The Heidelberg Catechism () was composed in the city of Heidelberg, soon became the most ecumenical of the Reformed catechisms and confes- sions. The Heidelberg Catechism, the second of our doctrinal standards, was written in fluential and the most generally accepted of the several catechisms of. The Heidelberg Catechism received its name from being composed in After the Catechism was approved by a Heidelberg Synod in January , three.

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Original Publication Data: The Commentary of Dr. Zacharias Ursinus on The Heidelberg Catechism. Translated from the original Latin by George W. Williard. Heidelberg Catechism. A.D. 1. Lord's Day. Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death? Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death. quarrel took place at the altar of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Heidelberg, CONTENT OF THE HEIDELBERG CATECHISM - ENGLISH VERSION OF.

Characteristic is his strict analytical approach to the text of the catechism. He always starts with an analysis of the Question, while others take that for 4 granted.

The motivation he detects in Q53 is that there are heretics that deny the deity of the Spirit and others that consider his work in the believer a fancy. If necessary, he subdivides these parts into smaller ones, and considers the words in turn, illustrating each by Biblical texts to show that even the smallest parts conform to Scripture.

He digresses only occasionally on points of difference with Catholics or Anabaptists.

Heidelberg Catechism

His language is plain, his exposition interspersed with comparisons with daily life, sayings, stories from church history or personal experience, and simple syllogisms, making his commentary a pleasure to read.

He emphasizes that God is absolutely faithful and he points to lessons that can be learned.

Many a sentence as well as the introduction may come straight from his sermons. Nevertheless, his straightforward interpretation of the catechism was not what contemporaries were looking for.

This is still applies, at least in regard to the sixteenth century.

Ursinus wished all theologians to be like Tossanus. If this also applies to his sermons, we do wise not to neglect these outlines. Tossanus opens his sermon by stating that he will now discuss the restoration of the image of God in man through the Spirit.

This Spirit is a real person because He was active in creation. With some speaking examples he makes clear that we are not acceptable to God without the recreating work of the Spirit.

It is only in the last few paragraphs of his sermon that Tossanus touches upon the words of the catechism.

Heidelberg Catechism

The Spirit works the faith in us by which He makes us one with Christ. Tossanus also uses the titles of the Spirit to characterize his work: living water, seal, fountain, and paraclete. We should make sure not to grieve this Holy Spirit. In his thematic approach Tossanus shows himself an able communicator, even in this outline.

Most of the message of the catechism comes through, especially of the second part of the Answer. He is remembered most as a renowned mathematician and astronomer.

As a Dutch Reformed minister he published his Latin Catechism sermons in In his twentieth sermon Lansbergius deals with the Holy Spirit, successively explaining his person and office. He first defends his deity, next the trinity. He argues in a strict logical way making heavy use of syllogisms, finally to conclude that the catechistes is right when in the first part of the Answer he states that the Holy Spirit is the true and eternal God.

The second part of his sermon is more heartwarming, but only takes up less than one third of the total sermon, though discussing seventy percent of the Answer.

This has to be an incentive to a holy life. Here Lansbergius follows Bastingius closely, though adding some elements of his own.

The second part of the sermon is still inspired by Bastingius, but there he follows him loosely. Against heretics, he wants to instruct his congregation in positive doctrine. Spindler extensively paraphrases the second part of Answer 53, stressing that the Spirit is the indispensable link between Christ and us to receive his blessings.

Heidelberg Catechism

He delves deeper into the work of the Spirit in the believer by elaborating the names of the Spirit that Ursinus had already mentioned, though in a different order. Judging from the space allotted to the remaining of the Spirit with us forever this is the most important theme to Spindler.

He closes his sermon with an exhortation to be patient in affliction and — like Bastingius and Lansbergius — not to grieve the Spirit by an unholy life. He concludes with a prayer to the Holy Spirit summarizing the sermon in a few lines. Conclusion Looking to the method and content of these commentaries and sermons on the Heidelberg Catechism gives an impression of doing Reformed theology using this catechism as a starting point.

In interpreting HC 53 content seems 7 to differ less than method. There are clear indications that the authors influenced one another in topics to be discussed, Ursinus ranking high immediately. It would be interesting to trace how the theology of Melanchthon, Bullinger, Calvin, and others informed the interpretation of the HC as well. All commentators do their utmost to show the conformity of the catechism to Holy Scripture. The emphases differ.

Some commentators appear to be more interested in proving the deity of the Holy Spirit using logic and in defending right doctrine. Others stress the personal aspects of the second point of the Answer and the comfort believers may draw from it. We may also note a kind of implicit criticism in those commentators who add elements missing in the catechism, like creation. It is striking that no commentator — except Tossanus to a certain extent — seems interested in the working of the Spirit with the Word and that none mentions the special visible gifts of the Spirit, except Olevianus who denies them.

No one is refuting the Spiritual immediacy of the early Anabaptists or the Spiritualist mysticism of the inner Word and the immediate experience of the Spirit, though we have to take into account that we have studied only one catechism Question.

Because there is no authoritative interpretation of the HC, not even the one by Ursinus, I hope to have shown 1 that when we use the catechism in our churches it can be worthwhile to see how these early commentaries and sermons interpreted it.

And 2 that their reading of the catechism may add a not unimportant facet to the study of the reception history of the Heidelberger. Kees de Wildt cpdewildt solcon. Fesko, and Aleida Siller ed. Vijf jaar geschiedbeoefening in het Kerkhistorisch Gezelschap S.

Leiden: Kerkhistorisch Gezelschap S. This document contains a modern English version of the Heidelberg Catechism of , one of the most famous catechisms of the Reformation. What is a Catechism? It refers to the education in the faith of Children, young people and adults. The whole course lasted two or more commonly three years and was designed for adult converts from paganism. Often they were used in connection with the sacrament of Confession.

At this time, too, catechisms were designed with the needs of children in mind. One of the better known is the Catechizon prepared by John Colet c. The Reformation The Reformation, with its insistence on religious instruction, brought a flood of new catechisms, commonly in the form of questions and answers. Lutherans, Reformed, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Baptists and Congregationalists all made active use of them.

Teaching the catechism took place in a number of settings: at home, at school, in church services and in universities. Adults were expected to be familiar with the catechism and study it regularly. Parents were responsible to teach it at home.

Special classes for children were provided by the minister. Later Developments In the eighteenth century John Wesley encouraged catechising, but in many other circles the teaching of catechisms degenerated into rote learning of questions and answers. Church members frequently came to know them only as boring material imposed by authority. Rationalists and Liberals no longer accepted the orthodoxy that the catechisms represented. Many ministers came to see them as historical monuments rather than living witnesses.

From the middle of the nineteenth century they progressively fell into disuse in the major Protestant churches. In the United States, for example, , copies of the Westminster Shorter —2— Catechism were sold in , but only 22, in Today in many Australian denominations catechisms have been so entirely forgotten that the word itself is strange and unfamiliar.

Professional theologians, of course, did not forget them. In the neo-orthodox theologian Karl Barth put this viewpoint to a group of teachers of religion: Why bother with the Heidelberg Catechism?

A little historical interest is not reason enough. It is not enough that until about a hundred years ago the catechism was used in church and school in Switzerland also.

A historical argument is even less convincing in light of the fact that for the past hundred years the value of the catechism has been questioned from all sides not least from the side of modern pedagogy and finally laid aside. But it is becoming clear just in our time that what the Heidelberg Catechism once represented cannot be destroyed by a short century of rejection.

This document deserves at least a respectful hearing. It is not of course an authority to be acknowledged without question.

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The Reformed Church knows only the one authority of Holy Scripture. But alongside or better: under Scripture there is also a legitimate witness to Scripture. That is what the Heidelberg Catechism intends to be.Olevianus pastorally concentrates on the benefits of Christ brought to us by the Spirit. What takes place [SCat 31 in true repentance or conversion? Anca Neagoe.

Vijf jaar geschiedbeoefening in het Kerkhistorisch Gezelschap S. He then asks by whom, to whom, and how the Spirit is given, and how He is retained. One who is truly human 1 and truly righteous,2 yet stronger than any creature: How are these three articles divided?