Confessions of faith have existed ever since Jesus called people to follow Him. The disciple Thomas expresses his faith as follows: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). The apostle Paul is somewhat more elaborate in his explanation of faith: “Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.” Throughout church history, there have been many attempts to summarise the core principles of the Christian faith for the teaching of children, young persons and adults. The objective was threefold:
- Assurance of faith – Faith in Christ is not based on a subjective feeling, but rooted in the solid foundation of God’s Word (see Luke 1:1-4).
- Discernment of false doctrines – Only those who know what they believe will be able to recognise false doctrines and protect others from these (see 1 John 4:1).
- Ability to testify – Those who want to share their faith with others must be prepared (see 1 Peter 3:15).
Seventy-five years ago, the Pilgermission St. Chrischona (today known as the Theologisches Seminar St. Chrischona) published a Catechism which was issued in four editions and used in many congregations for biblical teaching at Sunday schools, confirmation classes, church services and Bible studies.
Now, with the kind permission and support of the Fontis-Verlag Basel (previously known as Brunnen Verlag Basel), a revised version of this Catechism has been made available digitally to congregations in Southern Africa and beyond.
A special word of thanks goes to Spiraleye for creating this website. Special thanks to Simon Hill, Lisa Viret and Liz Wenzel for the English translation.
Scripture were taken from New King James Version, Copyright © 1982, courtesy Thomas Nelson Nashville, TN 37214, USA.
We hope that this Catechism will not only be used during confirmation classes and church services, but also in family homes and for self-study. We would particularly like to encourage the memorising of scriptural texts. May God grant that those who work through this Catechism will ultimately be able to say with conviction: “I believe!”
On behalf of the Evangelische Stadtmission in Southern Africa
Martin Frische, Pretoria, South Africa, 6 June 2020