Heidelberg vs. Westminster

It’s not a competition. I love both the Heidelberg Catechism and the Westminster Shorter Catechism. They largely agree, but they come from very different approaches (see my initial comparison here). However, JI Packer and Garry Parrett, in Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, their book about catechesis, quote TF Torrance quoting Horatius Bonar, who suggests that the theology of the Reformation is more biblical in its approach than the “the theology of the Covenant” found at Westminster.

[T]he skillful metaphysics employed at Westminster in giving lawyer-like precision to each statement, have imparted a local and temporary aspect to the new which did not belong to the more ancient standards. Or, enlarging the remark, we may say that there is something about the theology of the Reformation which renders it less likely to become obsolete than the theology of the Covenant. The simpler formulae of the older age are quite as explicit as those of the later; while by the adoption of the biblical in preference to the scholastic mode of expression, they have secured for themselves a buoyancy which will bear them up when the others go down.

To me, this seems to be essentially arguing for Heidelberg over Westminster. I say, “Why not both?”

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