Heidelberg Catechism more personal than WSC?

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au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I was just reading the Heidelberg Catechism (for the first time) and the WSC (which I have read multiple times), and I noticed that the Heidelberg seems more personal, especially for training a child to internalize its truths. Now, don't get me wrong, I love both of them, but for an example of what I mean, look at the first three questions in the WSC:

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

Q. 3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A. The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.

compared with the first three in the Heidelberg:

Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?

Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.

Question 2. How many things are necessary for thee to know, that thou, enjoying this comfort, mayest live and die happily?

Answer: Three; the first, how great my sins and miseries are; the second, how I may be delivered from all my sins and miseries; the third, how I shall express my gratitude to God for such deliverance.

Question 3. Whence knowest thou thy misery?

Answer: Out of the law of God.

I especially like how the HC has the child speak in first person about his or her own spiritual condition, and I was just thinking that since, Lord willing, I plan on having children someday and catechising them, I thought maybe the Heidelberg might be (for lack of a better word) "better" for them in terms of making the concepts more personal to them, spiritually speaking. What do you think? Which should I use? Or should I try using both when I have kids? What do you do with your children?

And for a somewhat unrelated question, I read a quote recently that said something about Protestants only rising in numbers because of catechising - Does anyone know what quote I'm thinking of, who said it, and where I can read it? Thanks in advance.

Note: Since tomorrow's the Lord's Day, I may not be on here much, but if that happens then I will bump the thread on Monday.

-----Added 10/24/2009 at 10:59:57 EST-----

I also noticed that the HC seems to outline justification sola gratia, sola fide in more detail, with explanation of how works fit into the picture of the Christian life, than the WSC as well, and more detail on the sacraments. I don't know, maybe I'm just expecting from the WSC what the WLC was designed to be.
 
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Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Keep in mind the Westminster Shorter Catechism was written for use with children, the Larger Catechism for adults.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
We'll see if someone more familiar with the three forms of unity ("3FU") can answer.

Remember that the Canons of Dordt, Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism were taken together as a source of doctrine ("3FU").

(Incidentally, I have been told on good authority they are same theology as the Westminster Standards)
 
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au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
We'll see if someone more familiar with the three forms of unity ("3FU") can answer.

Remember that the Canons of Dordt, Belgaic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism were taken together as a source of doctrine ("3FU").

(Incidentally, I have been told on good authority they are same theology as the Westminster Standards)
That is the impression I get from reading them. Either way, both the Westminster Standards and the 3FU have made for some excellent theological reading for me.
 

BertMulder

Puritan Board Junior
The great difference between the 3FU and Westminster, is that the 3FU were written in the fire of persecution and fighting heresy, while Westminster was written in a time of relative peace in the churches...

But yes, Heidelberg Catechism is very personal. What is thy only comfort....
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The great difference between the 3FU and Westminster, is that the 3FU were written in the fire of persecution and fighting heresy, while Westminster was written in a time of relative peace in the churches...

But yes, Heidelberg Catechism is very personal. What is thy only comfort....
That's what I like about the HC - It's so personal. I wish the Westminster Catechisms were written with answers in the first person. I really love that first HC question.
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
A catechism is intended to train someone in a system of doctrine. This is what both do. The fact that children don't use personal pronouns in one of the other does not affect the applicability, reliability or quality of a catechism. The thing that is most important is the system of doctrine; of which the WSC is a fuller and more detail explanation.

Cheers,
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I found the quote I was looking for on this thread, but I'm still interested in thoughts on which catechism different members use for child instruction and why, as well as how you approach training your children in doctrine and what difficulties/successes you've had using the catechisms, if anyone has further comment on the matter.

Thanks. :)

-----Added 10/25/2009 at 10:06:04 EST-----

Also, on a related note, I heard Paul Washer preach tonight at a church nearby and he talked a lot about the importance of men in the church guiding their families and training up children in doctrine. Reminded me that I need to be ready to train my children in godliness when I have a family (if the Lord wills me to have one).
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I wish the Westminster Catechisms were written with answers in the first person.

The Shorter Catechism provides answers in the first person to numerous questions. See, for example, answer 2, which you referenced in an earlier post.
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I wish the Westminster Catechisms were written with answers in the first person.

The Shorter Catechism provides answers in the first person to numerous questions. See, for example, answer 2, which you referenced in an earlier post.
Thank you for pointing that out. It's apparent I've been speaking poorly here. Upon further reflection, it's not so much the pronouns that I'm concerned with, as it is the deep, personal feel of the HC that impresses me. Perhaps the person used is not the only factor in that.

Either way, I guess I shouldn't be pitting two extremely beautiful, useful catechisms against each other - I just wondered whether anyone has felt the same way and how this has affected which catechism others have used in discipling children. Eventually I will need to teach my own children, and I expect catechising to play a role in that, but I'm not sure it would be wise to use both rather than picking one.
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Bumping this after the Lord's Day as promised, but I will let it sink after this. Anyone have any more thoughts on the training of children as it relates to the catechisms, and why you use whichever one you use?
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
When I was teaching young people in a PCA church (holding to the Westminster standards) I used the Heidelberg instead for our training, for this very reason. It's personal, almost lyrical. The WSC has excellent material but has never made me weepy just reading it. The Heidelberg does regularly.

As a writer, I would suggest this might be an example of how authorship by committee (as was the case with the WSC) tends to suck the life out of any document.
 

GD

Puritan Board Freshman
I love the Heidelberg Catechism's beauty and personal nature. The way it moves from need to gospel to Christian living is wonderful, and I think makes it a good gift for someone with questions about the faith. Zacharias Ursinus, the primary author, also put out a commentary on it which is very solid and detailed, while still retaining the structure of the HC which makes it so appealing. WTS carries it here. Sewn binding, hardcover, $19.
 
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