The Gospel Coalition is pleased to introduce New City Catechism–a joint project in partnership with Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York. This catechism was produced with the intention of helping people learn about and delight in the work and attributes of God.
About one year ago, Tim Keller and Sam Shammas let us know of their intention to produce a catechism for Redeemer Presbyterian Church. They valued the historic role of catechisms and lamented the near-absence of catechesis in today’s churches. The goal was to produce a new catechism based on and adapted from Calvin’s Geneva Catechism, the Westminster Shorter and Larger Catechisms, and especially the Heidelberg Catechism.
Tim Keller has explained the purpose of catechisms this way:
Catechisms were written with at least three purposes. The first was to set forth a comprehensive exposition of the gospel—not only in order to explain clearly what the gospel is, but also to lay out the building blocks on which the gospel is based, such as the biblical doctrine of God, of human nature, of sin, and so forth. The second purpose was to do this exposition in such a way that the heresies, errors, and false beliefs of the time and culture were addressed and counteracted. The third and more pastoral purpose was to form a distinct people, a counter-culture that reflected the likeness of Christ not only in individual character but also in the church’s communal life.
The Gospel Coalition supported their efforts and asked permission to make this catechism available in other formats for people outside of Redeemer. We worked to film short high-definition videos providing teaching from leading pastors and theologians around each question. Our goal was to make this as widely accessible as possible. It was very important for us to make this resource available for free in every case. As a result, we have developed an interactive iPad app, a dedicated website, RSS feed, and automated e-mail option to allow for instant international distribution. Following this blog will give you access to all 52 questions and answers, one published per week along with video commentary.
The purpose of this catechism is simple–to help both children and adults learn about and enjoy fellowship with God. It is not designed to replace Bible study but to help people learn essential Bible doctrines. The practice of question-answer recitation brings readers into an dialogical process of learning. Working through a catechism works best in community–whether parents catechizing their children, churches catechizing their new members, or small groups participating in this process together. So we encourage you to join the community learning New City Catechism over the next year.
The catechism is divided into three parts to make it easier to learn in sections: part 1—God, creation and fall, law (20 questions); part 2—Christ, redemption, grace (15 questions); and part 3—Spirit, restoration, growing in grace (17 questions).
We hope you enjoy New City Catechism as you study the wonder and work of God.