The word “catechism” sometimes strikes fear in those who hear it or at least engenders a fair amount of suspicion – particularly among those who have been raised in a Baptist or Baptist-like tradition. In reality, a catechism is simply a teaching tool for parents and churches to use to help children learn biblical truth.
We Baptists have a rich history with catechisms, and they have only fallen out of common use in the past century. They are not uniquely owned by Roman Catholics or “high churches.” They can be used to teach falsehood or truth. In the end, a catechism is simply a tool for learning – and a good one at that!
Catechisms typically follow a question and answer format, where children memorize answers to theological questions. It is designed to take advantage of the incredible memorization abilities of children, and to help them to be able to spout off theological truths in the same way that they may rattle off their ABC’s or multiplication tables.