Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Owen's shorter catechism

Q. Where is all truth concerning God and ourselves to be learned?
A. From the holy Scripture, the Word of God.

Q. What do the Scriptures teach that God is?
A. An eternal, infinite, most holy Spirit, giving being to all things, and doing with them whatsoever he pleases.

Q. Is there but one God?
A. One only, in respect to his essence and being, but one in three distinct persons, of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Q. What else is held forth in the Word concerning God, that we ought to know?
A. His decrees, and his works.

Q. What are the decrees of God concerning us?
A. His eternal purposes, of saving some by Jesus Christ, for the praise of his glory, and of condemning others for their sins.

Q. What are the works of God?
A. Acts or doings of his power, whereby he makes, sustains, and governs all things.

Q. What is required from us towards Almighty God?
A. Holy and spiritual obedience, according to his law given unto us.

Q. Are we able to do this of ourselves?
A. No, in no wise, being by nature unto every good work corrupt.

Q. How did we come into this state, being at the first created in the image of God, in righteousness and innocence?
A. By the fall of our first parents (Adam and Eve), breaking the covenant of God, losing his grace, and deserving his curse.

Q. By what way may we be delivered from this miserable state?
A. Only by Jesus Christ.

Q. Who is Jesus Christ?
A. God and man united in one person, to be a mediator between God and man.

Q. What is he to us?
A. A King, a Priest, and a Prophet.

Q. In what does he exercise his kingly power towards us?
A. In converting us unto God by his Spirit, subduing us unto his obedience, and ruling in us by his grace.

Q. In what does the exercise of his priestly office for us chiefly consist?
A. In offering himself up as an acceptable sacrifice on the cross, so satisfying the justice of God for our sins, removing his curse from our persons, and bringing us unto him.

Q. Wherein does Christ exercise his prophetic office towards us?
A. In revealing to our hearts, from the bosom of his Father, the way and truth whereby we must come unto him.

Q. In what condition does Jesus Christ exercise these offices?
A. He did so in a lowly state of humiliation on earth, but now in a glorious state of exaltation in heaven.

Q. For whose sake does Christ perform all these?
A. Only for his elect.

Q. What is the church of Christ?
A. The universal company of God's elect, called to the adoption of children.

Q. How come we to be members of this church?
A. By a living faith.

Q. What is a living faith?
A. An assured resting of the soul upon God's promises of mercy in Jesus Christ, for pardon of sins here and glory hereafter.

Q. How do we come to have this faith?
A. By the effectual working of the Spirit of God in our hearts, freely calling us from the state of nature to the state of grace.

Q. Are we accounted righteous for our faith?
A. No, but only for the righteousness of Christ, freely reckoned to our account, and appropriated by faith.

Q. 1. Is there no more required of us but faith only?
A. Yes; repentance also, and holiness.

Q. 2. What is repentance?
A. A forsaking of all sin, with godly sorrow for what we have committed.

Q. 3. What is that holiness which is required of us?
A. Universal obedience to the will of God revealed unto us.

Q. What are the privileges of believers?
i) union with Christ;
ii) divine adoption;
iii) communion of saints;
iv) right to the seals of the
new covenant;
v) Christian liberty;
vi) resurrection of the body to life eternal.

Q. 1. What are the sacraments, or seals, of the new covenant?
A. Visible seals of God's spiritual promises, made unto us by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Q. 2. What are they?
A. Baptism and the Lord's supper.

Q. What is baptism?
A. A holy ordinance, whereby, being sprinkled with water according to Christ's institution, we are by his grace made children of God, and have the promises of the covenant sealed unto us.

Q. What is the Lord's supper?
A. A holy ordinance of Christ, appointed to convey unto believers his spiritual body and blood, being represented by bread and wine, blessed, broken, poured out, and received of them.

Q. Who has a right to this sacrament?
A. Only those who have a share in Jesus Christ by faith.

Q. What is the communion of saints?
A. A holy bond between all God's people, partakers of the same Spirit, and members of the same spiritual Body (of Christ).

Q. What is the goal of all this dispensation?
A. The glory of God in our salvation.


I've taken the liberty of updating Owen's language from time to time.

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