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If you are a regular reader of my blog, you have probably already figured out that I hold to Reformed theology. However, what most people probably don’t know is that I’m also a Baptist. In particular, I view myself as a confessional, Reformed Baptist who holds to the 1689 London Baptist Confession (i.e. I believe that the 1689 LBCF is the most accurate summary of the whole of Christian doctrine). Currently, my family and I have the privilege of being members of a conservative PCA church plant in the Charleston area. Even though we have doctrinal differences over the nature of the Church and over covenant theology, we are quite grateful to be in a church in which God-centered worship is prioritized, the means of grace are central, and Christian history and tradition are important.
As a young Christian, I spent too many years in doctrinal error through the Word of Faith movement. Because of this, I personally know what it’s like to be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine that sounds “spiritual”. Those years in ignorance have given me a passion for sound doctrine and has given me a passion to see sound doctrine and sound tradition faithfully passed down from one generation to another. For this reason, I’ve admired how past generations of Reformed theologians and pastors have passed down their tradition through their confessions, creeds, and catechisms. I view this as a Biblical practice that helps the church avoid falling into gross doctrinal errors and heresies or “re-inventing the wheel” so-to-speak (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:15, Jude 3). Personally, my soul has been greatly enriched by studying the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the Westminster Larger Catechism, and the Heidelberg Catechism.
It has only been in recent years that I discovered the writings, confessions, and catechisms of the original 17th century Particular Baptists. I’ve enjoyed reading through The Baptist Catechism by Benjamin Keach and The Orthodox Catechism by Hercules Collins. Those two catechisms most closely align with the Westminster Shorter Catechism and the Heidelberg Catechism, respectively. What I’ve found interesting is that I haven’t seen a Particular Baptist version of the Westminster Larger Catechism, in which a thorough discussion of credobaptist distinctives have been given in catechetical form. So in my small attempt to pass down sound doctrine and tradition, I have decided to do a Baptist Larger Catechism. So, on a weekly basis, I will post a couple of questions from the catechism that I have completed. I view this as a community project for all other Reformed Baptists who would like to see a Larger Catechism in modern English so if you are interested in assisting in any way, feel free to comment. So, without further ado, here are the first couple of questions of a Larger Baptist Catechism.
Q. 1: What is the primary and highest purpose of man?
A: Man’s primary and highest purpose is to glorify God fully1 and to enjoy Him completely forever.2
Q. 2: How do we know that God exists?
A: Our internal, natural understanding1 along with the external evidence of God’s works of creation and providence2 plainly indicates that God exists. However, salvation only comes through God’s revelation through His Word and Spirit.3
Questions 1 and 2 start with basic, core teachings of Christianity – the purpose of man and the existence of God. For those who are reading this blog, should question 2 be expanded more thoroughly, given the modern claims of atheism and agnosticism, or do you think it’s sufficient as a catechism question?