Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Review of The Heidelberg Catechism: A Study Guide by G.I. Williamson

The Heidelberg Catechism: A Study Guide
by G. I. Williamson
ISBN 978-0-87552-551-8
Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing
Reviewed by Clint Walker
The Heidelberg Catechism: A Study Guide
Before I ever discovered the Heidelberg Catechism, I memorized and studied the Westminster Catechism. I wish I could say that I had nobler motives, but the truth was that if I had memorized the catechism and wrote an essay on it assigned by the Presbyterian Church USA, I had a good chance of getting a stipend from the denomination given to students who attended PC(USA) colleges. So, I, along with 2 or 3 of my college peers began to work hard to memorize the text, and we succeeded both in memorizing the document and in receiving the $1000 dollars promised for doing so. Somehow, in the process, I was given a study guide of the catechism by someone. The study guide was from G.I. Williamson.

Now that I am getting deeper in my study of the Heidelberg Catechism, I have also picked up a study guide on Heidelberg by Williamson entitled (surprise) The Heidelberg Catechism: A Study Guide. Many times, as I read what he says, I hear a person with questions that come from a more conservative hermaneutical perspective than I, and from a different generation than I. Nevertheless, I find his discussion on each week of questions and answers helpful because he helps me see things from my church people's perspective (who are also from a more mature generation), and it helps me read the text with fresh eyes. There are times when I disagree with Williamson, but I appreciate his willingness to stay rooted in his Orthodox Presbyterian tradition.

Each chapter has commentary on the questions and answers to be studied on each week. They also questions on the lesson, and questions for further study on the biblical and theological issues that the week's questions bring up. Williamson is thorough!

No matter what perspective you come from, I think if you want to study the Heidelberg Catechism, you need to The Heidelberg Catechism: A Study Guide by Williamson on your desk. It is the standard in the English language on studying the document.

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