In die Skriflig
On-line version ISSN 1018-6441
D'ASSONVILLE, Victor E.. 'And thou shalt teach these words diligently ...': Remarks on the purpose of the Heidelberg Catechism regarding its teaching nature. In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2013, vol.47, n.2, pp. 1-7. ISSN 1018-6441.
As is well-known, the Heidelberg Catechism (HC) has not only become one of the most important confessions of faith since the 16th century, it has also been a significant aid to catechesis, even to this day. In this contribution, the catechetical purpose of the HC is examined with regard to its origins. Three texts that accompanied the first editions of the Heidelberg Catechism in 1563 are scrutinised: two prefaces by Frederick III, and the Palatine Church Order. The youth as well as the rest of the congregation, should be guided in the fear of the Lord so that they may attain sufficient knowledge of and a living faith in the Lord of Scripture. The HC does not merely have theoretical purposes. Its contents and structure were carefully composed to teach the most significant parts of Christian faith in a short and simple way on a regular and frequent basis. This teaching is not only the responsibility of the church or minister, but also of the parents and the teachers. In this comprehensive approach to instruction in the Christian faith, there is no contradiction between Scripture as the Word of God and the HC. Hence, teaching and preaching the HC does justice to the command that the gospel should be proclaimed, preached, taught, learned and understood.