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A Faith Worth Teaching: The Heidelberg Catechism's Enduring Heritage (Payne & Heck, eds.)

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For 450 years, churches throughout the world have been using the Heidelberg Catechism (1563) to instruct God’s people in foundational Christian doctrine. When Elector Frederick III (1515–1576) commissioned the preparation of a manual for instructing the youth and guiding the pastors and teachers of his domain, he could not have imagined the profound effect it would have on future generations of Christians. The most widely used, most influential Reformation catechism, the “Heidelberger” shines forth the blessed truths of the gospel in 129 questions and answers, beginning with the memorable, ever-enduring subject of our “only comfort in life and in death.”

In A Faith Worth Teaching, edited by Jon Payne and Sebastian Heck, an array of faithful pastor-scholars celebrate the Heidelberg Catechism on its 450th anniversary with a collection of essays on its dynamic history, rich theology, and fruit-bearing practice that will be an encouragement to pastors and laypersons alike.

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Table of Contents: 

Foreword: the Heidelberg Catechism: the Secret of its Success - Herman J. Selderhuis 

Part 1: The History and Background of the Heidelberg Catechism 

1. The History and People Behind the Heidelberg Catechism - Lyle D. Bierma 

2. The Heidelberg Catechism in the United States - D. G. Hart 

Part 2: The Heidelberg Catechism and the Means of Grace 

3. Holding Firmly to the Heidelberger: The Validity and Relevance of Catechism Preaching - Joel R. Beeke 

4. Preaching the Catechism Today - Joel R. Beeke 

5. “Washed from All My Sins”: The Doctrine of Baptism in the Heidelberg Catechism - Sebastian Heck 

6. “As Certainly As I See and Taste”: The Lord’s Supper and the Heidelberg Catechism – Jon D. Payne 

Part 3: Christian Doctrine and the Heidelberg Catechism 

7. Gathered, Protected, and Preserved: The Church in the Heidelberg Catechism - Michael S. Horton

8. Grace and Gratitude: Justification and Sanctification in the Heidelberg Catechism - Cornelis P. Venema

9. The Christology of the Heidelberg catechism - Mark Jones 

10. “Prophet, Doctor Jesus”: the Son of God as “Our High Priest and Teacher” in the Heidelberg Catechism - Victor E. d’Assonville 

11. The Spirit-Filled Catechism: The Heidelberg Catechism and the Holy Spirit - Daniel R. Hyde 

Part 4: The Heidelberg Catechism As Catechetical Tool 

12. The Heidelberg Catechism Among the Reformed Catechisms - W. Robert Godfrey 

13. The Heidelberg Catechism: A Catechetical Tool - Willem Verboom 

14. Scholasticism in the Heidelberg Catechism? - Willem van ’t Spijker 



Jon D. Payne is pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Douglasville, Georgia and also serves as Visiting Lecturer in Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta. He is Series Editor of the Lectio Continua Expository Commentary on the New Testament.

Sebastian Heck is assistant pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Douglasville, Georgia and serves as church planter of the Selbständige Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche (Free Reformed church) in Heidelberg, Germany.



“This is a wonderful collection of articles, both practical and scholarly. There is much here to help us understand the history, the theology, and the continuing relevance of the Heidelberg Catechism. As we preach through the Heidelberg in our church I will certainly consult this book often. It prompted me to think again and again ‘Isn’t the Catechism remarkable!’ and, more importantly, ‘Isn’tthe gospel amazing!’” — Kevin DeYoung, senior pastor at University Reformed Church, Lansing, Michigan, and author of The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism

“As a summary and interpretation of God’s Word composed for and authorized by the Reformed churches, the Heidelberg Catechism (1563) has a special place in the life of the churches. We should be thankful for A Faith Worth Teaching, a fine resource that helps us better understand and use the catechism in our time.” — R. Scott Clark, professor of church history and historical theology, Westminster Seminary California

“It is no accident that John Calvin wrote biblical commentaries, catechisms, and a theology textbook. All the major Reformers were convinced of two things: first, that all the revelation of God is for all the people of God; and second, that systematic expository preaching (to which they were committed) needed to be accompanied by catechetical instruction. Only thus would Christians grasp the whole message of the Bible and have the ability to retain its truth in their minds and apply it to their lives. No sixteenth-century catechism accomplished this more powerfully than the great Heidelberg Catechism of 1563. In A Faith Worth Teaching, Jon Payne and Sebastian Heck have assembled a first-class team of scholars and pastors to introduce and encourage its use in churches today. Combining knowledgeable scholarship and spiritual sensitivity, A Faith Worth Teaching is both a crash course in Reformed theology and a stimulating guide to Christian thinking and living that encourage God-glorifying, Christ-centered, Spirit-filled, church-oriented Christian living. — Sinclair B. Ferguson, senior minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina