Presbyterian Faith according to the Reformed Catechisms

22 October 2019

One of the skills of the theological educator is to be able to write at a variety of levels. Experts in their own fields contribute to the expansion of knowledge in the academy, to both colleagues and students. But a wider circle can benefit from their expertise as this knowledge is written and published for popular consumption. Korean School of Theology Faculty member, Jin Heung Kim, launched his book Presbyterian Faith according to the Reformed Catechisms in 2017 for use in Korean Presbyterian Churches

Jin Heung Kim, Presbyterian Faith according to the Reformed Catechisms (WLC, WSC, HC) was published to coincide with the ‘Refo 500’ commemorations in the Presbyterian Church of Korea (Kosin), in order to help the pastors of this church prepare their catechism sermons in the Sunday afternoon or evening services. It consists of forty chapters, which survey the four major topics of the Reformed catechisms, i.e. Credo, Decalogue, Paternoster, and the Reformed doctrine of salvation.  Forty chapters in all, so that pastors can study this manual and then teach the fundamental doctrines of the Presbyterian Church in a year. Each chapter has the following four heads: (1) Preface – introducing the topical doctrine of the chapter; (2) Biblical study – questions and explanations; (3) Catechetical summary – significant teachings from the three Reformed catechisms; (4) Prayer and Meditation – from mind to heart.

There are a few characteristic features of this book, compared with existing books on the catechisms: First, a study on the Biblical text comes first before any explanation of the catechism, which shows the writer’s Reformed conviction: ‘Doctrine should be the Church’s Amen to the Bible’. Second, this book makes good use of Westminster Larger Catechism, one of the best Reformed materials on the relationship between Justification & Sanctification, and an excellent explanation of the Ten Commandments according to the Calvinistic point of view. There are very few books on this catechism in Korean, or English. Third, the Heidelberg catechism is also covered substantially for a better understanding of the Reformed character of the Presbyterian faith. Especially for Korean Presbyterian Church members who are accustomed to the Apostles’ Creed liturgically, the writer followed the pattern of this Reformed catechism in his explanation of the Creed.

In April 2017, Dr Kim spoke about his book in four different cities in South Korea, to both pastors and others with an interest in the catechism as part of Christian education. The writer hopes that his book will help many Christian parents and Sunday school teachers to bring their children up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Dr Jin Heung Kim teaches Church History and Systematic Theology at the Sydney College of Divinity Korean School of Theology. As teacher of theology, for a long time, he has concern about students’ lack of two necessary foundations for studying theology: a redemptive-historical understanding of the Biblical story, as well as a catechetical framework. Without a basic catechetical knowledge, students’ learning in the systematic theology units in the seminary or college often results in ‘a house built on sand’. So, over ten years of pastoral work in South Korea, Dr. Kim devoted himself to catechism education as well as Bible study for church members and seminary students. And still, in Sydney Australia, he leads a voluntary Bible Study Group, ‘Paradosis’, for the students of SCD Korean School of Theology.

Dr Jin Heung Kim is working on his next book on Luther’s 95 Theses and a theological biography on Peter Martyr Vermigli, a significant Reformed theologian in the sixteenth century.

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