- Basis for Protestant Reformation
Martin Luther's Larger and Smaller Catechisms date to 1529. The Smaller Catechism evolved from a collection of Luther's explanations of the Christian faith.
The term catechism comes from the Greek word kata-echo, which simply means "to repeat back." Dating back to the fourth century, Latin-speaking Christians used the word catechism to describe the basic instruction given to new Christians.
By the Middle Ages the term catechism had come to mean the three things that all Christians should know: the Ten Commandments, the Apostles' Creed, and the Lord's Prayer.
The Smaller Catechism was compiled from sermons that Luther delivered in 1528 and was completed with revisions in 1529. The Larger Catechism has additions and revisions not contained in the Smaller Catechism. This is a great tool to better understand the basis for the Protestant Reformation.
About the Author
Martin Luther February 18, 1546) was born the son of the miner, November 10, 1483 in Eisleben, Germany. He later became an Augustinian monk, and then an ordained priest.
Luther is most famous for the symbolic blow that began the Reformation when he nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church on 31 October, 1517. That document contained an attack on papal abuses and the sale of indulgences by church officials.
But Luther himself saw the Reformation as something far more important than a revolt against ecclesiastical abuses. He believed it was a fight for the gospel. Luther even stated that he would have happily yielded every point of dispute to the Pope, if only the Pope had affirmed the gospel.
And at the heart of the gospel, in Luther's estimation, was the doctrine of justification by faith—the teaching that Christ's own righteousness is imputed to those who believe, and on that ground alone, they are accepted by God.
Some of Luther's best known works are: Commentaries on Galatians, Romans, Peter and Jude, The Bondage of the Will, Treatise on Good Works, Larger and Smaller Catechism, Smalcald Articles, and Table Talk.