Original Research - Special Collection: Heidelberg Catechism

A confident call to faith: Rediscovering the relevance of Christian catechisms

Raymond Potgieter
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 47, No 2 | a686 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v47i2.686 | © 2013 Raymond Potgieter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 January 2013 | Published: 15 November 2013

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Raymond Potgieter, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, South Africa


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Abstract

Protestant heritage is synonymous with the traditional employment of catechisms and catechetical teaching of both young and old. Many denominations have shifted from this historical approach, not least because of the challenges of so-called catechetical vacuums when facing third-millennial issues. The Heidelberg, Anglican and Westminster Catechisms allow for express distinctions peculiar to each unique Protestant faith constituency, but serve acceptably within the wider ecumenical tradition. A rediscovery of the historical contexts of these historical formulations will illustrate traditional denominational Protestant flexibility accompanying its Christian creedal fixity. This study will refer to confessional content in the main without resorting to particular content. The intention is to show how these polarities could dynamically serve the confessing church in meeting present-day challenges to the Christian faith in a manner that once again will inspire confidence in its catholic witness in the third millennium.

Die protestantse erfenis is sinoniem met die tradisionele gebruik van die kategismusse en die kategetiese onderrig van oud en jonk. Baie kerkgenootskappe neig weg van hierdie historiese benadering hoofsaaklik as gevolg van die uitdagings van die sogenaamde kategetiese leemtes in die hantering van derde millenniumkwessies. Die Heidelbergse, Anglikaanse en Westminsterse Kategismusse laat ruimte vir spesifieke onderskeidings wat eie is aan elke unieke protestantse geloofsgemeenskap, maar wat nogtans binne die breër ekumeniese tradisie aanvaar word. ’n Herontdekking van die historiese konteks van hierdie tradisionele formulerings sal tradisioneel kerklik-protestantse buigsaamheid illustreer wat met konfessionele vastheid gepaard gaan. Hierdie artikel verwys na konfessionele inhoud oor die algemeen sonder om spesifieke inhoud aan te toon. Die doel is dus om aan te toon hoedanig hierdie polariteite die belydende kerk daadwerklik kan help om die daaglikse uitdagings van die Christelike geloof op so ’n wyse te hanteer dat daar weer vertroue in die algemene getuienis van die kerk in die derde millennium sal wees.


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