Happy Birthday to the Heidelberger!

Heidelberg Catechism Q/A 1In January, 1563 the Heidelberg Catechism was adopted by the Palatinate Church (the German Reformed Church). That means that the Heidelberg Catechism, or the Heidelberger as it’s sometimes known, is 450 years years old this year. As with Calvin in 2009 there will be a HeidelPalooza in 2013. Our faculty is kicking off things with a conference later this month (seats are filling up so don’t wait to register). I’ll be talking about role of the gospel in the catechism.

The HB was established originally to comment on the catechism so the anniversary is a good opportunity to get back to the original purpose of the HB. If you’re new to the Reformed confession, here are some HB posts on the catechism. If you don’t have a copy, you can download it from my website (linked above) and you can find many English-language versions in print. My favorite is the 1978 RCUS edition but the version found in the 1959 (1st edition) Psalter-Hymnal is fine. I’m less than enamored with the 1976 CRC edition that is available widely. Whichever version you read (and memorize) get yourself a copy and use it. It might be the best thing you do in 2013.

A belated Happy New Year from the HB and happy anniversary to the Heidelberg Catechism.

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  1. I had no idea your blog was back! Glad it is. As someone who was a CRC pastor for a while until I could no longer stomach the women’s issue and how that was handled, I have to admit I prefer the 1988 version of the Heidelberg, which I think is the one you don’t like. While it probably lacks the theological precision of the RCUS version, it strikes me as more aesthetically pleasing and easier to memorize. If you know that words like righteousness or phrases like “right with God” are referring to justification, it seems like you are ok. Anyway, I have a hard time using any other version, unless forced!

  2. Hi Bill,

    Welcome back.

    I understand. Familiarity is important and it’s tough for those who were weaned, as it were, on the CRC edn to give it up but with it we lost a good bit of our vocabulary and economy of words. In that way I think it’s more difficult to memorize. “Right with God” is three words and “justified” is one. I also miss the noun “merit.” It’s omission created confusion among younger HC readers/users who don’t know that Reformed folk believe in merit. They are led to think it’s a purely medieval and Roman doctrine.

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