First Things RSS Feed - James Grant
en-usCopyright 2016 First Things. All Rights Reserved.firstname.lastname@example.org (The Editors)email@example.com (The Editors)Tue, 25 Oct 2016 18:44:36 -0400https://d25wp47b6tla3u.cloudfront.net/img/favicon-196.pngFirst Things RSS Feed Image
60The Nicene Creed, A DVD Documentaryhttps://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2012/01/the-nicene-creed-a-dvd-documentary
Fri, 27 Jan 2012 10:33:20 -0500Some of you might have noticed this, but I thought it appropriate to point out on Evangel that
has produced its first video,
The Creed: What Christians Profess, and Why It Ought to Matter
. It is a documentary about the Nicene Creed. I stumbled on this because I was looking for something like it for my 11th Grade theology class. Here is the advertisement by
St. Augustine and the Beauty of the Old Testamenthttps://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2012/01/st-augustine-and-the-beauty-of-the-old-testament
Tue, 24 Jan 2012 12:10:04 -0500A few years ago Pope Benedict XVI gave a series of lectures on the early church fathers, and they have been collected into a book:
Church Fathers: From Clement of Rome to Augustine
. In one of the lectures on St. Augustine, the Pope mentioned something significant about Ambrose’s influence on St. Augustine:
This edited work examines eight key theologians in the Christian tradition who have shaped what we believe today. The theologians included in this volume are the following (with the author in parenthesis):
]]>Reading Classics Aloudhttps://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2011/05/reading-classics-aloud
Mon, 23 May 2011 19:59:30 -0400Reflecting on Kevin Kiley’s article “
” at Inside Higher Ed,
]]>Chesterton on Fairy Tales and Evilhttps://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2011/04/chesterton-on-fairy-tales-and-evil
Tue, 12 Apr 2011 16:38:59 -0400G. K. Chesterton had a way with words. Some of my favorite quotes come from him, and that includes a quote about fairy tales. The quote is usually stated like this: “Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.” I actually heard it once on
(the TV show) of all places. Although Chesterton seems to be the original source for this idea, the quote is not exact. As best I can tell, the original source comes from Chesterton’s essay “
The Red Angel
(Amazon has a free Kindle version):
]]>Flannery O’Conner’s Sacramental Worldview: “Others Are Christ”https://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2010/10/flannery-oconners-sacramental-worldview-others-are-christ
Tue, 19 Oct 2010 17:02:44 -0400Reviewing a book titled
The Son of Man
written by François Mauriac (a French Roman Catholic who wrote about the problems of good and evil in human nature and in the world), Flannery O’Connor writes:
]]>Serving Tea to Those who Destroy “the Church”https://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2010/09/serving-tea-to-those-who-destroy-the-church
Sat, 18 Sep 2010 19:31:11 -0400Leighton Ford
]]>Ministers: Masters (of Divinity) or Managers (of Organizations)? https://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2010/08/ministers-masters-or-managers
Thu, 19 Aug 2010 16:30:24 -0400In a lecture on Introductory Theology, Kevin Vanhoozer describes how ministers were once considered Masters of theology, but now are considered Managers of programs for whom theology is only peripheral. He explains:
]]>Creating Sabbath Peace Amid the Noise https://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2010/08/creating-sabbath-peace-amid-the-noise
Sat, 14 Aug 2010 17:51:21 -0400My friend Tim Russell, headmaster of
in Memphis, TN, pointed me to a fascinating article in the
New York Times
by Judith Shulevitz titled, “
Creating Sabbath Peace Amid the Noise
.” Shulevitz writes:
]]>Interview with Kevin DeYoung on The Good News We Almost Forgot in the Heidelberg Catechismhttps://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2010/04/interview-with-kevin-deyoung-on-the-good-news-we-almost-forgot-in-the-heidelberg-catechism
Fri, 30 Apr 2010 15:45:51 -0400Speaking about the value of catechism...Kevin DeYoung, pastor of
University Reformed Church
in East Lansing, MI, and one of the bloggers here at Evangel, recently agreed to an interview about his new book
The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism
, which is on the Heidelberg Catechism. I originally posted the interview at
In Light of the Gospel
, but thought I would share it with the readers of Evangel.
: Let’s start with the obvious question: what is a catechism? And isn’t this some Roman Catholic thing?
: A catechism is simply a tool for teaching the fundamentals of the faith. Unlike a creed or confession a catechism uses questions and answers. Many Protestant confessional traditions, like Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Reformed, have used catechisms for centuries. Initially, most catechisms were intended for children. Though we probably aren’t as biblical or theologically astute. So our adults need them too.
What would be the benefits of using a catechism in the life of the church?
I can think of a lot of benefits: 1) It’s an intuitive way to learn about the faith. There’s almost a conversational element to reading through a catechism. 2) When we use old confessions and catechisms were help teach our people that their faith is an old faith, shared by millions over many centuries. We also help them realize that other Christians have asked the same questions. 3) Catechisms are ready made documents for Sunday school, new members classes, or even the occasional sermon. 4) Catechisms guard us against faddishness and chronological snobbery.
How do you use it at your church? And what are some other suggestions regarding how to use a catechism.
We use the Heidelberg Catechism in our worship. Sometimes we read it responsively. Other times I’ll work it into my communion liturgy. I’ll quote it in my sermons from time to time. I’ve seen the Catechism used effectively as Sunday school material. It’s best to have littler kids memorize parts of it and have older kids explore the nuances of the theology. We also have a section on the Catechism in our membership class and leadership training. And of course, my book on Heidelberg started out a weekly devotionals for my congregation.
Regarding the Heidelberg Catechism in particular, what makes it so helpful?
With one or two exceptions, it is very irenic. It’s warm, personal, and focused on the gospel. The theology is solidly evangelical with Reformed leanings, but broad enough to be used outside reformed circles. The Catechism majors on the majors: the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer. Also, the division of 52 Lord’s Days makes Heidelberg ideal for weekly reading or study.
Is there a particular aspect of the Heidelberg Catechism or a section that left a stronger impression on you this time?
I’m not a Heidelberg scholar. I’m sure I’ll continue to learn more about the ins and outs of the document. But this time around I was struck by the relentless focus on the gospel. The Catechism does talk about our obligations as Christians, but the main theme is grace: how God comforts us, how the cross and resurrection benefits us, how Christ mediates for us. The Heidelberg Catechism is like a refreshing bath with cool gospel water.
Outside the first question, have other questions made an significant impression on your study? Which ones?
I’ve memorized several questions and answers over the years. Q. 21 on true faith is solid gold. Q. 27 on providence is my favorite. I’m also blessed every time I read the question on the Lord’s Supper. I enjoyed thinking more about the ascension too from Lord’s Day 18.
What resources would you suggest for someone who reads your book and wants to dig deeper in the Heidelberg Catechism?