You remember that one movie, with the line that was well loved and quoted often, “You had me at hello”? Well, that is how I felt about Kevin DeYoung’s latest book, The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism. He got me at the Introduction and possibly even the title.
My kids and I have been learning the questions and answers to the Westminster Catechism in our school time as a way to remember key doctrines. Kids are able to memorize so easily even when understanding may not come until later and working on it together is helping me remember as well. Catechism was not part of my spiritual education as a child but I now see it as a beautiful document in the face of a Biblically illiterate society. When I noted DeYoung’s book on my extensive wish list, I found a way to review a copy and begin to delve into DeYoung’s love and understanding of the Catechism.
When the book arrived, the first thing I noticed was that it is written in 52 segments with each one taking one or more of the Heidelberg Catechism questions stating them and then expounding in the next few pages. It seemed like a book that could be done as a devotional and renamed, Mastering Catechism in 52 Days, or something really cool and creative like that. Perhaps it was good that I was not consulted on naming the book, but I do plan to read it as such and record a few gems along the way as an extended review of sorts. In fact, if you want to grab a copy and read along, let me know. I would love that.
In reading the Introduction, the very first paragraph (my hello part), shares what I have already begun to notice. How one generation loves something that the next can hardly stand. Please purchase the book so you can read how much better DeYoung relays this information that resounded to my very soul. I understood that the paragraph was in reference to what is coming in the book, but my mind went to people whom I love that over time seem to drift away from what they know to be true. I have watched friends who can not seem to get passed the failures of the church they grew up in using it as a way to remain bitter and angry instead of clinging closer to God. It breaks my heart and it causes me to want to dive into a book like this for understanding. I desire wisdom to disciple my children to know the truth. The very truth that sets me free! Perhaps you want that too.
I also liked DeYoung’s description of his Heidelberg year spending time in the Catechism and studying it. So, this will be my 52 Days of the Catechism give or take the weekends. Why not join me?
In a Church age confused about the essential elements of the Christian faith – and whether Christianity has any doctrinal center at all – the Heidelberg Catechism offers a relentless reminder of the one doctrine that matters most: We are great sinners and Christ is a greater Savior.
-Kevin DeYoung (17-18)