Saturday, February 12, 2011

Read and Study the Catechism Daily? Why? What is a Catechism?

While looking for a book I saw last weekend, I came across a copy of the THE LARGE CATECHISM by Martin Luther.  I was flipping through and scanning the "Preface" when I noted the following.  Luther states,
Oh, what mad, senseless fools are we that, while we must ever live and dwell among such mighty enemies as the devils are, we nevertheless despise our weapons and defense, and are too lazy to look at or think of them! And what else are such supercilious, presumptuous saints, who are unwilling to read and study the  Catechism daily, doing than esteeming themselves much more learned than God Himself with all His saints, angels [patriarchs], prophets, apostles, and all Christians For inasmuch as God Himself is not ashamed to teach these things daily, as knowing nothing better to teach, and always keeps teaching the same thing, and does not take up anything new or different, and all the saints know nothing better or different to learn, and cannot finish learning this, are we not the finest of all fellows to imagine, if we have once read or heard it, that we know it all, and have no further need to read and learn, but can finish learning in one hour what God Himself cannot finish teaching, although He is engaged in teaching it from the beginning to the end of the world, and all prophets, together with all saints, have been occupied with learning it and have ever remained pupils, and must continue to be such?...

Therefore I again implore all Christians, especially pastors and preachers, not to be doctors too soon, and imagine that they know everything (for imagination and cloth unshrunk [and false weights] fall far short of the measure), but that they daily exercise themselves well in these studies and constantly treat them; moreover, that they guard with all care and diligence against the poisonous infection of such security and vain imagination, but steadily keep on reading, teaching, learning, pondering, and meditating, and do not cease until they have made a test and are sure that they have taught the devil to death and have become more learned than God Himself and all His saints.
 (The Large Catechism by Dr. Martin Luther.  Preface.)

I am new to this whole Catechism thing.  I know very little about it but am interested in studying it out and learning more.  Last weekend I asked a pastor about the HEIDELBERG CATECHISM (which was on the bookshelf of the church I was attending).  He kindly explained the whole concept to me as I leafed through the pages.  The question and answer layout intrigues me and seems easy enough to follow.  I especially like how in the HEIDELBERG CATECHISM it documents scripture from which the questions and answers come.  I naïvely always assumed "catechism" was strictly for the Roman Catholic church.  Anyway, as always, I will blog about my experiences with this new book THE LARGE CATECHISM by Martin Luther.
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