The HB is One Year (and 3) Days Old

It just occurred to me that the HB is a little more than a year old. It began on Christmas Eve, 2006. Since the first post there have been 769 posts and I don’t know how many visitors and subscribers, but a lot more than I expected.

At the end of the year it’s also interesting (for me anyway — you’ve probably passed out from total boredom already!) to look back at what I thought I would do and what I actually did. I planned to do a weekly podcast. That lasted about a month and then reality set in. It was fun but a good deal more work than I anticipated, even with computerized recording and editing.  So the podcast has been on hiatus for most of the year. When I figure out how do one efficiently and easily it may return.

I also expected to post a lot more on the HC than I actually have. The HB has been a lot more focused on contemporary issues than I thought it would be.

The HB has also changed locations. I haven’t had time to make the full migration from Squarespace to WP, but I hope to do so over January.

As they say in the commercials: Thanks for your support.

Just for fun, here’s the first post.

 Welcome to the Heidelblog.

It’s the Heidel-blog for obvious reasons.If, however, you’re not familiar with the Heidelberg Catechism, it is a book of 129 questions and answers drawn from Scripture. It was first published in 1562-63 (there were about three editions in quick succession with minor revisions to each along the way). It was commissioned, written, and published in Heidelberg (Germany – although there really wasn’t such a thing as “Germany” as we know it today).It was commissioned by by the elector (governor) Palatinate (the geo-political district) Frederick III (1515-76), a genuinely devout Calvinist or Reformed Christian. When he became Elector in 1559 he found that the Palatinate was religiously confused. It had been Roman (Catholic), then sort of generically Lutheran, and now he was Reformed and was about to impose the Reformed faith on the people. He understood that they were confused. One day there is mass where Christ is ritually sacrificed. The next Sunday there is no such thing and bang, they’re Lutherans and now, just a few more years later, they’re undergoing another change. So, to get everyone “on the same page,” as they say, Frederick began to gather Reformed theologians, including Zacharias Ursinus (1534-83) and one Caspar Olevianus (1536-87), the latter whom he had bailed out of jail! [Olevianus was jailed for planting a Reformed congregation in his hometown and for his fiery anti-Roman Reformed preaching]. Ursinus, a former student of Phillip Melanchthon, and Olevianus wrote the catechism in stages from about 1561. Though it’s a matter of some disagreement, Ursinus is probably responsible for the bulk of the Catechism. It was then reviewed and edited by a committee the exact composition of which is unknown. Frederick did not want folk to know who exactly wrote the catechism which makes source criticism on the catechism quite difficult.

It was quickly translated into Latin (for use in the schools and outside of Germany) and Dutch (by Peter Dathenus) and has been translated into dozens of languages, most recently into modern Hebrew by David Zadok, a WSC alumnus. It is, along with the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dort, one of the three doctrinal standards of the Reformed Churches (including the United Reformed Churches in North America).

I’ve spent most of my ministry and academic life teaching or studying the Heidelberg Catechism, so it seemed appropriate to memorialize the catechism in the blogosphere.

Mainly this blog will be the home of CrossTalk a weekly 5 minute (more or less) audio program. The first two programs are “in the can” as they say and the first will be posted around 31 December. The plan is to summarize and introduce the main ideas of the book on which I’ve been working (off and on) for a few years: Recovering the Reformed Tradition. The second draft should be finished soon as I’m using it for my Reformed Confessions course this Spring at Westminster Seminary California.

When that’s done I’ll pick up, Deo volente (God willing), with the series of lessons on the Heidelberg Catechism that I began several years ago in the Adult Catechism course at OURC.

I also reserve the right to use this space to answer questions or simply opine as needs be.

Have a blessed and restful Sabbath/Lord’s Day.


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  1. One solution to the time issue with podcasts… Find people in your church who would be willing to help out with it, particularly in doing all of the requisite setup for the recording and any editing/placing of podcast on site and iTunes that needs to occur. Would love to see a podcast coming out of the Heidelblog (for whatever it’s worth)!

  2. Dr. Clark,

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can express my own thoughts about your blog; To say that I read every post with the same amount of attention would be untrue – different subjects interest me in varying degrees. That said, I find a good part of your blog posting helpful and informative. In particular, your recent post Three Ways of Relating to the One Covenant of Grace was good, and I especially appreciated the link to your article on Baptism and the Benefits of Christ. I spent a good deal of time poring over the latter article – time well spent, to be sure.

    Anyway, I do hope that the coming year will be a good one for you (and all of the rest of us who read here) at the Heidelblog.

  3. I too share with Rob’s assessment. Certainly some articles grip me more than others, but that is normal I suppose. What I like most about the Heidelblog is that very variety which “keeps me on my toes” and leads me to regularly check up on what new postings have found their way onto this site. Through the Heidelblog I’ve also found many other great online hotspots for reformed thought and discussion – much appreciated!

  4. I read (check) it everyday, so you have at least an audience of one. 🙂

    Thanks for the effort you put into this. It is appreciated. Honestly, I wish we had more Reformed theological professors who would blog.

  5. Thanks for the work you have put into it. I have found your posts very helpful as I’m studying and training for pastoral ministry. It seems that lately you’ve addressed some issues I’ve been wrestling with, and greatly appreciate your ministry through the blogosphere.

  6. Dr. Clark,

    Thanks for the work you put into the Heidelblog. Your site and the Riddleblog are the two blogs I definitely check every day. I’ve been a Christian for over 20 years but only started learning about Reformed theology in 2001 when I moved from the Detroit area to the Grand Rapids area after marriage. My wife and I are members of a URC church in Jenison.

    When I look at people like you, Kim, and Mike Horton, I really do think a modern Reformation is on the way.


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