds and their necessity to testimony bearing and avoiding communion with corrupt ecclesiastical constitutions.

A Catechism on Praise.-1849-Alexander Blaikie (1804-1885).-An Associate Reformed Presbyterian minister defends the practice of a cappella psalmody by way of catechetical exercises.

The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism.-1853-William L. Roberts.-An excellent overview of Reformed Presbyterian principles set in a catechetical form. Roberts covers many forgotten and neglected topics which are of important to the life and identity of the Covenanter church.

Jesus “Crowned with Glory and Honour.”-1855-Thomas Martin (1805-1879).-A catechism upon the various principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church giving a clear and simple presentation of them together with a survey of its history with emphasis on the mediatorial reign of Christ.

The Significance of the Westminster Standards as a Creed.-1898-Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921).-In this Address, Warfield places the Westminster Standards in proper historical context and explains both the beauty and genius of its theological formulations.

The Creeds and Doctrinal Advance.-1949-John Gresham Machen (1881-1937).-Published posthumously, this contains the substance of one of Machen’s many weekly addresses defending historic Reformed Christianity. This contains many tremendous insights in the purpose of creeds on conserving doctrinal advance in the church.