Skip to main content

Book: The Shorter Catechism Activity Book

Today’s Book Review is brought to you by Cross-Focused Reviews, who provided a copy of the book in exchange for the review. They send the book and schedule the blog tour, and I write how I really feel about the book. Trust me, there’s not enough money in these print-run of specialty books like this to bribe all these bloggers :)

I am a Christian of the Southern Baptist variety, and so we do not have an official creed for our churches nor do we have a catechism for the teaching of basic doctrines. We’re a bit more random than that. While I would agree that we might need some changes in that area, this is not really the place for that discussion. Instead, I provide you with that information so that you know I do not come predisposed to a different catechism program or a preference for the one I grew up with, because I didn’t grow up. Or grow up with one.

The Shorter Catechism Activity Book by Marianne Ross looks a little something like this: The Shorter Catechism Activity Book 

So, now you know how it looks. It’s published by Christian Focus Publications. The author, Marianne Ross, is listed as a wife, mother, writer, and cup-cake baker. Unfortunately, no cupcakes were provided alongside the book and I am unable to evaluate the veracity of this particular claim.

The initial content of this book is the official Westminster Shorter Catechism (WSC). This is a series of 107 questions and answers about Christian doctrine. The Westminster Standards are the doctrinal standards for many English-speaking denominations that trace their heritage to the English Reformation, especially the more Presbyterian-leaning groups. Given that the WSC is more than 300 years old, I will not offer an extensive comment here about its value.

This book is not intended to persuade you to use the WSC, either, though. Instead, this book is intended to help reinforce the teaching of that system. There are 107 activities in the book, one for each question of the catechism.

These are in the shape of various word searches, code-breaking games, fill-in-the-blanks, and crossword puzzles. Some of these would be beyond frustrating, but the first page after the table of contents is a code key page. That helps. A lot. In fact, by having this page, you do not find yourself in need of a specific answer key, as working out the answers becomes easy, if time consuming.

In all, the activities are challenging enough to keep a child working at them for some time. Certainly, if they already know the answers to a specific question, the puzzles will be easy.

The drawbacks I would find here are these:

1. I am not an education expert, but in my observation, sometimes puzzle-based learning activities help a student learn to solve puzzles, but not learn the material. That is not all bad, but it is something to consider.

2. You can count this as a drawback or not, but there is no source document on the Westminster Shorter Catechism here. If you do not know it or have a copy available, you’ll have to solve the puzzles to learn it.

3. The book uses the straight Westminster Shorter Catechism. Including “doth” and various other antiquated phrasings. While it falls to the churches to update the overall language, perhaps a minor paraphrasing would fall within the purview of a children’s book.

In all, though, if your particular view of Christianity encourages learning the Westminster Shorter Catechism, this book is a helpful tool in your arsenal. It is worth an extra look.

Free book, again, received from publisher in exchange for review.

Comments

  1. Doug,

    Thanks so much for being a part of The Shorter Catechism Activity Book blog tour. Parents would do well to pair this activity book with a copy of the shorter catechism. Christian Focus offers a compact edition titled The Shorter Catechism with scripture proofs and notes by Roderick Lawson. You can find this edition for just a few dollars. Looking forward to working with you on future blog tours.

    Shaun Tabatt
    Cross Focused Reviews

    ReplyDelete
  2. Shaun, thanks for the link to a good edition of The Shorter Catechism.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

To deal with SPAM comments, all comments are moderated. I'm typically willing to post contrary views...but I also only check the list once a day, so if you posted within the last 24 hours, I may not be to it yet.

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Book: The Gospel Call and True Conversion

A quick note: This book, The Gospel Call and True Conversion, is currently available on Kindle for $4.99. This is the second in a series of 3, and the first, The Gospel’s Power and Message, is available for $2.99.The Gospel Call and True Conversion. The title of this book alone sounds intimidating, and adding that it’s written by one of the heavyweights of American Reformed Christianity, Paul Washer, does not lessen the intimidation factor. Washer is known to be a straightforward preacher—for good or for ill.What did I find in The Gospel call and True Conversion? I found some things to like:1. Paul Washer is passionate for the truth. He wants to know the truth. He wants to proclaim the truth. He wants the truth heard. He wants you to know the truth. This is good. It is good to see someone not try to base theology on popularity or as a response to modern events, but to base it clearly on truth. 2. There is a strong emphasis on the reality that true conversion (from the title) will resu…