We introduced the New City Catechism to our Sunday liturgy (order of worship) on Sunday. The New City Catechism (NCC) is a set of 52 questions and answers designed to help us remember the core teachings of Scripture. Like the Apostles’ Creed, the NCC is another intentional effort to ensure that everyone who makes Grace Life Church their home church is adequately discipled in God’s Word. Why?
Because sound doctrine leads to a sound life.
Paul writes in Ephesians 4:11–14
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
One of the main responsibilities that God has given the Pastor-Elders of Grace Life Church is to help shepherd and disciple members of Grace Life to the fullness of Christ. This is Christian maturity.
Understanding the wonderful truths of Scripture leads to our spiritual maturity. As the Apostle Peter would write in his first letter:
“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:2-3)
The New City Catechism is a tool in the tool chest of growing in God’s Word and understanding sound, Biblical doctrine. Let’s answer a few questions about this new tool we are using at Grace Life.
What is a Catechism?
For most of church history, the Christian church has utilized catechisms to teach doctrine to children and adults. A Catechism is a method of teaching that includes an oral element. It is also done within a community (i.e. Sunday church gatherings, Sunday school, small groups, etc).
The word “catechism” comes from the Greek word “Katecheo”, pronounced very similarly to catechism. We see this Greek word mentioned in the New Testament.
“Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue”. (1 Corinthians 14:19)
“Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John.” (Acts 18:24–25)
If you notice from these two examples, catechisms are both for our instruction and to instruct others. Intentional community discipleship.
Why are we specifically using the New City Catechism?
The New City Catechism is not the only catechism available to the church. In fact, it’s quite new compared to several others. The NNC was written and made available in 2012.
The Heidelberg Catechism (1563), the Westminster Catechism (longer and shorter versions) (1648), and the London Baptist Catechism (1689) are a few examples of catechisms used throughout church history. The Heidelberg and Westminster Catechisms are predominately used within Presbyterian churches. Martin Luther, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, Richard Baxter, and many other pastors and theologians took advantage of catechisms in their ministries.
While these catechisms are very thorough and, for the most part, follow Scripture, the New City Catechism offers a fresh, updated language that is built off of these historical catechisms. You can read more about the layout of the New City Catechism on their website,
The New City Catechism builds off of a rich foundation and brings modern tools to help equip the church with sound doctrine.
How can I use the New City Catechism?
The catechism will fall short if you only take advantage of it on Sunday mornings. We’ll read the week’s question in our LifeGroups and post reminders in our weekly Newsletter and on social media. But it will also take effort on your part.
Here’s how you can use it at home.
- Read the question to your spouse or your kids and then have them respond with the answer.
- Have someone read you the question and then you respond with the answer.
- Play the corresponding song with your kids. (Parents, this will help you memorize it as well)
- Download the New City Catechism app in your app store and follow along with weekly readings, songs, and additional resources.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
It’s my prayer to see you grow in the fullness of Christ and it is my joy to come alongside of you and help you deepen your roots in the wonderful doctrines of Scripture.
By His Grace,