An NCT brother wrote into the ‘Sound of Grace’ e-mail list today asking for recommendations on catechism resources for his church and family. Man of these folks seem to appreciate the historic Baptist works, but their consciences do not allow them to use works that (to their thinking) (1) smack of sacramental language, (2) bind men to the law of Moses, and (3) speak of covenant theology. Although I disagree with this assessment of the law (#2), and I don’t see how one can rightly understand God’s Plan of Salvation (Gen 1-2, Rom 5, and I Cor 15, etc) outside of a Federal (or representative) view, I *think* I can sympathize with these folks are looking for.
Having said that, I also would recommend staying within the realm of the proven and reliable historic Baptist faith and symbols, instead of creating new (lesser quality) works, turning to some lesser known works, or ignoring theological training altogether (the popular option for Baptists today). With this man’s conscience in mind, I’ve tried to cull the Baptist catechism down to a very small essential set of questions and answers that I think would still be recognizably related to Keach’s catechism and yet be widely accepted by NCT brethren.
This is only a first pass. My goal would be to trim this list to 52 questions (one-per-week, like the Heidlberg) and then to match Scriptures to each for memorization.
The Marrow of Baptist Catechism
Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.
Q. How do we know there is a God?
A. The light of nature in man, and the works of God, plainly declare that there
is a God; but His Word and Spirit only, do effectually reveal Him unto us for
Q. What is God?
A. God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom,
power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.
Q. Are there more gods than one?
A. There is but one only, the living and true God.
Q. How many persons are there in the Godhead?
A. There are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit; and these three are one God, the same in essence, equal in power and
The Word of God
Q. What is the Word of God?
A. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, being given by divine
inspiration, are the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and
Q. How do we know that the Bible is the Word of God?
A. The Bible evidences itself to be God’s Word by the heavenliness of its
doctrine, the unity of its parts, its power to convert sinners and to edify
saints; but the Spirit of God only, bearing witness by and with the Scriptures
in our hearts, is able fully to persuade us that the Bible is the Word of God.
Q. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A. The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God and
what duty God requires of man.
The Works of God
Q. What are the decrees of God?
A. The decrees of God are His eternal purpose, according to the counsel of His
will, whereby for His own glory, He has fore-ordained whatsoever comes to pass.
Q. How does God execute His decrees?
A. God executes His decrees in the works of creation and providence.
Q. What is the work of creation?
A. The work of creation is God’s making all things of nothing, by the Word of
His power, in the space of six days, and all very good.
Q. What are God’s works of providence?
A. God’s works of providence are His most holy, wise, and powerful preserving
and governing all His creatures, and all their actions.
Q. How did God create man?
A. God created man male and female, after His own image, in knowledge,
righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.
Q. Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?
A. Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from
the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God.
Q. What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created?
A. The sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were
created, was their eating the forbidden fruit.
Q. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
A. The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.
Q. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereunto man fell?
A. The sinfulness of that estate whereunto man fell, consists in the guilt of
Adam’s first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his
whole nature, which is commonly called original sin, together with all actual
transgressions which proceed from it.
Q. What is the misery of that estate whereunto man fell?
A. All mankind, by their fall lost communion with God, are under His wrath and
curse, and made liable to all the miseries of this life, to death itself, and to
the pains of hell forever.
Q. What is sin?
A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.
Q. Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
A. No mere man, since the fall, is able in this life, perfectly to keep the
commandments of God, but daily breaks them in thought, word, and deed.
Q. What does every sin deserve?
A. Every sin deserves God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and in that
which is to come.
Q. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A. God, out of His mere good pleasure, from all eternity, having chosen a
people to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them
out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of
salvation, by a Redeemer.
Q. Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?
A. The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the
eternal Son of God, became man, and so was and continues to be God and man, in
two distinct natures and one person, forever.
Q. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ, the Son of God became man by taking to himself a true body and a
reasonable soul; being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of
the Virgin Mary and born of her, yet without sin.
Q. What offices does Christ execute as our Redeemer?
A. Christ, as our Redeemer, executes the offices of a prophet, of a priest, and
of a king, both in His estate of humiliation and exaltation.
Q. How does Christ execute the office of a prophet?
A. Christ executes the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, by this Word
and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.
Q. How does Christ execute the office of a priest?
A. Christ executes the office of a priest, in His once offering up of Himself,
a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God, and in making
continual intercession for us.
Q. How does Christ execute the office of a king?
A. Christ executes the office of a king, in subduing us to Himself, in ruling
and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all His and our enemies.
Q. Wherein did Christ’s humiliation consist?
A. Christ’s humiliation consisted in His being born, and that in a low
condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath
of God, and the cursed death of the cross, in being buried, and continuing under
the power of death for a time.
Q. Wherein consists Christ’s exaltation?
A. Christ’s exaltation consists in His rising again from the dead on the third
day, in ascending up into heaven, in sitting at the right hand of God the
Father, and in coming to judge the world at the last day.
Q. How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the
effectual application of it to us, by His Holy Spirit.
Q. How does the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. The Spirit applies to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working
faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.
Q. What is effectual calling?
A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our
sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing
our wills, He does persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely
offered to us in the Gospel.
Q. What is faith in Jesus Christ?
A. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon
Him alone for salvation, as He is offered to us in the Gospel.
Q. What is repentance unto life?
A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true
sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, does, with
grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and
endeavor after, new obedience.
Q. What benefits do they that are effectually called, partake of in this life?
A. They that are effectually called, do in this life partake of justification,
adoption, sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either
accompany or flow from them.
Q. What is justification?
A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein He pardons all our
sins, and accepts us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of
Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.
Q. What is adoption?
A. Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the
number, and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God.
Q. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is a work of God’s free grace whereby we are renewed in the
whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin,
and live unto righteousness.
Q. What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?
A. The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification,
adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience,
joy in the Holy Spirit, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.
Q. What is Prayer?
A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires to God, for things agreeable to His
will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins and thankful
acknowledgment of His mercies.
Q. What is the visible church?
A. The visible church is the organized society of professing believers, in all
ages and places, wherein the Gospel is truly preached and the ordinances of
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper rightly administered.
Q. What is the invisible church?
A. The invisible church is the whole number of the elect, that have been, are,
or shall be gathered into one under Christ the head.
Q. Wherein do Baptism and the Lord’s Supper differ from the other ordinances of
A. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper differ from the other ordinances of God in
that they were specially instituted by Christ to represent and apply to
believers the benefits of the New Covenant by visible and outward signs.
Q. What is Baptism?
A. Baptism is an holy ordinance, wherein the washing with water in the name of
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, signifies our ingrafting into Christ
and partaking of the benefits of the [New Covenant], and our engagement to be
Q. To whom is Baptism to be administered?
A. Baptism is to be administered to all those who actually profess repentance
towards God, faith in, and obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ; and to none
Q. What is the duty of those who are rightly baptized?
A. It is the duty of those who are rightly baptized to join themselves to some
visible and orderly church of Jesus Christ, that they may walk in all the
commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Q. What is the Lord’s Supper?
A. The Lord’s Supper is a holy ordinance, wherein, by giving and receiving
bread and wine, according to Christ’s appointment, His death is showed forth,
and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporeal and carnal manner, but by
faith, made partakers of His body and blood, with all His benefits, to their
spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace.
Q. What is required to the worthy receiving of the Lord’s Supper?
A. It is required of them that would worthily (that is, suitably) partake of
the Lord’s Supper, that they examine themselves, of their knowledge to discern
the Lord’s body; of their faith to feed upon Him; of their repentance, love, and
new obedience: lest, coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgment to
The Last Things
Q. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
A. The souls of believers are at death made perfect in holiness, and do
immediately pass into glory, and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do
rest in their graves till the resurrection.
Q. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the Resurrection?
A. At the resurrection, believers become raised up in glory, shall be openly
acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in
the full enjoyment of God to all eternity.
Q. What shall be done to the wicked at death?
A. The souls of the wicked shall at death, be cast into the torments of hell,
and their bodies lie in their graves till the resurrection and judgment of the
Q. What shall be done to the wicked at the day of judgment?
A. At the day of judgment, the bodies of the wicked, being raised out of their
graves, shall be sentenced, together with their souls, to unspeakable torments
with the devil and his angels forever.