New City Catechism (with Children’s Mode)

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year.

When this goes out on the Wednesday Update, you may find yourself travelling in the car for several hours. Perhaps you’re looking for a way to pass the time.

Here’s an idea that’s fun for the whole family: Catechism!

Some of the best catechisms are a little bit older. The Heidelberg Catechism (1563) and the Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647) are both older than our country. They’ve withstood the test of time and are worth our attention. For me, they’ve become friends.

There’s a new catechism that was published in 2017—the New City Catechism.

Released by Crossway as a joint project by The Gospel Coalition and Redeemer Presbyterian Church of New York City, it’s available for free at It also has a free app that you can download right onto your mobile phone.

At first, I’ll admit, I was suspicious. It felt like I was betraying my old friends in Westminster and Heidelberg. Why re-invent the wheel?

In his Introduction to the New City Catechism, Tim Keller argues for the importance of catechisms in the life of the church. They provide easy access to deep theological truths in a question-and-answer format.

But he also explains the three purposes for which catechisms have been written historically, and then he gives this reasoning for a new catechism:

While our exposition of gospel doctrine must be in line with older catechisms that are true to the Word, culture changes, and so do the errors, temptations, and challenges to the unchanging gospel that people must be equipped to face and answer.

The New City Catechism has three parts with 52 questions, one for each week of the calendar year:

Part 1: God, creation and fall, law (twenty questions)
Part 2: Christ, redemption, grace (fifteen questions)
Part 3: Spirit, restoration, growing in grace (seventeen questions)

Its devotional nature includes supporting Bible verses, commentaries from preachers both past and present, and a short prayer. It also has animations that help with memorization.

But here’s the coolest part: it has Children’s Mode! Under Settings, you just toggle the switch and the answers are simplified. Original children’s songs are available for each answer too.

I had a parent share recently they were concerned they might not have the answer when their child asked them about spiritual things. The New City Catechism not only provides the answers, it provides the questions too.

The New City Catechism is an excellent discipleship tool for the whole family.