I was reading Dennis Johnson's excellent book on preaching, Him We Proclaim, and I came across a footnote (page 44, fn 38) that indicated that the URC requires catechetical preaching. So I looked up article 40 of the URC pamphlet of church order (a URC minister gave me that one!), and I found this:
At one of the services each Lord's Day, the minister shall ordinarily preach the Word as summarized in the Three Forms of Unity, with special attention given to the Heidelberg Catechism by treating its Lord's Days in sequence.I know that catechetical preaching has a very long history in the church as a whole, let alone the Reformed tradition. However, I have never been very comfortable with it. While I firmly believe that the Reformed confessions summarize Scripture's teaching, and constitute the church's agreed-upon understanding of Scripture, and that therefore inasmuch as the confessions are accurate to God's Word, they are God's Word (much like preaching, as the Second Helvetic would say: no wedge-driving between confession and Scripture is allowed), nevertheless the confessions of the church are still one step removed from Scripture in being the normed norm rather than the norming norm. They are still fallible. Now, many pastors I know do catechetical preaching in an expository way, taking the Lord's Day of the Heidelberg, for instance, and preaching on the underlying Scripture texts, and using the Heidelberg as a sort of outline for the sermon. So, I have a couple of questions for practitioners of catechetical preaching. Firstly, is the more expository route normal among the practitioners? Or, do some preachers actually use the text of the Heidelberg itself as the sermon text?