19/05/2008

Beddome's Catechism

A review of the modern reprint of the catechism appears here at Discerning Reader. It says
 
Benjamin Beddome (1717-1795), an English Baptist minister and hymnist, wrote A Scriptural Exposition of the Baptist Catechism in order assist families and Bible teachers in laying out the textual foundation of the Baptist catechism. Whereas catechisms normally have the Bible references listed, Beddome prints out a phrase or clause from the referred text.
More than that though, he fleshes out the catechism question itself. The extra questions that explain the original catechism question are not few in number. The best way to explain this is to print out one of the questions and corresponding Beddome questions and textual assistance:

Question 1. Who is the first and chiefest Being?
Answer. God is the first and chiefest Being.
Is God the first of all beings? Yes. ‘I am the first,’ Isaiah 44:6.
Is he the first cause of all beings? Yes. Of whom are all things, 1 Corinthians 8:6.
Are all other causes subordinate to the first cause? Yes. O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger and the staff in their hands is mine indignation, Isaiah 10:5
Is God the first in creation? Yes. He spake and it was done, Psalm 33:9.
Is he the first in providence? Yes. For in him we live, and move, and have our being, Acts 17:8.
Is he the first in government? Yes. Thy throne is established of old, Psalm 93:2.
Is he the first in the world of grace? Yes. All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself.
2 Corinthians 5:18.
Is he first in the displays of his love? Yes. We love him because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19.
Can we be beforehand with God? No. Who hath first given unto him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again. Romans 11:35.

Now, just to be clear, the above “further questions” that I took the time to type out here represent only nine of about twenty-five of the questions that Beddome came up with to explain the very first question of the catechism.
Therefore, you can see what you are getting in this book – a full supplemental aid to understanding the catechism. Additionally, there is a nine-page biography of Beddome written by SBTS professor Michael Haykin, an introduction to the text by James Renihan, and a textual index that may have been prepared for this particular edition.
So far, my only complaint is that some of the Scripture texts Beddome uses in his explanation leave me scratching my head wondering how they relate to the actual point being made.
This book has already found use at home with my sons, but I can also see it being put into use in a church class studying doctrine. And as always, I appreciate the dark ink and bright paper that characterizes the Solid Ground Christian Book reprints.

1 comment:

eqdj said...

Gary,
I have this book and love it.

Also recommend Jim Renihan's 'True Confessions.