Synod Declines to Adopt a New Catechism, Refers to Faith Formation Ministries

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Two years ago, Synod (the general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church) adopted a new category among its fundamental statements of faith. Along with creeds and confessions, it recognized a category of contemporary testimony. Included among contemporary testimonies are Our World Belongs to God, a statement of faith initially adopted in 1986 and revised in 2008, and the Belhar Confession, a statement that arose out of the struggles against apartheid in South Africa.

This year, a third candidate was proposed by an Ontario congregation for inclusion in this new category, the New City Catechism.

The New City Catechism was produced by the Gospel Coalition and Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City founded by the well-known pastor, Tim Keller.

The catechism has 52 questions and answers, written in simple language, following the theological sequence: creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.

The synod found much to like in the catechism but decided not to adopt it at this time. Margaret Jenista Kuykendall, the reporter for the synod committee that considered the proposal, said the church should not rush into adopting a new statement of faith. She reminded the synod that “Our World Belongs to God and the Belhar Confession had a [longer] life in the community before being approved.”

With that in mind, synod recommended the New City Catechism to Faith Formation Ministries for review and potential use in the churches.


Synod 2019 is meeting at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 14-20. For continuous coverage from our award-winning news team, download the Banner app on your mobile device or follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted on The Banner’s dedicated Synod web page several times daily. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.

About the Author

Clayton Libolt was the long time pastor of River Terrace Church in East Lansing, Mich. Since his retirement, he has served in a variety of interim positions. He is presently serving as the interim senior pastor of Sonlight Community CRC in Lynden, Wash.

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