Harmony of the Westminster Confession and Catechismby Morton Smith
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In today’s church, sadly, there seems to be more emphasis on contemporary music and gourmet coffee than a real commitment to doctrine. In this wonderful handbook, Dr. Morton H. Smith lays out the standard for Protestant doctrine that is both easy to understand and backed by extensive Scriptural references. Furthermore, there are study questions and answers (catechisms) that make this an invaluable study tool for family devotions, Bible Studies, and Sunday Schools.
The Westminster Standards are unsurpassed among confessional statements in precision and comprehensiveness and few would deny that they deserve close reading and careful study. But it is easy to be overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of the Standards, and a as a result many parts are often neglected. The Confession’s statements about Scripture, and the doctrines of God, predestination, providence, and the person and work of Christ, as well as the famous first question of the Shorter Catechism, are, of course, known to many. But few have been introduced to what the Standards have to say about sanctification, faith, ethics, prayer, the sacraments, the church, etc. Even fewer have been introduced to the Larger Catechism which expands on points covered in the Confession and Shorter Catechism, and at times, provides material that can be found nowhere else in the Standards.
The Harmony was designed to remedy this situation. First, the distinct, somewhat self-contained paragraphs of the Confession are used as the anchors of the work and these smaller, digestible pieces are easier to follow and grasp. Second, points made by the Confession are, of course, often reiterated by the Catechisms. This repetition helps with retention and comparison of the documents also forces one to look more closely at each statement. Third, all of the statements of the Catechisms are included in the Harmony. This especially makes the Larger Catechism more accessible. Fourth, the wide margins provide space for personal notes. The Harmony has, therefore, been a useful and popular tool for the study of the Standards for many decades. It is our prayer that it will continue in its usefulness for many more, helping God’s people to see the beauty and richness of the