Vervreemding en gawe – Sleutelmotiewe in die Heidelbergse Kategismus?

  • Dirkie Smit
Keywords: Heidelberg Catechism, Alienation, Gift, Sin and misery, Gratitude


Alienation and Gift – Key motifs in the Heidelberg Catechism?The paper deals with two forms of contemporary criticism widely directed against the threefold logic of the Heidelberg Catechism, namely against the so-called pessimistic anthropology and moralism presupposed by the focus on human sin in the first part of the Catechism, according to popular accusations, and the so-called legalistic use of the category of gratitude as motivation for Christian life and worship in the third part of the Catechism, according to other popular accusations. In a first section, the thrust of these forms of critique is briefly explained. A second section responds to the first accusation by considering the first part of the Catechism and the way it deals with human misery as alienation. The third and final section responds to the second accusation by considering the last part of the Catechism and the way it deals with gratitude as an integral part of the comfort, not merely as reciprocal human response to the comfort.