The Shorter Catechism, With Scriptural Proofs and Notes, by Roderick Lawson. Christian Focus, 2002. Pp. 80, (paper). [Reviewed by Prof. Herman Hanko.]

Those of us who have been born and raised in the tradi-tion of Dutch Reformed theology know very little, as a general rule, of Presbyterian history, doctrine, and creedal development. We know very little of the work of the Westminster Assembly and of the three creeds they prepared. Especially in these days when our churches are having increased contact with Presbyterian churches, particularly the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Australia, it is well that we know something of this grand tradition of Calvinism as well as of our own.

Perhaps the best known and most loved creed prepared under the auspices of Westminster is the Shorter Catechism. Who can forget the memorable words with which this creed begins: “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” The creed is memorized by thousands, enjoyed by tens of thousands, and serves as a handbook of Christian doctrine to saints in all parts of the world. It is the creed with which one ought to begin in his study of Presby-terianism.

This little book will be an excellent book with which to start. It contains the entire Shorter Catechism, Scriptural proofs for every question and answer (proof texts are quoted in full), and brief comments by the editor. Some of these comments are very much to the point. In question and answer 7, the decrees of God’s counsel are defined. The editor comments: “The decrees of God are his purposes, or what he has from eternity determined to do. And this answer tells us that God has so appointed everything that comes to pass. Nothing happens by chance. Everything is arranged upon a plan, and that plan is the plan of God. He makes all things work together for good to them that love him, and for evil to them that hate him.”

I do not have the price of this small book, but it can be purchased for a minimal amount, I am sure, and it is small enough to push in a pocket or purse to be read and pondered while one is in a doctor’s waiting room or hoping his malfunctioning car will soon be fixed. It is simply written and can be used by young people as well as adults. Perhaps the book will whet one’s appetite for other more meaty books on the Westminster Assembly, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Shorter Catechism.