Study of the Confession of Faith and Larger Catechism
by Rev. John M. Minich
[excerpted from THE PRESBYTERIAN 96.16 (22 April 1926): 11.
At the present time, when so much sinful opposition is being manifested toward that marvelous document, our Confession of Faith, the question might rightly be asked, “How thoroughly do ministers who, by God’s grace, still remain true to the pure, full gospel of Christ and Jesus, and yearn to be deepened in their spiritual comprehension, study this disputed, but nevertheless, grand statement and pronouncement of belief?”
We have expressed the opposition to the Confession as being “sinful” — indeed it is — for it reveals the insidious workings of Satan in the minds, hearts and lives of men, whereby they are turned against the Truth and blasphemously attempt to weaken the bulwarks of spiritual strength and assurance — so that, preferably, the machinations of men may prevail, and the hisses of the serpent may still be heard.
In our estimation, faithful ministers should not only now consider the Confession, but should approach it in a studious way, carefully meditating upon the contents of the various chapters. Because of this conviction, we have personally, just finished a very careful study of the glorious document and have been enriched spiritually beyond measure! The time spent was spiritually purifying to the mind. It quickened and augmented the theological acumen — with which all true ministers should be possessed in an operative way — for too few ministers are as deeply and fully familiar with the explanations of the great doctrines, as they may be rightly expected to be, nor are they as theologically potent as they should be for great, forceful, practical, effective preaching — their added knowledge and veritable growth in grace will not be a mental burden, but can be, as we have said, practically worked out in familiar expositions of the mysteries and glories of the Gospel — and this is necessary.
The ministry needs to gird itself more adequately with theological and truly spiritual power ; ministers should be more largely theologians than they are at present. Doctors know more — far more — of the essence of their profession than do most ministers of theirs — and this “ought not so to be.” Study of the Confession of Faith alone would further them along needful channels of equipment.
Then there is the matter of the Larger Catechism — so splendidly expressive ! — with no intention, for the present purpose, of memorizing it, we have begun a study of it — just to carefully consider the gem-truths contained in the questions and especially the answers — perhaps a strange line of study some might think — but this aspect of “some might think” is so often wrong — because we have found the study so far to be surprisingly lucrative of qualitative good, accomplishing a work of clarification.
To be grounded in the facts of the Catechism is to be more truly rooted in the faith “once delivered to the saints.” We need bed-rock grounding, we must be deeply rooted in God and his Truth, and then serve him with power — his power — so graciously given!