Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Church of Christ's Shorter Catechism

Okay, sure, it's not polite to call it a catechism, because that would bring up the notion of creeds and formal doctrine, but in reality if you go to just about any church of Christ this is what you will answer with.
(But first, I cannot resist recording a short anecdote of just how much they hate the notion of creeds while ascribing to them in practice.  My dad was an elder at one of the biggest CoC in California, perhaps the biggest, when the ministry staff put out a 'What we believe' on the internet. He pointed out that that is a creed, they panicked, and took it down.)
Where the answers are the same as the Reformed ones I have omitted them. 

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. To love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. 

Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, but particularly the new, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him. 

Q. 3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A. What we should believe, and how we should live.

Q. 4. What is God?

A. God is a Spirit, powerful, eternal, loving.

Q. 6. How many persons are there in the Godhead?
A. There are two persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, both are worthy of worship, although the Son is less than the Father.

Q. 7. What are the decrees of God?

A. The decrees of God are: creating and sustaining existence.  

Q. 8. How doth God execute his decrees?
A. He already did. 

Q. 11. What are God’s works of providence?
A. God’s works of providence are in empowering men to do as they please.

Q. 14. What is sin?
A. Failing to do the right thing, or doing something prohibited in the Bible or by church consensus. 

Q. 16. Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?
A. Yes and no. All men became condemned to die, but it wasn't as if Adam acted as a federal head, or there was a thing called original sin.

Q. 18. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. In having a tendency to sin or slip.
Q. 20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A. No, He sent His Son to redeem men, by having Him die on the cross. 

Q. 21. Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?
A. The word elect has no meaning. But Jesus is a redeemer for all.

Q. 24. How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?
A. By revealing Himself in the Bible.  

Q. 25. How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
A. In his once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice.

Q. 26. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. In conquering all his and our enemies.

Q. 29. How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us by his Holy Spirit.

Q. 30. How doth the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. He doesn't. The work of Christ is applied by us, when we believe.

Q. 31. What is effectual calling?
A. The calling of God that reaches out to everyone who hears the Gospel message. 

Q. 32. What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?
A. The ability to hear which leads to the ability to believe. 

Q. 33. What is justification?
A. A weird word. It means 'to make just, or to imbue with righteousness' although it's not a very useful one. 

Q. 35. What is sanctification?
A. Another word we don't use. The Baptists mean it as 'holy living.' 

Q. 36. What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?
A. Heaven awaits us in the next one.

Q. 37. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
A. True Christians go to heaven. 

Q. 39. What is the duty which God requireth of man?
A. The duty which God requireth of man, is lifelong obedience, faithful church attendance, and baptism in an authorized Church of Christ baptistry.

Q. 60. How is the sabbath to be sanctified?
A. In the new covenant we are absolved of keeping the sabbath. 

Q. 61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. Saying 'God' 'Jesus' in an unseemly manner. Saying 'Gosh' and "Jeez' fall into this. 

Q. 82. Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
A. With the strength of God all things are possible. 

Q. 83. Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
A. No. Divorce is the worst of all sins. 

Q. 85. What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse, due to us for sin?
A. To believe in Jesus, and to confess Him as God's Son before baptism, to faithfully attend church the remainder of your life. 

Q. 86. What is faith in Jesus Christ?
A. An inward belief that is so powerful it changes our habits and actions. 

Q. 87. What is repentance unto life?
A. Repentance is not a word that has meaning. 

Q. 88. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption?
A. The Bible, communion, baptism, and prayer.

Q. 89. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?
A. Reading the Bible, listening to sermons, and going to church camp.

Q. 91. How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
A. Faith alone in Christ is effective, the Catholic church's notion of sacraments to save is incorrect.

Q. 92. What is a sacrament?
A. A Catholic notion that is un-scriptural. 

Q. 93. Which are the sacraments of the New Testament?
A. Baptism for conversion and The Lord's supper taken weekly. Except stop calling it sacrament.

Q. 94. What is baptism?
A. Baptism is a total immersion in an authorized body of water, (typically back first) preferably in a church, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and become members into the one true church.

Q. 95. To whom is Baptism to be administered?

A. Children or teenagers old enough to understand that Christ is God's only Son. 

Q. 96. What is the Lord’s Supper?
A. The Lord’s Supper is an event wherein, by giving and receiving unleavened bread and grape juice, according to Christ’s appointment, his death is showed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace.

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