For those of us who were not associated with reformed doctrine and sermons of the Puritans at or before our conversion and “picked” a church based on the likeability and preaching method of the senior pastor, or a thriving youth program for our kids, or the “worship” music have probably missed out on a full study of catechism’s. I did. In the opening sentence of the Preface to this work was a most eye-opening revelation. “Ever since the 1618–1619 Synod of Dort stipulated in Article 68 of its church order that ‘the Ministers everywhere shall briefly explain on Sunday, ordinarily in the afternoon sermon, the sum of Christian doctrine comprehended in the Catechism,’ written expositions of the Heidelberg Catechism have been published regularly in the Netherlands—a practice that is continued until today.” [Emphasis mine. VanderGroe’s sermons are more than ‘brief.’]
I have attended three different denominations since my conversion, 35 years ago: Baptist, Covenant and Christian Reformed. Nowhere was/has this been practiced, to the loss of the congregates. For those of us who have found depth, conviction and joy in Puritan sermons will not be disappointed in Theodore VanderGroe’s 52 Lord’s Day sermons, despite his call pastoral call between 1740 – 1784. Oh, that pastors of our year would preach on these 129 Q’s and A’s, reviving a Sunday afternoon sermon practice rather than delegating them to a memorization exercise by youth or ignoring them altogether. The HC is a compendium of Christian Doctrine that is essential to grow our faith in our LORD.
To wet your appetite to add these volumes to your reference library, at the end of his Lord’s Day 1 sermon VanderGroe says, “Thus, we have considered briefly the way in which the true comfort of man’s soul is acquired and how we can blessedly live and die accordingly… The instructor will now proceed to further explain and enlarge upon these three fundamental truths in the Catechism [from Answer 2], so that, contingent upon the Lord’s blessing, He might lead some to the actual enjoyment and embracing of this blessed spiritual comfort, while at the same time taking from them all false and deceitful foundations for comfort.”