Today in Church History

January 19

Heidelberg Catechism

On January 19, 1563, the Heidelberg Catechism was published in German under the title, "Catechismus, or Christian Instruction, as Conducted in the Churches and Schools of the Electoral Palatinate.

It was named after the German city where it was prepared by Zacharias Ursinus and Caspar Olevianus, at the request of the Elector Frederick III. Soon after it was written, it was translated into Dutch, and along with the Belgic Confession and the Canons of the Synod of Dort, the Heidelberg Catechism became part of the doctrinal standards of the Dutch Reformed churches. For centuries it has been cherished by Presbyterians as well, especially for its warm and autobiographical style, as displayed in its first question and answer:

Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A. That I am not my own, but belong " body and soul, in life and in death " to my faithful savior Jesus Christ.

He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.

Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to serve him.

- John Muether

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