"The Westminster Catechism came out of the English Reformation in April 1648. The purpose of the Shorter Catechism is to educate lay persons in matters of doctrine and belief. The WSC is in a simple question and answer format to facilitate memorization. Typically, the parents and the church would use the shorter catechism to train their children in the ways of the Lord. New converts are also given the WSC as well as the Confession of Faith and Holy Scripture to study. Various denominations have used the Westminster Confession and Catechism to instruct their members." (Wikipedia) The catechism is composed of 107 questions and answers. The first 12 questions concern God as Creator. Questions 13-20 deal with original sin and the fallen state of man's nature. Questions 21-38 concern Christ the Redeemer and the benefits that flow from redemption. The next set of questions, 39-84, discuss the ten commandments. Questions 85-97 teach concerning the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. The final set of questions 98-107 teach and explain the Lord's prayer. This organization mimics the earlier Heidelberg Catechism of the continental Reformed churches.
The most famous of the questions (known to a great many Presbyterian children) is the first:
Q. What is the chief end of man?A. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
We are in the process of joining our new church. It is an Orthodox Presbyterian Church. (NOT Presbyterian Church USA - the common "Presbyterian") It is VERY conservative in it's values and beliefs. We will be formally joined on July 12th and will be baptizing Jimmy at that time as well. If anyone is interested in attending - we'd love for you to join us. Just give us a holler.
Granted, it's only the first 4; but there's just something so sweet about a child talking about God! He may not fully understand what he's saying now, (although, he seems to understand what the first 2 mean), one day he will, and he'll be glad we memorized while he was young and it was easy for him. Right now, it's harder for James and I to memorize the questions than for him to memorize the answers!