A Larger & Shorter Catechism (Milwaukee Rescue Mission | Doctrine Class)

On Wednesday mornings I volunteer at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission and teach a basic doctrine class in their New Journey rehabilitation program, as well as preach chapel. Below are both a larger and shorter catechism I developed for memorization alongside the 24 lessons total (originally composed spring of 2018).


Larger Catechism

(1) How can we know God?                                                                                                     

God has made himself known generally to all people through his creation, our consciences, and his guidance of history. But God has also made himself known in a special way through scripture.

(2) What is scripture?                                                                                                              

Scripture is God’s very Word, produced by the Holy Spirit. It is entirely true and without error, wholly sufficient for faith and practice, and supremely authoritative for what is true and right.

(3) What is God?

God is the Creator and Lord. He has no beginning or end, but made everything else that exists. He is limitless, good, and absolutely perfect.

(4) How many persons are there in God?

There is one God who exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each person of the Trinity possesses the full nature of God.

(5) How did we become sinful?

God created humanity sinless, in his own image, to know, love, and enjoy him. But because of the disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, all of humanity fell into sin, is now born sinful, guilty, and rebels against God.

(6) What is the consequence of our sin?

Because of sin, we are guilty before God and deserving of his judgment. We experience death in this life, and, apart from salvation, will suffer eternal punishment in hell.

(7) Who is Jesus Christ?

Jesus Christ is God the Son become a human. He did this in order that he might die for our sins.

(8) How has Christ saved us?

Christ died in our place, taking the punishment for our sin, so that we might be forgiven and reconciled to God. In Christ’s resurrection he triumphed over sin and defeated death.

(9) What does Christ do for us now?

Christ has gone into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God from where he rules over us and is constantly pleading to God on our behalf.

(10) What does it mean that salvation is by grace?

Salvation is purely a gift. It cannot be earned. We are not saved by our good works, but simply by relying on Christ.

(11) What are election and predestination?

Election means that, if we are saved, it is because God choose us. Predestination means that God planned and destined this salvation from before all time.

(12) What are calling and regeneration?

God calls us when he convinces us of our sin and shows us our need for Jesus. In regeneration God gives us spiritual life to respond to Jesus with faith.

(13) How can we be saved?

By trusting in Christ for salvation. Faith means we admit our sin and rely on Christ alone for our salvation. We do not trust in our good works or anything else to save us.

(14) What does justification mean?

Justification means that God sees us as righteous (even though we are sinful), and therefore will not count us as guilty since Christ paid for our sin.

(15) What happens after I am saved?

Having saved us, God begins to grow us; and we begin to change. We do good works. These works do not save us, but they show that we are saved.

(16) Will those who are saved stay saved?

Yes, by God’s grace they will continue to trust in Christ. Those who are truly saved will not fall away from their faith in Christ because God keeps them.

(17) What is the final stage of salvation?

When Christ returns, he will raise us from the dead and make us totally free from sin.

(18) What does it mean to be united to Christ?

By trusting in Christ I am joined to him and I receive everything he is for me. Since he died for sin, I am forgiven. Since he rose from the dead, I too will be raised.

(19) How does the Holy Spirit help us?

The Holy Spirit is the one who gives us spiritual life. As believers, he indwells us, grows us, helps us understand the Bible, gives us gifts to serve others, and is a guarantee that we are saved.

(20) What is the church?

The church is God’s people. They exist to glorify him by loving one another and spreading the message of his salvation.

(21) How is the church organized?

Those who believe in Jesus join the church. The church is served by elders who pastor the church, and deacons who serve the needs of the church.

(22) What does the church do?

The church is a community that follows God’s Word, worships together, and encourages one another in the Christian life.

(23) What are the ordinances (or sacraments)?

They are pictures of God’s promises to us. The water of baptism symbolizes both the washing away of sin and being buried and raised with Jesus. The bread and the wine of the Lord’s Supper represent Christ’s death in our place.

(24) What is our hope?

We wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will raise us from the dead, judge the wicked, and bring us into his perfect kingdom.


Shorter Catechism

(1) How can we know God?                                                                                                  

God has made himself known through the scriptures.

(2) What is scripture?                                                                                                           

Scripture is God’s Word. It is completely true and authoritative.

(3) What is God?

God is the Creator. He is limitless, good, and perfect.

(4) How many persons are there in God?

Three: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

(5) How did we become sinful?

Because of Adam’s disobedience, we all fell into sin.

(6) What is the consequence of our sin?

We are guilty before God and deserve his punishment.

(7) Who is Jesus Christ?

Jesus Christ is God become man.

(8) How has Christ saved us?

Christ died in our place, taking the punishment for our sin.

(9) What does Christ do for us now?

Christ is in heaven ruling over us and interceding for us.

(10) What does it mean that salvation is by grace?

Salvation is a gift. It cannot be earned.

(11) What are election and predestination?

Before the world began, God chose and planned to save his people.

(12) What are calling and regeneration?

God shows us our need for Christ and gives us spiritual life to believe in Jesus.

(13) How can we be saved?

By trusting in Christ alone for salvation.

(14) What does justification mean?

God declares us righteous and does not count our sin against us.

(15) What happens after I am saved?

God begins to change us, and we produce good works.

(16) Will those who are saved stay saved?

Yes. God’s grace will empower them to keep trusting in Christ.

(17) What is the final stage of salvation?

Christ will raise us from the dead and free us from sin.

(18) What does it mean to be united to Christ?

We are joined to Christ and receive salvation in him.

(19) How does the Holy Spirit help us?

He indwells us, grows us, and gives us gifts to serve others.

(20) What is the church?

The church is the community of those who trust and follow Christ.

(21) How is the church organized?

The church is led by elders and served by deacons.

(22) What does the church do?

The church worships, serves, and obeys God’s Word.

(23) What are the ordinances (or sacraments)?

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They are pictures of our salvation.

(24) What is our hope?

God will raise the dead, judge the wicked, and make all things new.