I have written about Family Devotions and folks often ask me what we study…and what tools do we use. Well as Bible believing Christians our main resource is the Bible!!! Typically we read a bible passage together and talk about it and pray together but from time to time we have found other resources to be useful and just recently an “App” with a website, was launched and we have found it to be a fun way to spend time with our kids. Our children all love absolutely anything that arrives via the i-pad, but you don’t need an i-pad to enjoy this resource because it has a fabulous website too.
Most of us have heard of the Westminster Shorter Catechism and have a vague idea of what that is: A classic summary of Christian doctrine, a series of questions and answers that explain the essence of our christian belief. It is a subject that is very often presented in a dry and difficult way – something for great theologians to wrap their heads around, but for us regular folk it is considered just too difficult. That idea in itself is quite laughable, because the average child in sunday school a hundred years ago would have been able to recite their way through their catechism questions without blinking an eye… Questions like: “What is the chief end of man?” But, times have changed and a couple of generations have changed what is expected of children to know and understand… let alone their parents!!! Nowadays catechism is not taught in sunday schools or the sunday sermon, in fact there isn’t really a place to learn about it all. It would not be expected of children or even adults, to understand and delight in learning about the work and attributes of God in a class called “Catechism.”
Historically, the purpose of catechism class was three-fold, times may have changed, but the purposes remain:
- To explain the foundations of the gospel and and the building blocks upon which our church has been built.
- To counteract false beliefs of our time.
- To form a cohesive community of folk who have a good understanding of their christian belief.
Well TIm Keller and Sam Shammas, with support from the Gospel Coalition have come to the rescue with the New City Catechism. They really wanted to design a free resource for christian folk around the world to use and to learn from… So they have designed 52 weekly sessions, and they have just launched so the first couple of questions are up on their site… Each week there is a fresh video and question and answer… you can subscribe in the usual ways… email or RSS feed… but there is also a free App, and this is really what I wanted to share with you…
I wanted to tell you a bit about the app, called the New City App, because we are using it right now, our kids are enjoying it and it is going to grow into a fantastic resource. This is not just a series of questions and answers that you are just expected to learn by heart, there is more…
- There is a question and answer session for each week of the year… and an accompanying bible verse.
- Everything is available online.
- Each session has a commentary from a historically famous christian, providing depth and understanding.
- There is a video from a pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church.
- All the questions and answers can be downloaded as a pdf.
- There are two levels of answer to each question, the children’s and the adult versions.
- You can select a number of settings with the app… your version of the bible, to show or reveal the answers as you learn them and you can also select the adult or children’s mode. You can also add your children’s names to the app and keep a record of who has learnt which questions.
- It is entirely free.
And the Se7en + 1th
You can read all about it here, with a great introduction… or head for their website… or head straight for the free app. Hope you enjoy it!!!