The New City Catechism, by The Gospel Coalition & Redeemer Presbyterian Church. Wheaton: Crossway, 2017. 128 pages.
Deploying a new catechism across Evangelical Christianity might seem like the last thing needed to counter secular forces in modern culture. But that’s exactly what The Gospel Coalition and Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City partnered to do. They published The New City Catechism: 52 Questions and Answers for Our Hearts and Minds with Crossway, which hit shelves on April 30.
Churches experience pressure from society to dilute their message and achieve church growth by emphasizing only “basic,” trendy theology. While naysayers may view dogma as antithetical to political correctness and theology as too complex for young believers, creators of The New City Catechism know the volume fills a void in modern Evangelical Protestantism.
“At present, the practice of catechesis, particularly among adults, has been almost completely lost,” comments Timothy Keller, founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church. “If we reengage this biblical practice in our churches, we will find again God’s Word ‘dwelling in us richly’ (see Col. 3:16), because the practice of catechesis takes truth deep into our hearts, so we find ourselves thinking in biblical categories as soon as we can reason.”
His wife, Kathy Keller, wrote in her introduction to The New City Catechism that catechizing once seemed “so medieval” to her. But positive experiences within the church and her own family demonstrated the importance of the practice. She thus urged other families to begin intentionally catechizing, too, whether at home, through a church-sponsored program, or in a small community group.
“The key is becoming convinced that you are furnishing your child with the mental foundation on which the rest of his or her spiritual life will be built,” Kathy Keller wrote.
Compact and visually striking, The New City Catechism is geared to succeed in the fast-paced modern era inundated information and attention-grabbing digital content. Each catechism question includes a unique picture for visual learners. One or more icons appear at the bottom of the page, signifying relevant biblical themes such as forgiveness or joy. In addition, highlighted portions of each answer provide an abridged (more basic) version of the answer aimed at children.
Conveniently organized into three parts based on theological categories and 52 questions, The New City Catechism is perfect for year-long study by individual Christians, families, and groups in the local church. The entire catechism can be memorized in just one year by memorizing one question and answer per week, along with an accompanying scripture.
Advice from the author of Hebrews to his readers – urging them to move from theological milk to solid food, from unskilled biblical understanding to maturity (see Hebrews 5:12-14) – serves as apt advice to many Christians in the Church today. The New City Catechism provides an excellent tool for developing spiritual maturity.