Introducing the Lordship Catechism
Proclaiming the Supremacy of the Triune God as Lord in all things
By Drs. John Frame and Steve Childers
In the Spring of 2021, a new catechism was launched – The Lordship Catechism. Like many catechisms before it, it contains echoes of previous catechisms. The authors and compilers, Drs. John Frame and Steve Childers, draw from many ancient, and traditional formulations of Christian doctrine.
This catechism is uniquely Trinitarian in nature and structure, connecting us back to the ancient, historic method that uses the Trinity as an organizing structure for studying Christian theology.
In this introduction (18 brief questions and answers) you’ll learn from Scripture about the supremacy of the Triune God in all things.
About the Applied Theology Project
The Applied Theology Project provides you accessible, affordable seminary-level teaching designed to help you learn how to apply theology to your life and ministry in practical ways – with the goal of helping you better know, love, serve, and honor God as LORD in all of life. Seminary professors John Frame and Steve Childers combine their almost 90 years of teaching and ministry experience to help you apply theology to life and ministry through books, audios, videos, courses, and now–The Lordship Catechism!
Read The Lordship Catechism introduction and first questions & answers below.
Introducing the Lordship Catechism
By John Frame and Steve Childers
In the Spring of 2021 a new catechism was launched – The Lordship Catechism. Like many catechisms before it, it contains echoes of previous catechisms. The authors and compilers, John Frame and Steve Childers, draw from many ancient, and traditional formulations of Christian doctrine, including:
- Church Fathers, such as Athanasius and Augustine
- Ecumenical creeds and confessions, especially the Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, and Athanasian Creed
- Medieval church writings, including Peter Lombard, Anselm, Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, William of Ockham
Significant theological concepts and statements of Christian faith in the Western world are also drawn from the historic church confessions and catechism from the 16th and 17th century Reformations throughout Europe, especially:
- Germany: Luther’s Large and Small Catechisms (1529), Augsburg Confession (1530), Heidelberg Catechism (1563)
- Switzerland: Calvin’s Institutes (1564), Geneva Catechism (1541)
- Scotland: Scots Confession (1560)
- England: 39 Articles (1571), Westminster Confession (1646), Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms ((1648), John Owen’s Collected Works (1680s)
- Dutch: Belgic Confession (1561), Canons of Dort (1619)
The Lordship Catechism also reflects selected writings from the 18th and 19th century Great Awakenings in England, Scotland, Germany, and North America, including Jonathan Edwards’ The End for Which God Created the World, Religious Affections, Charity and Its Fruits, and selected George Whitefield sermons (1730-1750).
Contemporary insights and doctrinal reflections are drawn from the more recent Dutch traditions including Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics and Magnalia Dei (Reasonable Faith) (1920), Abraham Kuyper’s Lectures on Calvinism, Principles of Sacred Theology, and Common Grace (1920), Geerharus Vos’s Biblical Theology, Reformed Dogmatics (1949), Louis Berkof’s Systematic Theology (1957), and Cornelius Van Til’s The Defense of the Faith, Christian Apologetics, Introduction to Systematic Theology, Christian-Theistic Ethics (1950’s–1980’s).
Doctrinal insights are also drawn from the North American Early Princeton Seminary Tradition including Charles Hodge’s Systematic Theology (1878), B. B. Warfield’s Biblical Doctrines, Studies in Theology, Faith and Life (1916), and John Murray’s Collected Writings, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, Principles of Conduct.
Contemporary writings reflected in the Lordship Catechism include a wide array of denominational traditions, including the Anglicans, John Stott, J. I. Packer, and Allister McGrath, the Baptists, Wayne Grudem, Don Carson, Timothy George, and John Piper, and the Presbyterians, Ed Clowney, Francis Schaeffer, John Murray, R. C. Sproul, John Frame and Tim Keller (including the New City Catechism).
This catechism is uniquely Trinitarian in nature and structure, connecting us back to the ancient, historic method that uses the Trinity as an organizing structure for studying Christian theology. This is because the Bible presents all individual, doctrinal topics (God, man, sin, Christ, Holy Spirit, etc.) as vital parts of the bigger story, the unfolding mission of the Triune Lord as Creator, Redeemer, and Restorer:
Therefore, The Lordship Catechism is arranged in the light of God’s revelation of himself as Triune Lord in creation, redemption, and restoration:
- God the Father establishes his will by creating all things
- God the Son accomplishes the Father’s will by redeeming all things lost in the Fall
- God the Spirit applies the will of the Father and Son by restoring all things lost in the Fall
A few unique features of this catechism will include that it is a joint adult and children’s catechism that is also designed for providing seminary-level theological instruction for church leaders in each question’s “Going Deeper” section. We hope that many students, teachers, parents, and church leaders around the world will become aware of this resource and use it for helping make disciples of all nations.
Tim Keller states that historically there were at least three purposes to catechisms: The first was to set forth a comprehensive exposition of the gospel – not only in order to explain clearly what the gospel is, but also to lay out the building blocks on which the gospel is based, such as the biblical doctrine of God, of human nature, of sin, and so forth.
The second purpose was to do this exposition in such a way that the heresies, errors, and false beliefs of the time and culture were addressed and counteracted.
The third and more pastoral purpose was to form a distinct people, a counter-culture that reflected the likeness of Christ not only in individual character but also in the church’s communal life. When looked at together, these three purposes explain why new catechisms must be written.
While our exposition of gospel doctrine must be in line with older catechisms that are true to the Word, culture changes and so do the errors, temptations, and challenges to the unchanging gospel that people must be equipped to face and answer.
J. I. Packer’s book, Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, is a helpful book to consult as you start out on a study of the Lordship Catechism. Our prayer is that God’s people will be blessed through this catechism to the end that God’s name will be glorified, his kingdom come, and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
The Lordship Catechism
Proclaiming the Supremacy of the Triune God as Lord in All Things
Q. 1. What is our greatest comfort in life and death?
A. Our greatest comfort is that we are not our own but belong body and soul, in life and death, in this world and the world to come, to God our Father, through his Son Jesus Christ, by his Holy Spirit.
Q. 2. What is our primary purpose in all things?
A. Our primary purpose in all things is to glorify God.
Q. 3. How do we glorify God in all things?
A. We glorify God in all things by knowing him, loving him, enjoying him, and seeking first his kingdom and his will with our whole being.
Q. 4. How do we glorify God in all things with our whole being?
A. We glorify God in all things with our whole being by what we believe, what we desire, and how we live in line with God’s purpose for the world.
Q. 5. What is God’s purpose for the world?
A. God’s purpose for the world is to bring his perfect rule and will in heaven down to earth so that all things flourish and honor him for who he is and for what he does.
Q. 6. How does God reveal himself and his purpose for the world?
A. God reveals himself and his purpose for the world in his written Word, the Bible, and through his Son Jesus Christ. God also reveals himself in nature, in historical acts, and in our conscience by his Holy Spirit.
Q. 7. What is God’s written Word?
A. God’s written Word is the Bible, which is completely trustworthy in what it says. The Bible consists in the Old and New Testaments.
Q. 8. What do the Scriptures primarily teach?
A. The Scriptures primarily teach who God is, what God does, and how we may glorify God in all things with our whole being.
Q. 9. Who is God?
A. God is the one and only LORD.
Q. 10. Is there more than one God?
A. There is only one living and true God.
Q. 11. What does the one and only God reveal himself to be?
A. The one and only God reveals himself to be the infinite, eternal, and unchangeable Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three are one God, the same in substance and equal in power and glory.
Q. 12. What term do we use to describe the one and only God who exists eternally as three persons?
A. The term we use to describe the one and only God who exists eternally as three persons is “Trinity.”
Q. 13. What does God do as Triune LORD?
A. As Triune LORD, God is the Creator, the Sustainer, and the Restorer of all things visible and invisible.
Q. 14. How does God accomplish his purpose for the world?
A. God accomplishes his purpose for the world by causing his name to be glorified, his kingdom to come, and his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Q. 15. What is the good news about God?
A. The good news is that God the Father’s creation, ruined by the fall of humanity in sin, is being redeemed by his Son the Lord Jesus Christ and restored by his Holy Spirit into God’s kingdom on earth forever.
Q. 16. What is the good news about God’s kingdom?
A. The good news is that God’s kingdom has come to earth through the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ by the power of his Holy Spirit to redeem and restore all things lost in creation because of humanity’s sin.
Q. 17. What is the good news about God’s Son?
A. The good news is that through Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension, God has given him authority as Lord and Savior to rule over all things and bring salvation to fallen humanity and creation.
Q. 18. What is the good news about God’s salvation?
A. The good news is that all who trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior receive forgiveness for their sins, the empowering of the Holy Spirit, and the promise of resurrection life in the world to come.
 Prominent theologians who follow this Trinitarian approach to the study of Christian doctrine include Augustine (5th century), John of Damascus (8th century), Peter Lombard (12th century), Thomas Aquinas (13th century), Martin Luther (16th century), and John Calvin (16th century). The model of Abelard and many Protestant Scholastics, e.g. Heidelberg Catechism and Westminster Confession, later diverted from this biblical narrative (Trinitarian) structure, creating more speculative categories, even though still using the same loci.
 The biblical emphasis of the Father as Creator, the Son as Redeemer, and the Spirit as Restorer, does not deny that all members of the Trinity are involved in all aspects of creation and redemption, e.g. the Father is also Redeemer through the Son and Restorer through the Spirit.
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