A Catechism of the Heart and Head (Good)

Around one hundred years ago, James Good wrote the following about the Heidelberg Catechism and its practical value for the Christian life: But there was a third significance in the Heidelberg at the time of its birth. It was an experimental catechism — a catechism of the heart as well as of the head. It… Continue reading A Catechism of the Heart and Head (Good)

The Law/Gospel Distinction (Olevianus)

 The Reformers understood the difference between the law and the gospel.  It wasn't just Luther who made this important distinction.  For one example, here's how Caspar Olevianus (d. 1587) explained it (as quoted by Otto Thelemann): "With reference to the relation between the law and the Gospel, Olevianus says: “The law is a principle which… Continue reading The Law/Gospel Distinction (Olevianus)

The Law as a Rule of Life

As long as I can remember I have resonated with the teaching that the law of God is a guide of gratitude for the Christian's life.  I've always liked how the Heidelberg Catechism says that obeying the law is a Christian's way of saying "thanks" to God for salvation by grace alone through faith alone… Continue reading The Law as a Rule of Life

The Promise of Reward (Calvin)

The 63rd Q/A of the Heidelberg Catechism deals with Scripture's promise tthat God will reward the good that his people do.  The catechism says "This reward is not earned; it is a gift of grace."  Here's Calvin's similar take on this theme found in his commentary on Psalm 62:12b, You reward everyone according to what… Continue reading The Promise of Reward (Calvin)

Law, Gospel, and Conversion (Ursinus)

In Reformed theology, the law and gospel are distinguished, yet God uses both in his sovereign way.  Zacharius Ursinus, the primary author of the Heidelberg Catechism, understood this well.  After talking about how the Holy Spirit is the primary agent in a sinner's conversion, he talks about the instrumental causes of conversion (that is, the… Continue reading Law, Gospel, and Conversion (Ursinus)