Thursday, June 13, 2013

The New City Catechism: Analysis Part 9 [Edited]

The Holy Spirit

Heidelberg Catechism:

Q53: What dost thou believe concerning the Holy Ghost?
A: First, that he is true and coeternal God with the Father and the Son; secondly, that he is also given me, to make me by a true faith, partaker of Christ and all his benefits, that he may comfort me and abide with me forever.

New City Catechism:

Q36: What do we believe about the Holy Spirit?
A: That he is God, coeternal with the Father and the Son, and that God grants him irrevocably to all who believe.

Q37: How does the Holy Spirit help us?
A: The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, comforts us, guides us, gives us spiritual gifts and the desire to obey God; and he enables us to pray and to understand God’s Word.

Historically, the Westminster Catechisms mention the person of the Holy Spirit in their discussion of God, and the work of the Holy Spirit are spoken about throughout the catechisms especially when dealing with the application of redemption, which is the Spirit's primary work now. Thus, they do not have a separate section on the Holy Spirit. The Heidelberg Catechism on the other hand has one question specifically on the Holy Spirit, since it is structured in part as an explanation of the Apostle’s Creed.

The New City Catechism has two questions on the Holy Spirit, which is OK. In light of Pentacostalism and the Charismatic movement, having questions specifically concerning the person and work of the Holy Spirit do seem warranted. That said, the NCC's questions and answers are general enough to encompass both Charismatics and Non-charismatics, and as such are not specific enough.

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