What Catechism and Why?

What Catechism and Why? Using the Children's Catechism at Reformed Mama

You may attend a church where confessions and catechisms are very common place.  If so, you can probably skip (or skim, it’s not super long) this post.  But maybe you have just heard someone say they are using the catechism with their kids and you're interested.  

Well, where do you start?  

I'm using the Children's Catechism (also sometimes called First Catechism, Catechism For Young Children or some variation of that, each having a few different wording choices and a few different questions and answers) with my kids, which is based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism (something that many reformed Christians hold to).

To read more about the different versions of the children's catechism based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism, click here.

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The first option is used in many Sunday School curriculum in denominations like the PCA and OPC.  You can find a free versions of it here or you could buy the paper booklet from Great Commision Publications, you can find it on GCP.org, Westminster Bookstore, or Amazon (but it should only be around $2). 

There is also an older, slightly different version here as well. This is the one I've chosen to reference throughout on the blog.

For teaching young kids as soon as they can talk, this is the most basic catechism with easy, concise answers for memorization.  I also love that there are so many resources (books and music) available to help teach it. There's no re-inventing the wheel here. I’ll be posting some reviews of the many resources that our family has enjoyed. This is a big reason that I also decided to start this blog, to help others who may need to find all these resources in one place!

When my kids get older, we will switch to the Westminster Shorter Catechism for study.  I do think that learning the answers in the children's catechism will make this easier for them then, as they will have an understanding of the foundational doctrine (and wording) and be able to add to it with more detail.  

Before you discount the kids version and jump into the Shorter Catechism for study, the questions and answers in the Children’s Catechism are truly helpful and meaningful. This is not simple stuff.

There are many questions and answers from the Children’s version that I have seen first hand contribute in Bible study settings even with adults. Sometimes having a simple answer is helpful in making sure everyone is on the same page so I would recommend memory of many of these questions to people of all ages, tired moms included!

A good example of this is question 29, “What is sin?” A fourteen word answer - “Sin is any lack of conformity to, or transgression of, the law of God.” is helpful!  Then the next two questions go on to define what the two phrases “lack of conformity” and “transgression” mean again in a simple way.  

When we talk about catechisms, these are doctrinal issues simmered down to questions and answers.  The Children’s Catechism we’re talking about on this blog is obviously reformed (for more information about what that means if you’re wondering, you can check out articles like this, or this, or this). 

There are different catechisms used in different churches so you'll want to pick the one that fits with your beliefs or even just pick the questions from a catechism that you want to do with your kids.