Written in 1649 shortly after the Westminster Confession at the call of English Parliament. It was written in the context of the English Civil War as a response to high church Anglicanism. The central doctrines are the sovereignty of God and the authority and proper interpretation of Scripture.
Comment: The Shorter Catechism affirms that faith and repentance are saving graces rather than beliefs or good behavior. It emphasizes the preaching of scripture for salvation and teaches that Christians must understand and live scripture with faith and love.
Question 86: "What is faith in Jesus Christ?"
Answer: "Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel."
Question 87: "What is repentance unto life?"
Answer: "Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavour after, new obedience."
Question 88: "What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption?"
Answer: "The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption are, his ordinances, especially the Word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation."
Question 89: "How is the Word made effectual to salvation?"
Answer: "The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation."
Question 90: "How is the Word to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation?
Answer: "That the Word may become effectual to salvation, we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation, and prayer; receive it with faith and love; lay it up in our hearts; and practice it in our lives."