Apologetics for the Masses #255

Bible Christian Society

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General Comments

Hey folks,

Hope all of you are doing well.  For those of you who live in the Birmingham area, I will be at St. Theresa's parish in Leeds on Wednesday, March 18th.  The talk will be at 7:00 PM.  


As you may remember, a couple of recent newsletters (Issues #250 and 251) dealt with an email exchange I had with an ex-Catholic named Michael.  One of Michael's points of contention with me, was that I made the claim that it is much harder for Catholics to know what Protestants teach, than it is for Protestants to know what Catholics teach, because all a Protestant has to do is pick up a Catechism of the Catholic Church and pretty much anything they want to know about Catholicism is right there; whereas, there is no comparable document a Catholic could pick up to learn about Protestantism.  Michael claimed that there is indeed a Protestant equivalent to the Catholic Catechism.  However, Michael pretty much proved my point when he told me where I could go to find out what Protestants teach on the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.  What did he do?  Did he point me to the Catechism of the Protestant Church, or some such document?  No!  He mentioned 6 different sources for me to check out and not a single one of them was a Catechism!  Sometimes I really wonder about folks...

Anyway, I thought I would further prove my point by comparing the teachings of some Protestant catechisms and confessions (statements of the articles of their faith), with each other.  Included in the catechisms and confessions I cite here are some of the more famous in Protestantism (and some not-so-famous).  So, let's go on a journey through the world of Protestant catechisms and confessions and see if we can find anything similar to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Oh, one more thing, even though this newsletter looks really long, a lot of that is simply that I put most of the actual wording from the Catechisms and Confessions I cite at the bottom of this newsletter.  So, the first part of the newsletter are my comments, and then the bottom part is the reference material - quotes from a number of Protestant Catechism and Confessions, arranged chronologically - that I refer to in my comments.  So, take heart, my actual comments are not as long as first appears.


Does Protestantism have a functional equivalent to the Catechism of the Catholic Church - a book which any Catholic can pick up to figure out, without a whole lot of difficulty, what is the Protestant belief on this or that topic of faith?  For example, is there a Protestant catechism that lays out exactly what Protestant beliefs are regarding Sola Scriptura or Sola Fide or the Rapture or Once Saved Always Saved or a whole host of other doctrinal issues that Catholics and Protestants differ on?  Matthew (see Issues #250 and #251 on the “Newsletter” page of www.biblechristiansociety.com) says that there is indeed an equivalent document in Protestantism.  I say there is not.  

Below are my reasons for saying that.  My comments are based on a number of Protestant Catechisms and Confessions of faith, which I will cite.  In fact, the portions of most of the Catechisms and Confessions that I cite are written out in the reference section below my comments if you would like to see the exact quotes.  So, Michael, what say ye?

Let’s begin with the man who started it all for the Protestants - Martin Luther.  Luther wrote something known as the “Small Catechism” because it was rather short since it was aimed at young people and those that are pretty much ignorant of the Christian faith.  Given the target audience, it just contained the basics - the Commandments, the Creed, the Our Father, the Sacraments, and a few other things.  It was literally a small catechism.  

So, what does the Small Catechism have to say?  

In Section I of Luther’s Small Catechism, he lists the 10 Commandments.  The 1st Commandment is: “Thou shalt have no other gods.”  And, of course we all know that for Protestants, the 2nd Commandment is: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images,” right?  Oops, not quite right.  At least, not according to Luther’s Small Catechism.  The 2nd Commandment, according to Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, is as follows: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain.”  Wow, exact same as the 2nd Commandment in the list the Catholics use.  So, if anyone ever tells you again that the Catholic Church changed the Commandments so that we could drop the one about “graven images,” just ask them if they would accept the testimony of Martin Luther on the matter.  Then tell them what the 2nd Commandment is, at least, according to Martin Luther.  (Of course, you also need to explain that our 1st Commandment includes their 2nd Commandment, as can be seen in the table listing the 10 Commandments in the Catechism, pp. 496-497 - see Issue #12 of Apologetics for the Masses on our website.)  

Luther does, however, do something different with the 10 Commandments that I haven’t seen anywhere else.  His Commandment #9 is: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house,” and Commandment #10 is: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his.”  So, the neighbor’s house is apparently more important to single out than his wife.  But, the point is, he still breaks up the 10th Commandment of most Protestants: “Thou shalt not covet,” into 2 separate Commandments, just like the Catholics do.

However, in the Heidelberg Catechism of 1563, put out by Reformed Protestantism (Calvinists), the 2nd Commandment is listed as: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image...”  We see the same thing in the Reformed Westminster Shorter Catechism of 1648 in Question #49, and in the Baptist Catechism of 1689 in Question #54.  

So, Michael, which Protestant Catechism can a Catholic pick up in order to know the definitive Protestant formulation of the 10 Commandments?  What say ye?

Also, in Luther’s Small Catechism, we see that through Baptism we receive the forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation (Section IV).  And, in the Augsburg Confession, which is Lutheran, we see that Baptism is necessary for eternal salvation and that infants should be baptized (Article IX).  Hmm...those sound very Catholic, don’t they?  The Calvinists, in their 1561 Belgic Confession, teach that through Baptism one receives the Holy Spirit, the remission of sins, and is “received into God’s Church,” (Article 34).  And, this is confirmed in the Reformed Heidelberg Catechism (1563), in Questions #71,72, and 74.  

But, in the Baptist Catechism of 1689, Baptism is considered to be an ordinance, not a sacrament as it is considered by the Lutherans and the Calvinists, and Baptism is considered to be merely symbolic - no washing away of sin, no Holy Spirit, no admittance into God’s Church because of it (Question 97).  Furthermore, infants are not to be baptized (Question 99).  And, in the Methodist Missions Catechism of 1853, it also tells us, in Chapter XII, that Baptism is symbolic, but then it also says we should baptize infants.   

So, Michael, which Protestant Catechism can a Catholic pick up to find the definitive Protestant teaching on whether Baptism is a sacrament or an ordinance?  Whether Baptism washes away sin, imbues the Holy Spirit, and makes one a member of the Body of Christ - the Church - or is merely symbolic?  What say ye?

Back to Luther’s Small Catechism.  In it, we see that the Lutherans profess that Confession is a sacrament and that by confessing your sins to a confessor, a mere man, one can receive absolution of his sins from his confessor (Section V).  We see this mentioned again in Article XI of the Augsburg Confession (Lutheran).  But, absolutely no mention of Confession as a sacrament or even as an ordinance, in any of the Reformed Catechisms and Confessions.  Nor in the Baptist, nor the Methodist, nor the Presbyterian.  

So, Michael, which Protestant Catechism can a Catholic pick up to find the definitive Protestant teaching on Confession?  Is it a sacrament or not?  Can the confessor absolve you of your sins or not?  What say ye?

Now, regarding the Eucharist, or the Lord’s Supper, or simply the Sacrament, as the Lutherans refer to it in their early documents.  In Section VI of the Small Catechism, Luther states that the Eucharist is truly the body and blood of Christ under the bread and wine.  The Augsburg Confession teaches the same in Article X.  However, the Heidelberg Catechism states that the Eucharist is merely symbolic (Question 78).  The Baptist Catechism of 1689 makes an even stronger statement about the symbolic nature of the Eucharist.

So, Michael, which Protestant Catechism can a Catholic pick up to find the definitive Protestant teaching on the Eucharist (the Lord’s Supper).  Is it really the body and blood of Christ, or merely a symbolic representation thereof?  Is it a sacrament or an ordinance?  What say ye?

Now, let’s look at this teaching regarding Eternal Security, or Once Saved Always Saved.  What is the teaching of Protestantism on that?  No mention of it in the Small Catechism or in the Augsburg Confession.  Hmmm...  In the Heidelberg Catechism, which, again, is Calvinist, it says that the Kingdom of Heaven can be open and shut through Church discipline - sort of an excommunication type of thing - no eternal security in Calvinism (Question 85).  Or is there?  In the Canons of Dort (1618), which is also Reformed Protestantism, Articles 12 and 13 say there is assurance of salvation, that the believer’s election cannot be revoked.  But, the Methodist Missions Catechism says, in Chapter IX, that one can lose their salvation through sin.  

So, Michael, which Protestant Catechism can a Catholic pick up to find the definitive Protestant teaching on Eternal Security (Once Saved Always Saved) or even the definitive Calvinist teaching on it?  What say ye?

And, which Protestant Catechism can a Catholic pick up to find the definitive Protestant teaching on the Rapture?  It’s not in Luther’s Small Catechism, or the Augsburg Confession, or the Belgic Confession, or the Heidelberg Catechism, or the Canons of Dort, or the Westminster Shorter Catechism or the Baptist Catechism or the Methodist Missions Catechism or the Methodist Episcopal Catechism (1853) or the Presbyterian Intermediate Catechism (1912).  In fact, the Baptist Catechism, in Question #40, states that the bodies of believers who die, rest in their graves until the Resurrection, not until the Rapture!  Which Catechism or Confession of faith is the Rapture in?  Michael, what say ye?

Another thing I wish to make note of.  I have had, on several occasions, various Protestant apologists tell me that I am wrong when I define Sola Scriptura as the belief that the Bible is the sole rule of faith for Protestants - that everything the Christian needs to believe about his faith is found in the Bible.  “Oh no,” they say, “it’s not the SOLE rule of faith, it’s simply the sole INFALLIBLE rule of faith.”  Well, let’s take a few quotes about the Bible from some of these Catechisms and Confessions:

Belgic Confession, Article 7: “We believe that this Holy Scripture contains the will of God completely and that everything one must believe to be saved is sufficiently taught in it.”

Baptist Catechism, Question #4: “The holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the word of God, and the only certain rule of faith and obedience.”  

Catechism of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Question #76: “All correct knowledge of religious truth and duty” is contained in the Bible.

Same Catechism, Question #78: The Bible is, “The only sufficient rule of a Christian’s faith and practice.”  

“Completely,” “everything,” “only,” “all,” “only”...there is nothing in any of these statements that makes a distinction between Scripture being the sole or only rule of faith vs. it being the only “infallible” rule of faith, or that there are fallible rules of faith out there.  

Something else I found very interesting: in Luther’s Small Catechism, in the section on Daily Prayers, he talks about how, when you pray, you should make the sign of the cross.  How many Protestants do that today?  

Also, in the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question #25 talks about how Christ makes “continual intercession for us.”  And it does so in the context of Christ as priest and dying for us on the Cross.  If His death on the Cross was “once for all,” then why does He need to make “continual intercession for us”?  Catholics are often criticized for saying Mass over and over and over again.  “Don’t you know He died once for us, and that there is no need for anything else?”  But, in Hebrews it talks about Him interceding for us - well, what is He offering on our behalf as He intercedes for us?  He is re-presenting to the Father His offering of Himself on the Cross.  Which is the offering that we participate in, and re-present, at every Mass.  If Christ is doing it, why shouldn’t we also be doing it?  The Reformed folks understand that...or, at least, they did once.  

Another thing in the Westminster Shorter Catechism that I found exceedingly interesting, is in Question #37.  It says that the souls of believers are “made perfect” at death.  Hmmm...what does that sound like?  You mean, believers who die, yet there souls are not yet perfect, are somehow, through some process, purged of those imperfections in their souls before they make it into Heaven.  Hmmm...what does that sound like?  I think there is a Catholic word for that, but I’m not really sure what it is...  And, the exact same teaching is found in Question #40 of the Baptist Catechism!  My, my...

Finally, in the Protestant Reformed Churches in America “Declaration of Principles” (1951), the very first article says this: “I. They repudiate the errors of the Three Points adopted by the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church of Kalamazoo, 1924...”

So, Michael, which of those statements of faith is more authoritative...the one issued by the Christian Reformed Church of Kalamazoo in 1924, or the Protestant Reformed Churches in America “Declaration of Principles” in 1951 that repudiates the 1924 statement?  Which of those two Confessions of faith can a Catholic pick up to find the definitive Protestant teaching in the matter these folks were disagreeing about?

Sorry, Michael, and anyone else who would agree with him, but there is no document in all of Protestantism that functions in the same way the Catechism of the Catholic Church does.  There is no one source that a Catholic can turn to in order to know the definitive Protestant teaching on this or that item of faith and morals.  It does not exist.  Now, why do you think that is?  It’s because within Protestantism, there are thousands upon thousands of “authorities,” each declaring what is and is not authentic Christian teaching and practice and each interpreting the Bible in their own ways.  However, no Protestant has the authority to bind any other Protestant in what he believes.  It’s a system that just doesn’t work.


------------------------------------------Reference Material------------------------------------------


The Small Catechism - Martin Luther (1529)

1) Section I - the 10 Commandments (I’m not going to list them all here, just the 1st, 2nd, 9th, an 10th).


1st Commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods.”
2nd Commandment: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain.”
9th Commandment:  “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house.”
10th Commandment: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his.”

2)Section IV - The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

“It works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.”

“It is not the water indeed that does them, but the word of God which is in and with the water, and faith, which trusts such word of God in the water. For without the word of God the water is simple water and no baptism. But with the word of God it is a baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost, as St. Paul says, Titus, chapter three: By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior, that, being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying.”

“It signifies that the old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts, and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.”

3) Section V - Confession

“Confession embraces two parts: the one is, that we confess our sins; the other, that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the confessor, as from God Himself, and in no wise doubt, but firmly believe, that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven.”

“You should speak to the confessor thus: Reverend and dear sir, I beseech you to hear my confession, and to pronounce forgiveness to me for God's sake.”

“And by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ I forgive thee thy sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Depart in peace.”

4) Section VI - The Sacrament of the Altar [the Eucharist]

“It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself.”


The Augsburg Confession - Lutheran (1530)

Article VIII: What the Church Is

“Both the Sacraments and Word are effectual by reason of the institution and commandment of Christ, notwithstanding they be administered by evil men.”

Article IX: Baptism

“Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God, and that children are to be baptized who, being offered to God through Baptism are received into God's grace.”

“They condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children, and say that children are saved without Baptism.”

Article X: Of the Lord’s Supper

“ Of the Supper of the Lord they teach that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present, and are distributed to those who eat the Supper of the Lord; and they reject those that teach otherwise.”

Article XI: Confession

“Of Confession they teach that Private Absolution ought to be retained in the churches...”

Article XII: Of Repentance

“Of Repentance they teach that for those who have fallen after Baptism there is remission of sins whenever they are converted and that the Church ought to impart absolution to those thus returning to repentance.”

Article XVII: Of Christ's Return to Judgment

“Also they teach that at the Consummation of the World Christ will appear for judgment, and  will raise up all the dead; He will give to the godly and elect eternal life and everlasting joys, but ungodly men and the devils He will condemn to be tormented without end.”

“They condemn also others who are now spreading certain Jewish opinions, that before the resurrection of the dead the godly shall take possession of the kingdom of the world, the ungodly being everywhere suppressed.”

The Belgic Confession - Reformed Confession of Faith (1561)

Article 7: The Sufficiency of Scripture

“We believe that this Holy Scripture contains the will of God completely and that everything one must believe to be saved is sufficiently taught in it.”

Article 15: The Doctrine of Original Sin

“ It is a corruption of the whole human nature - an inherited depravity which even infects small infants in their mother’s womb, and the root which produces in humanity every sort of sin.  It is therefore so vile and enormous in God’s sight that it is enough to condemn the human race, and it is not abolished or wholly uprooted even by baptism...”

Article 33: The Sacraments

“There are only two: the sacrament of baptism and the Holy Supper of Jesus Christ.”

Article 34: Baptism

“Having abolished circumcision, which was done with blood, Christ established in its place the sacrament of baptism. By it we are received into God’s church...”

“In this way God signifies to us that just as water washes away the dirt of the body when it is poured on us and also is seen on the bodies of those who are baptized when it is sprinkled on them...”

“It [Baptism] washes and cleanses it [the soul] from its sins and transforms us from being the children of wrath into the children of God.”

“For that reason we reject the error of the Anabaptists who are not content with a single baptism
once received and also condemn the baptism of the children of believers. We believe our children ought to be baptized and sealed with the sign of the covenant, as little children were circumcised in Israel on the basis of the same promises made to our children.”

“Furthermore, baptism does for our children what circumcision did for the Jewish people. That is why Paul calls baptism the “circumcision of Christ,” (Col 2:11).”

Article 37: The Last Judgment

“Finally we believe, according to God’s Word, that when the time appointed by the Lord is come (which is unknown to all creatures) and the number of the elect is complete, our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven, bodily and visibly, as he ascended, with great glory and majesty, to declare himself the judge of the living and the dead. He will burn this old world, in fire and flame, in order to cleanse it.  Then all human creatures will appear in person before the great judge...They will be summoned there “with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet,” (1 Thess 4:16).  For all those who died before that time will be raised from the earth,
their spirits being joined and united with their own bodies in which they lived.  And as for those who are still alive, they will not die like the others but will be changed “in the twinkling of an eye” from perishable to imperishable (1 Cor 15:51-53).  Then the books (that is, the consciences) will be opened, and the dead will be judged according to the things they did in the world (Rev 20:12), whether good or evil.”

Heidelberg Catechism - Reformed (1563)

Question 71: Where has Christ promised that we are as certainly washed with his blood and Spirit as with the water of baptism?

“In the institution of Baptism, which runs thus: Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matt 28:19). He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned (Mark 16:16).This promise is also repeated, where the Scripture calls Baptism the washing of regeneration (Tit 3:5) and the washing away of sins (Acts 22:16).”

Question 72: Is, then, the outward washing with water itself the washing away of sins?

“No (Matt 3:11; 1 Pet 3:21; Eph 5:26-27); for only the blood of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost cleanse us from all sin (1 John 1:7; 1 Cor 6:11).”

Question 74: Are infants also to be baptized?

“Yes; for since they, as well as their parents, belong to the covenant and people of God (Gen 17:7; 1 Cor 7:14†; Joel 2:16†; Matt 19:14), and both redemption from sin and the Holy Ghost, who works faith, are through the blood of Christ promised to them no less than to their parents (Luke 1:14-15; Ps 22:10; Isa 44:1-3; Acts 2:39; 16:31†), they are also by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, to be ingrafted into the Christian Church, and distinguished from the children of unbelievers (Acts 10:47; 1 Cor 12:13†; 2 Cor 6:15), as was done in the Old Testament by Circumcision (Gen 17:12-14), in place of which in the New Testament Baptism is appointed (Col 2:11-13).”

Question 76: What is it to eat the crucified body and drink the shed blood of Christ?

“It is not only to embrace with a believing heart all the sufferings and death of Christ, and thereby to obtain the forgiveness of sins and life eternal (1 Cor 10:16†; John 6:35, 40, 48, 50-51, 53-54), but moreover, also, to be so united more and more to his sacred body by the Holy Ghost, who dwells both in Christ and in us (John 6:55-56; 1 Cor 12:13†), that although he is in heaven (Acts 3:21; 1:9-11; 1 Cor 11:26; Col 3:1†), and we on earth, we are nevertheless flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones (Eph 3:16-17; 5:30; 1 Cor 6:15-19; 1 John 3:24; 4:13), and live and are governed forever by one Spirit, as members of the same body are by one soul (John 14:23; 6:47, 57-58; 15:1-6; Eph 4:15-16).”

Question 78: Do, then, the bread and wine become the real body and blood of Christ?

“No; but as the water in Baptism is not changed into the blood of Christ, nor becomes the washing away of sins itself, being only the divine token and assurance thereof (Matt 26:29; Mark 14:24; John 6:35-63†; Eph 5:26†; Acts 22:16†), so also in the Lord’s Supper the sacred bread does not become the body of Christ itself (1 Cor 10:16-17; 11:26-28), though agreeably to the nature and usage of sacraments (Gen 17:10-11; Exod 12:26-27, 43, 48; 13:9; Acts 7:8; Exod 24:8; Lev 16:10; 17:11; Isa 6:6-7; Tit 3:5; Acts 22:16; 1 Pet 3:21; 1 Cor 10:1-4) it is called the body of Christ.”

Question 85: How is the kingdom of heaven shut and opened by Church discipline?

“In this way: that, according to the command of Christ, if any under the Christian name show themselves unsound either in doctrine or life, and after repeated brotherly admonition refuse to turn from their errors or evil ways, they are complained of to the Church or to its proper officers (Rom 12:7-9; 1 Cor 12:28†; 1 Tim 5:17), and, if they neglect to hear them also, are by them excluded from the holy Sacraments and the Christian communion, and by God himself from the kingdom of Christ (Matt 18:15-18; 1 Cor 5:3-5; 2 Thess 3:14-15; 2 John 10-11); and if they promise and show real amendment, they are again received as members of Christ and his Church (Luke 15:20-24†; 2 Cor 2:5-8, 10).”

Question 92: What is the law of God?

“God spake all these words, saying (Exod 20:1-17; Deut 5:5-21):

Second Commandment: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them. For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments (Exod 20:4-6; Deut 5:8-10).”

Canons of Dort - Reformed (1619)

Article 12: The Assurance of Election

“Assurance of their eternal and unchangeable election to salvation is given to the chosen in due time, though by various stages and in differing measure. Such assurance comes not by inquisitive searching into the hidden and deep things of God, but by noticing within themselves, with spiritual joy and holy delight, the unmistakable fruits of election pointed out in God’s Word—such as a true faith in Christ, a childlike fear of God, a godly sorrow for their sins, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, and so on.”

Article 13: The Fruit of This Assurance

“In their awareness and assurance of this election, God’s children daily find greater cause to humble themselves before God, to adore the fathomless depth of God’s mercies, to cleanse themselves, and to give fervent love in return to the One who first so greatly loved them. This is far from saying that this teaching concerning election, and reflection upon it, make God’s children lax in observing his commandments or carnally self-assured. By God’s just judgment this does usually happen to those who casually take for granted the grace of election or engage in idle and brazen talk about it but are unwilling to walk in the ways of the chosen.”

Article 17: The Salvation of the Infants of Believers

“Since we must make judgments about God’s will from his Word, which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature but by virtue of the gracious covenant in which they together with their parents are included, godly parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom God calls out of this life in infancy.”

Westminster Shorter Catechism - Reformed (1648)

Question 25: How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?

“Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God; and in making continual intercession for us.”

Question 37: What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?

“The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection.”

Question 49: Which is the second commandment?

“The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image...”

Question 94: What is baptism?

“Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord's.”

Question 95: To whom is baptism to be administered?

“Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him; but the infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be baptized.”

Baptist Catechism (1689)

Question 4:  What is the word of God?

“The holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the word of God, and the only certain rule of faith and obedience (2 Tim. 3:16; Eph. 2:20).“

Question 40:  What benefits do believers receive from Christ at their death?

“The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness (Heb. 12:23), and do immediately pass into glory (2 Cor. 5:1, 6, 8; Phil. 1:23; Luke 23:43); and their bodies being still united to Christ (1 Thess. 4:14), do rest in their graves (Is. 57:2) till the resurrection (Job 19:26, 27).”

Question 54: Which is the second commandment?

“The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image...”

Question 97: What is baptism?

“Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament instituted by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death, burial, and resurrection; of his being ingrafted into him (Rom. 6:3, 4, 5; Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:27); of remission of sins (Mk. 1:4; Acts 2:38, and 22:16); and of his giving up himself unto God through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:3, 4).”

Question 99: Are the infants of such as are professing believers to be baptized?

“The infants of such as are professing believers are not to be baptized, because there is neither command or example in the holy scriptures, or certain consequence from them to baptize such (Ex. 23:13; Pr. 30:6; Lk. 3:7, 8).”

Question 102: What is the Lord’s supper?

“The Lord’s supper is an ordinance of the New Testament, instituted by Jesus Christ; wherein by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to his appointment, his death is shown forth, and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace (Mt. 26:26, 27, 28; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; 10:16).”

Methodist Missions Catechism (1853)

Chapter VIII - The Judgment

No mention of a rapture.  Quotes from the rapture passage in Thessalonians, but believes it to be referring to the end of time.

Chapter IX - Who Are Righteous

“The righteous are those who believe the Gospel and live it.

“If our sins are forgiven and we get a new heart, can we fall away and lose it?  Yes; Adam fell away and Judas fell away; and we can fall, too.”

“How must we live so as not to fall from God’s grace?  We must deny ourself and take up our cross daily, and follow Jesus.”

Chapter XII - The Sacraments

“1. What is baptism?  Baptism is a sign of the grace of God that makes us Christians.”

“2. Does Baptism make us Christians?  No; water cannot make us Christians; grace makes us Christians.”

“4. Ought little children to be baptized?  Yes, they belong to Christ.”

Catechism of the Methodist Episcopal Church (1855)

#71 - 72: Baptism - washing of sin; regeneration; admittance to the Church

#76 - “All correct knowledge of religious truth and duty” is derived from the Bible.

#78 - “The only sufficient rule of a Christian’s faith and practice” is the Bible.

#89 - 2nd Commandment: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.”

Presbyterian Intermediate Catechism (1912)

#18 - Salvation by faith alone

#33 - Baptism is symbolic

#34 - Infant baptism


Declaration of Principles of the Protestant Reformed Churches (1951)

“I. They repudiate the errors of the Three Points adopted by the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church of Kalamazoo, 1924...”


"Nuff said!"  Til next time...


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Apologetics for the Masses