“What is God?” – Exposition & Commentary

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 exposition and commentary on the question “What is God?”, you’ll learn from Scripture the meaning and practical applications of Jesus’ statement “God is spirit.”

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 exposition and commentary on the Lordship Catechism answer to the question “What is God?” below.

LEARNING TIP: Want to go deeper? Don’t miss the remarkable footnotes!


Lordship Catechism

Exposition and commentary by John Frame and Steve Childers

Question: What is God?
Answer: God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

When Jesus makes the statement “God is spirit,” he is describing what God really and truly is. The Apostle John speaks similarly when he writes, “God is light” (1 Jn. 1:5), and “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:16).

The reason most modern translations of the Bible translate this verse “God is spirit,” instead of “God is spirit,” is because God is not only non-physical spirit among many invisible spirits in the world, but God’s spirituality distinguishes him from all physical and spiritual creatures and sets him above them.[1] His spirituality defines what spirituality is.

Similarly, John does not describe God as “light” or “a love” among many lights and loves in the world. Instead, John tells us that “light” and “love” define who he really and truly is, and that his light and love are the source and definition of all light and love in his creation.

The historic context of Jesus’ statement can help us understand its meaning. (John 4:1-45) Jesus said this when he was speaking with a woman from Samaria who wrongly believed that the true worship of God must be confined to a specific physical location on a mountain (Mount Gerizim) in Samaria.

Jesus tells her, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).

Jesus is saying that through him people will no longer be limited to worshipping God in a particular physical location like the temple on Mount Gerizim (Samaritans) or the temple on Mount Zion (Jews), because Jesus’ ministry will deepen and broaden the worship of all who believe in him.

They will worship in a way that reflects God’s nature and their nature. Such worship, like God himself, cannot be limited to a particular place. The true worship of God is “spiritual” because it transcends all physical and material limitations just as God’s being transcends them.

Even in the Old Testament, when God created physical structures like the Tabernacle and the Temple with many outward worship ceremonies, the purpose of all the outward, physical worship practices was to facilitate the inward worship of God’s people “in spirit.”[2]

If we only think of worshiping God in terms of performing outward religious practices, we miss the most important thing–worshiping God “in spirit” with our whole heart. In Scripture, the “heart” is the whole person, identified by our most fundamental commitments–commitments displayed by our mind, affections, and behaviors that are reflected in how we use our bodies.

In Romans 12:1, Paul writes, “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Then, in Romans 12:2-8, Paul illustrates what “spiritual worship” looks like as not being “conformed to this world,” but being “transformed by the renewing of our mind” as we fully use our gifts in love for and service to God and others.[3]

Biblical worship is not just a “spiritual” activity that is separated from our normal lives when we set aside special times by ourselves, with our family, or at our church services to pray, sing, and learn God’s word. True worship is also a vital part of everything we think, feel, and do, including what we may see as mundane activities. So Paul instructs us, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).[4]

The Bible describes human beings as having bodies and souls.[5] The word soul is sometimes used interchangeably with the word spirit. God created us to know, love, worship, and enjoy him with our whole being–our body and soul/spirit. (1 Thess. 5:23, Heb. 4:12)

God, who is called “the Father of spirits” (Heb. 12:9), created us with spirits as well as bodies, because the only way we can worship “God who is spirit” is through our spirit that he created and united with our bodies.[6]

God, as spirit, differs from all other spirits, including angels, because he is not a created spirit, but an infinite, eternal spirit with no beginning or end who created all other spirits in the world.[7]

When Jesus says “God is spirit,” he is telling us that God is more than merely immaterial and uncreated. “Spiritual” implies that God has many personal qualities which we reflect as his image bearers. For example, we have the capacity to share, in a limited way, God’s attributes of  wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth (God’s communicable attributes).[8]

But there is another sense in which God’s being is unlike our being and anything else in all his creation. This includes God’s attributes of infinity, eternality, and unchangeability (God’s incommunicable attributes).[9]

The wonder of the gospel is that the eternal, invisible, immortal God who is spirit came to earth in a special way through the person of Jesus, who as the eternal Son of God took on himself the fullness of humanity in both his body and soul.

After Jesus’ birth, sinless life, and death on the cross for our sins, he was raised from the dead and ascended back to heaven to be with God the Father where he now rules over all things as Lord and Savior, until he returns to make all things new.

Although Jesus’ invisible spirit as God’s eternal Son is still invisible in heaven, as it was before he had a body, he now also has a physical, “resurrection body” in heaven. When Jesus returns to make all things new, all believers will have physical resurrection bodies like his in the new heavens and new earth. 


[1] As spirit, God is not just “supernatural” transcending his natural, physical creation. God also transcends his “spiritual,” non-physical creation. The Scriptures teach that God is entirely unique as the only self-existent, independent, transcendent being who is absolutely autonomous and self-sufficient with no bounds and therefore infinite, uncaused, unconditioned, and uncreated. Therefore, we cannot know him exhaustively, but we can know him partly and truly.

[2] Since “God is spirit,” and we worship him “in spirit,” there is no need for a physical tabernacle or temple anymore. Instead, believers are now God’s temple. Paul writes, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16).

[3] See Paul’s similar admonitions: “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people” (Eph. 6:7), and “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Col. 3:23).

[4] God’s primary purpose for creating the world is so that all the nations would glorify, worship and find their joy in him. This is why we exist–to glorify God by enjoying Him and helping to extend the worship and enjoyment of God to all nations. In the new world our every thought, feeling, and action will be held captive for God’s honor and praise in and through everything we do. God’s presence with us on the new earth will be so inescapable that whatever we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell with our resurrected bodies will point us to the one who created these senses in us.

[5] There is a whole literature about the taxonomy of the human soul, e.g. the soul is made up of three parts (trichotomy), two parts (dichotomy), dualism, and non-dualism. Like John Murray, we tend to follow dichotomy, with some nondualist inclinations. When the body is in the grave, it is the “person” in the grave. The same person exists in Heaven or Hell, and Scripture doesn’t solve the problem of one person in two locations.

[6] At the moment of death, our spirit immediately leaves our body to be with the God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in heaven. Just before his death on the cross, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46). And just before Stephen’s death by stoning for being a follower of Jesus, he cried out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59). Our brain and our mind are not the same thing. Our physical brain remains in our head at death and returns to dust, but our invisible spirit–including our capacities to think with our mind, desire with our affections, and decide with our volition–departs to be with our Triune Lord forever.

[7] In the history of God’s unfolding plan of redemption in Jesus Christ, our worship of God progresses from an emphasis on outward forms and locations to one on our inward, spiritual relation to God. This is only a relative change. Even in the Old Testament there was a concern with the worshiper’s inner heart-attitude, and even in the New Testament there is an emphasis on applying that heart-worship to physical reality, as in the Lord’s Supper. But we can see in this history a progress from the physical to the spiritual, from the forms to the realities, and from the earthly to the heavenly.

[8]Westminster Shorter Catechism Question 4: What is God? Answer 4: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.

[9] God’s incommunicable attributes are unique to him and cannot even be found in humans or be shared by humans, though humans, made in his image, reflect them in ways appropriate to their created status. God’s eternity transcends time altogether; we do not. But because we are made in God’s image, we are able to transcend the present moment through memory of the past and anticipation of the future. Even the best analogies and comparisons about God fall far short of reality. For every human or created thing we say God is like, God is also unlike that. God is not only without a physical body, he is also without any size, dimensions, or parts of any kind, and his nature cannot change. Bavinck writes, for example, concerning human knowledge, “Accordingly, this knowledge is only a finite image, a faint likeness and creaturely impression of the perfect knowledge that God has of himself.” Bavinck, H., Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 2: God and Creation. (J. Bolt, Ed., J. Vriend, Trans.). Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic. p. 11


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“Who is God?” – Exposition & Commentary

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 exposition and commentary on the question “Who is God?”, you’ll learn from Scripture about the supremacy of the Triune God as LORD 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 exposition and commentary on the Lordship Catechism answer to the question “Who is God?” below.

LEARNING TIP: Don’t miss the remarkable footnotes!


Lordship Catechism

Exposition and commentary by John Frame and Steve Childers

Question: Who is God?
Answer: God is LORD, the one and only Creator, Sustainer, and Restorer of all things visible and invisible.

The essence of God’s revelation of himself in Scripture is that he is Lord. When God appears to Moses in the burning bush, Moses asks him what his name is in order to understand who God is and what he is like. God answers Moses, saying:

“I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you. Say this to the people of Israel: ‘YHWH (LORD), the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’” (Exod 3:14-15).[1]

Throughout the Bible, one of the most significant ways God reveals his nature is by his many names. There are many groupings and distinctions between God’s names in Scripture. But God’s personal name Yahweh (YHWH in Hebrew, or LORD in English–often capitalized in Bible translations) is the most significant name of God in the Old Testament.[2]

This English name for God, LORD (Yahweh), the Hebrew name Lord (Adon), and the Greek name Lord (Kurios), occur over 7,000 times in the Bible. All throughout history, recorded in Scripture, we learn that God works in the lives of his people so they will know he is LORD.[3]

Through Moses, God said to Israel, “I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God (Elohim), and you shall know that I am LORD (Yahweh) your God” (Exod. 6:7).[4]

God’s revelation as LORD in the Old Testament continues in the New Testament when God’s personal name YHWH (LORD) is translated into Greek as kurios (Lord) as Lord and given to Jesus.[5] So, this same confession of God’s people in the Old Testament, that “God is LORD,” continues in the New Testament and today as “Jesus is Lord!” (Rom 10:9)

True biblical faith is knowing who God is and what God does as LORD.[6] This fundamental confession of God’s Lordship summarizes the main message of the Bible and calls us to center our whole lives on knowing, loving, and honoring God as LORD in all areas of life.[7]

The Scriptures teach that God is LORD over everything, but there are three specific ways God reveals who he is and what he does as LORD of creation, redemption, and restoration.


LORD of Creation

First, God reveals himself as LORD of Creation. The LORD is the one and only God who created all things that are visible and invisible, and who is now sustaining and ruling over all things he created, so that his kingdom paradise will come on the earth forever.

The Bible teaches that God creates and sustains the world and all things in it, visible and invisible, to be an eternal, utopian, cosmic display of his glory as he rules over everything as Lord. God also created us so we can reflect his glory, as we find our joy in him and the mission he began at creation. His mission is to fill the earth and rule over it as Lord so that the paradise of his kingdom will come, causing his perfect will to extend on earth forever.

However, evil entered the story through a real villain, Satan, who enticed humanity to sin. As a result we lost paradise, and God allowed Satan to set up his kingdom in this fallen world and to rule over it. The Apostle John writes, “The whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). Satan now declares himself to be Lord and cries “Mine!” over all of God’s creation to rule over it for his evil purposes.

But the good news is that God, as Lord in Christ, is not only the Creator of all things but also the Redeemer of all things.


LORD of Redemption

The Scriptures teach that the LORD is the one and only God who redeems his fallen people and creation from their captivity to evil that entered the world through Satan when he enticed humanity to sin. Through God’s crucified and risen Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, God is redeeming his fallen people and creation from all their bondage to evil and sin. By the time of Moses, Israel had been held in slavery in Egypt for four hundred years. God begins answering their prayers for deliverance by first appearing to Moses. When God reveals his personal name YHWH to Moses through the burning bush, he reveals himself as not only the high and lifted up God who creates and sustains all things by his power, but also as the personal, faithful, covenant-keeping God of grace who promises to redeem and restore his captive people by his great power.[8]

As our Redeemer Lord, Jesus lived the life we should have lived and died the death we deserve to die for our sin. Through his death, Paul writes, “He disarmed all rulers and authorities putting them to open shame, by triumphing over them” (Col. 2:15). Then God raised Him from the dead, proclaiming his ultimate victory over evil and inaugurating his new rule on earth as Lord.

After ascending to the right hand of God the Father, Jesus continues God’s mission on earth by redeeming and restoring all things lost in the Fall as “far as the curse is found.”[9] In Philippians 2:9-11, the Apostle Paul describes why God exalted Jesus.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


LORD of Restoration

Lastly, God reveals himself as LORD of Restoration. The LORD is the one and only God who is restoring his fallen and redeemed humanity and creation by the transforming presence and power of his Holy Spirit. By his Spirit, God is already restoring his people to himself by giving them a new heart and a new birth. And at the return of Jesus, God promises to fully restore all things lost in humanity and creation so that all things will flourish under his rule as LORD forever.

When Jesus returns, he will reveal God’s Lordship by crushing Satan under his feet. (Rom 16:20) Paul writes, “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (1 Cor 15:24-25).

At the return of Christ, God will reveal the full extent of his rule and overcome all enemies of his Lordship and honor. This promise of God’s future rule as Lord gives us a biblical vision of Jesus’ present rule as our ascended Lord, as he is now putting all his and our enemies under his feet.

Dutch statesman-theologian Abraham Kuyper (1880) states this biblical vision of God’s Lordship. “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’”[10]


[1] There are three names that God gives himself in Exodus 3. The first name is in a long Hebrew form in the first part of Exod 3:14 ( אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה , “eh-yeh a-ser eh-yeh,”) translated “I AM WHO I AM.” Exodus 3:14 is connected to the Hebrew verb הֹוֶּה “ha yah,” “to be,” and can also be translated “I AM WHAT I AM,” or “I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE.” The second name God gives himself is a shorter Hebrew form taken from the first Hebrew word (אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה , “eh-yeh,”) translated “I AM” at the end of Exod 3:14. The last name God gives himself is in a very short Hebrew form in verse 15, (יְהוָ֞ה , YHWH,) often pronounced “Yahweh,” and translated here as “LORD” in all capital letters. In context, this short name should be understood as an abbreviation of the first two names. The word LORD in Exodus 3:15 is spelled with all capital letters to indicate the divine name YHWH (Yah weh).
 
[2] By giving himself a personal name, God also reveals that he is a person and not an impersonal force or higher power. God’s name as LORD also reveals the oneness of His being. Unlike the nature of pagan idols portrayed as multiple beings, the LORD’S personal nature consists of one being. Theologians refer to the oneness of God’s personal being as one substance or one essence.
 
[3] Insights into the meaning of YHWH are not found primarily by studying the etymology of the Hebrew term, but more by understanding the historic contexts in which God reveals his personal name.
 
[4] Although Israel’s forefathers knew the name YHWH for God, they could not understand it’s fuller meaning because Israel had not yet been in captivity to Egypt in need of YHWH’s deliverance and redemption as a display of his faithfulness to keep his covenant promises. Prior to the fuller revelation of his name YHWH to Moses, God was known by more simple, general Hebrew names, such as El, Elohim, and El Shaddai. These names emphasized God’s power and might as their one and only Creator and Sustainer of all things who is high and lifted up.
 
[5] The Jewish religious leaders asked Jesus, “Who do you make yourself out to be?” (John 8:53) He replied, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM. So they picked up stones to throw at him (John 8:53, 58-59).” This violent response to Jesus’ “I AM” statement shows that the religious leaders understood Jesus to be saying he was equal to God, who gave himself the name “I AM (YHWH)” in the book of Exodus.
 
[6] And true faith trusts that God is who he says he is and God does what he says he does.
 
[7] Later, Moses writes the historic confession of true faith: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut. 6:4-5).
 
[8] God said to Moses, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exod 3:7- 8a). Bavinck writes, “From this point on the name YHWH is the description and guarantee of the fact that God is and remains the God of his people, unchanging in his grace and faithfulness.” From this time on God gives a whole new meaning to his ancient name as describing the God who keeps his covenant promises and delivers his people from their captivity. Bavinck, H. (2008). Reformed Dogmatics. God and Creation, Baker Academic, p 95
 
[9] This is a reference to the third verse of Isaac Watts famous 1719 hymn, Joy to the World: “No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make his blessings flow, far as the curse is found.” The first verse says “let earth receive her King.” “Earth will receive her King” when Jesus comes again to rule and reign as he redeems and restores all things lost because of the fall of humanity into sin.
 
[10] A more literal translation of Kuyper’s famous quote is “Oh, no single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’” Sphere Sovereignty (p 488) cited in James D. Bratt, ed., Abraham Kuyper, A Centennial Reader (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998).

We help underserved church leaders develop churches that transform lives and communities

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Give using your credit card or bank draft through our secure online form

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Give a Gift of Stock
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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.[1] 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:[2]

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

INTRODUCTION
 

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. 


[1] 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.


[2] 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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