Patricia E. Clawson
If your congregation is using creeds and confessions during worship, the Larger Catechism is now available as bulletin inserts to be used as part of your liturgy. All 196 questions and answers of the Larger Catechism are included and grouped by topics. Because they are used as part of the liturgy, sometimes there are breaks in the text to improve readability. Pastors may cut and paste the questions and answers to suit their own needs.
Paul Browne, pastor of New Life OPC in Montoursville, Pennsylvania, developed the inserts to help visitors and members learn more about their congregation’s creeds. Browne decided to make the bulletin inserts because the Larger Catechism is not included in the Trinity Hymnal, and other sources of the catechism include the full Scripture verses with each question.
“We try to teach people we are a confessing church and these are our standards,” said Browne. “The officers are accountable to them, and this is what we will teach.” Over the years, Browne has found that being upfront in presenting the OPC’s standards has broken down resistance and barriers to false belief. “It teaches grown-up doctrines to grown-up Christians,” said Browne.
Many Christians in our day are uncomfortable with creeds and confessions. To those folks Browne explains, “Just as the hymns are compositions of mere human origin, I point out that our confessions of faith are just the same thing. They are mere human compositions, but as they faithfully summarize the biblical truth, they are acceptable for worship. This glorifies him and transforms us.”
The Larger Catechism bulletin inserts are in PDF format with the Scripture citations listed but not printed out, because of space considerations, at the bottom of each question and answer. “That’s important for when people are most hostile to the creed, they can see where it comes from in the Scriptures,” said Browne.
For churches using this catechism for the first time in worship, Browne has as word of encouragement: “It may take a while for the people to get used to them, but now the congregation understands the value of the creeds and confessions.”
The bulletin inserts are available to download here.