Translated from the original German and Latin, this Reformed confession of faith was compiled in 1563 by Heidelberg theologians Ursinus, Olevianus, and others. It has been characterized as combining the intimacy of Luther with the charity of Melanchthon and the fire of Calvin. 128 pages, softcover.
United Church Press.
A new translation and critical commentary of a classic reformation text.
The Heidelberg Catechism, New Edition
I found this to be an excellent introduction to Biblical Christianity. And its not just for Calvinists, either--not a mention of predestination anywhere. Instead, it focuses on how the sovereignty of God challenges and comforts the Christian in his daily walk (see question 26). Its organization is also simple--first, it focuses on man's guilt (questions 1-11), then on God's grace (question 12-85), and finally on our response of gratitude (questions 86-129). Its brevity (only 144 pp.), simple style, ample citations of Biblical passages, and weekly reading plan will recommend it even to those who don't like to read that much. Indeed, right now, I'm slowly going through it with a neighbor of mine who didn't even complete high school and he appears to be benefiting from it. As for negatives, I wish they would have used the NIV instead of the NRSV (see the citation of Gen. 1:1-2 under question 53), their language about God tries to be too gender-neutral, and as a Baptist, I disagreed with the advocacy of infant baptism in question 74. But all of these issues are relatively minor compared to the riches of Biblical truth contained in these pages. Overall, I would have to say that while this book can be read in a couple of days, the rich treasures found within it can (and should be) savored for a lifetime, and longer.
March 7, 2008