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The Good News We Almost Forgot – A Book Review

September 25, 2014 1 Comment

The Good NewsI am not sure if it is my age or not, but I find myself drawn to things from my younger days. I grew up in the Presbyterian USA Denomination so around the age of 11, I attended Catechism class. Over several weeks my friends and I worked our way through the Westminster Catechism. (I think the Shorter). I have to admit I found it rather boring.

 About the age of 18, I started attending a Charismatic church. Some 30 years later I am ordained in the Foursquare Church  a Pentecostal denomination. I am thankful for the foundation of faith I grew up with and I enjoy the freedom and the passionate relationship I have with Jesus now. However, I think there is much we Pentecostals have left behind. Because of this, I have found myself a big fan (not all) of Reformed Theology. There is a lot to be said of the Reformed’s passion for God’s Word and doctrine. I decided I would once again take up the study of the Catechisms.

Last year I read through the Westminster and I just finished the book about the Heidelberg Catechism, The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in the 16th Century Catechism by Kevin DeYoung.

 “No doubt, the church in the West has many new things to learn. But for the most part, everything we need to learn is what we’ve already forgotten. The chief theological task now facing the Western Church is not to reinvent or to be relevant but to remember.” – Kevin DeYoung

 The book is divided up into 52 readings designed to be read on each Lord’s Day over the course of a year. I however, read it over a few weeks. In case you are not familiar with a Catechism, it is a document that covers basic church doctrine that is formatted in a series of questions and answers. An example question of the Heidelberg is, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” – The first two sentences of the answer states, – “That I am not my own, but belong – body and soul, in life and in death- to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and set me free from the tyranny of the devil.” The Heidelberg Catechism has 125 questions and answers.

 The introduction contains the reasons why the author thinks the Heidelberg is important and DeYoung also provides a brief history including the reason of why it was created.

 At the beginning of each Lord’s Day reading DeYoung presents one or more questions and answers; then in just two to three pages expounds on each one. He provides just enough detail to bring a clearer understanding and when helpful provide some historical background on the doctrine discussed. DeYoung also works in his own brand of humor that keeps the topic interesting. The author then concludes the book with a summation of the core of the Heidelberg and he also includes an Appendix where he address the issue of, “Does the Heidelberg Catechism forbid homosexual behavior?”

 I found the book very informative. All though I don’t agree with all of the theology presented, I found it a great overview of post reformation Christian doctrine. The Heidelberg Catechism itself is a wealth of knowledge since it covers the theology behind the Apostle’s Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s prayer. Any one looking to have a better understanding of Reformed Theology or one who enjoys church history will find this a great source.

 I highly recommend, The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in the 16th Century Catechism to any one seeking a deeper theological understanding of reformed doctrine.

 Have you had any experience with the Westminster or Heidelberg Catechism? Tell us your story.

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Filed in: Book Review, Faith, History

About the Author:

I am enthusiastic about helping others discover their purpose and grow into a deeper relationship with Jesus. It is great to see their eyes light up at their “Ah Ha!” moment when they discover they were created for something more. My hope is that this blog will help encourage and inspire you along your way. Join the conversation and take the time to share with me your own story. I have been married to my beautiful wife Janice for over 25 years. We currently live in Stockbridge Georgia with two of our children Matt and Victoria. Our oldest Chris has left the nest. Of course we cannot forget about our dog Taffy.