Posted by: Michael Dewalt | April 29, 2009

Using Calvin’s Catechism in Worship

(See previous posts on Calvin’s liturgies)

As our pastoral staff puts together our worship services, we seek to use creeds, hymns, prayers, readings, etc., that reinforce the message of the sermon. We typically use the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, a biblical confession of sin, or questions from the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Thankfully, there are many fine creeds and catechisms from which to draw. Earlier this year, in our evening worship we used parts of the Heidelberg Catechism (1561), a creedal statement familiar to German and Dutch-speaking Reformed Christians.

It also occurred to us that Calvin might have a catechism that could be used similarly. Since early April in our evening services, we have been employing Calvin’s 1545 Catechism in our worship. Sure, some of the words may be new, but it is confirming to see yet another re-statement of the one faith held by the saints. This past Sunday evening, we used this part of Calvin’s catechism on the meaning of faith:


Pastor : Do we conceive faith of ourselves, or do we receive it from God?

People : Scripture teaches that it is the special gift of God, and this experience confirms.

Pastor : What experience do you mean?

People : Our mind is too rude to be able to comprehend the spiritual wisdom of God which is revealed to us by faith, and our hearts are too prone; either to diffidence or to a perverse confidence in ourselves or creatures, to rest in God of their own accord. But the Holy Spirit by his illumination makes us capable of understanding those things which would otherwise far exceed our capacity, and forms us to a firm persuasion, by sealing the promises of salvation on our hearts.

Pastor : What good accrues to us from this faith, when we have once obtained it?

People : It justifies us before God, and this justification makes us the heirs of everlasting life.


On Easter night, we used other sections on the resurrection and refer our readers to see or use what we are, if ever helpful, from our bulletins posted here.

Calvin’s Catechism was designed to be used with young children—complete with leading questions—and it is a thorough summary of our faith. We hope you enjoy.


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