Class Catechism: English Civil War through American Civil War

This 11th grade class catechism is recited at the beginning of each class

To what are you a slave?

I am a slave to what I obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness (Rom. 6:16).

What are you, in Christ?

By faith, when Christ died to sin, I died to sin. By faith, when Christ was raised in victory over sin, I was raised in victory over sin.

Why does the church need Creeds and Confessions?
Because hollow theology leads to hollow living.

What did Christian say before he climbed the narrow path that went up the Hill called Difficulty?

“This hill, though high, I covet to ascend;
The difficulty will not me offend.
For I perceive the way to life lies here.
Come, pluck up, heart; let’s neither faint nor fear.
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.”

(From The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan)

What resolutions did John Adams make after self-examination?

I am resolved to rise with the sun and to study Scriptures on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings, and to study some Latin author the other three mornings. Noons and nights I intend to read English authors . . . . I will rouse up my mind and fix my attention. I will stand collected within myself and think upon what I read and what I see. I will strive with all my soul to be something more than persons who have had less advantages than myself.

(From John Adams by David McCullough, pg 41)

What is the Enlightened ethos?

According to Immanuel Kant, “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s own understanding without another’s guidance.”

According to Jean-Jacque Rousseau, “To renounce freedom is to renounce one’s humanity.”

In contrast to these Jesus says, “I am the light of the world,” which means the source of enlightenment is not the autonomous self, but the living God.  In Christianity, to be enlightened is to be joyfully constrained by God. We are defined. We don’t get to define.

How did the executions of Charles I in 1649 and Louis XVI in 1793 pave the way for the modern world?

These events are the turning point of our contemporary history. If the people can kill the supreme authority, then the people are in charge. If the people can do away with the divinely appointed king, then they are deluded into thinking they can do away with God. This crisis of authority is the underlying problem of the modern world, which has crowned itself “Our Lord Mankind.”

What is human society?

According to Edmund Burke, “ . . . society is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.”

(From Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke, pp 194f)

What does Lincoln say about acting on your moral conviction?

“Stand with anybody that stands RIGHT. Stand with him while he is right and PART with him when he goes wrong.”

(From Abraham Lincoln’s “Speech on Kansas-Nebraska Act”)

What did Lincoln say was the cause of the Civil War?

“One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves . . . localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war…Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other…The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes…If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come…He now wills to remove, and…He gives to both North and South, this terrible war.”

(From Lincoln’s “Second Inaugural Address”)

What is the impetus behind socialist revolution?

Socialist revolution is motivated by jealousy, envy, resentment, and a false definition that says fairness means equal outcomes.

What is the problem with Marxist utopia?

Utopianism is not a love for heaven, but a desire to destroy the real. Marxism is about destroying what you hate. In contrast, conservatism is about conserving what you love.

What do Christians love?

Christians love the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, as defined by God in his Word and personified in Jesus Christ.

The Timeline:

1642-1649: The Westminster Confession of Faith

1649: The Regicide

1689-1789: The Enlightenment

1776: The United States declares independence from Great Britain

1788: The United States Constitution is ratified

1789 – 1799: The French Revolution

1799: Napoleon Bonaparte takes control France

1815: Napoleon is defeated; Europe seeks balance.

1848: Marx’s The Communist Manifesto

1859: Darwin’s On Origin of Species

1861-1865: The Civil War

Jason Cherry is an elder at Trinity Reformed Church in Huntsville, Alabama, as well as a teacher and lecturer of literature, American history, and economics at Providence Classical School in Huntsville. He graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary with an MA in Religion and is the author of the book The Culture of Conversionism and the History of the Altar Call, now available on Amazon.