The Heidelberg and Westminster Shorter Catechisms: Compare and Contrast

Here’s a fairly balanced comparison of two catechisms. I encountered the Westminster first and used this for a prolonged number of years. I have since mostly abandoned the regular use of my first confession/catechism. I’ve chosen to live inside the Heidelberg instead. I hope to explain more later… but this post summarizes the differences quite well.

The Catechesis of Covenant Children

The Heidelberg and the Westminster Shorter—two catechisms teaching the same doctrinal system, yet having such different tones and styles. People who have been raised on one of them are often curious about how they compare—and people raised on one of them who later find themselves in a church or other community that uses the other are often willing to offer a comparison.

Here is my take. I say this as one who was raised on the Heidelberg but has been in churches of the Westminster standards now for 12 years, and has taught from both. I also say this as one who loves both.

I think the most common comparison is that the Heidelberg speaks to one’s heart, whereas the Westminster Shorter is very head-driven. To observe this, Look no further than the first question and answer of each.

1 Q. What is your only comfort in life and in…

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