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The HeidelbergCatechism

 

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INTRODUCTION

The second of our Doctrinal Standards is the Catechism. It is called the Heidelberg Catechism because it originated in Heidelberg, the capital of the German Electorate of the Palatinate, at the behest of the Elector, Frederick III. In order that the Calvinistic Reformation might gain the ascendancy in his domain, this pious ruler charged Zacharius Ursinus, professor at the Heidelberg University, and Caspar Olivianus, the court preacher, with the preparation of a manual for catechetical instruction. The result was a new Catechism, which, after having been approved by the Elector himself and by a gathering of prominent Calvinists, was published in the beginning of the year 1563. Its immediate popularity was indicated by the fact that the same year three more editions had to be printed. Moreover, the book was made to serve a new purpose, namely, to be used as a manual for doctrinal preaching on the Lord’s Day. In the third edition the questions and answers were grouped into 52 sections, called Lords’ Days, that the entire Catechism might be explained to the churches once a year.

In the Netherlands this Heidelberg Catechism became generally and favorably known almost as soon as it came from the press, mainly through the efforts of Petrus Dathenus who translated it into the Dutch language and added this translation to his Dutch rendering of the Geneva Psalter, which was published in 1566. In the same year Peter Gabriel set the example of explaining this Catechism to his congregation at Amsterdam in his Sunday afternoon sermons. The National Synods of the 16th century adopted it as one of its Forms of Unity, the office-bearers being required to subscribe to it and the ministers to explain it to churches. These requirements were strongly emphasized by the great Synod of Dort in 1618-19, and are still in force in the Christian Reformed Church and some other Reformed communions. At the present day the Heidelberg Catechism still has the distinction of being the most influential and most generally accepted of the several catechism of Reformation times.

If you would like to download the Heidelberg Catechism in Microsoft Word Format, right click on the following link and select "Save Target As" (or "Save Link As" for Netscape users) to download the file to your computer: HeidelbergCatechism.doc

Lord's Day 1
THE FIRST PART: SIN AND MISERY,
Lord's Day 2
Lord's Day 3
Lord's Day 4
THE SECOND PART: DELIVERANCE,
Lord's Day 5
Lord's Day 6
Lord's Day 7
Lord's Day 8
Lord's Day 9
Lord's Day 10
Lord's Day 11
Lord's Day 12
Lord's Day 13
Lord's Day 14
Lord's Day 15
Lord's Day 16
Lord's Day 17
Lord's Day 18
Lord's Day 19
Lord's Day 20
Lord's Day 21
Lord's Day 22
Lord's Day 23
Lord's Day 24
Lord's Day 25
Lord's Day 26
Lord's Day 27
Lord's Day 28
Lord's Day 29
Lord's Day 30
Lord's Day 31
THE THIRD PART: GRATITUDE,
Lord's Day 32
Lord's Day 33
Lord's Day 34
Lord's Day 35
Lord's Day 36
Lord's Day 37
Lord's Day 38
Lord's Day 39
Lord's Day 40
Lord's Day 41
Lord's Day 42
Lord's Day 43
Lord's Day 44
Lord's Day 45
Lord's Day 46
Lord's Day 47
Lord's Day 48
Lord's Day 49
Lord's Day 50
Lord's Day 51
Lord's Day 52
 
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Last modified: April 26, 2010