“The Shorter Catechism should be of high value to us. It has in it the confessional convictions on which our system of doctrine, as taught in the Holy Scriptures, is found. It has in it the evangelistic zeal that must be a part of us if we would safe-guard the faith delivered to us. May God help us to continue to study it, all to the glory of God. Amen!”
Fitting words for the conclusion of this, the final installment in Rev. Van Horn’s series on the Westminster Shorter Catechism. We will conclude this year with some other similar items by Rev. Van Horn, and then next year will turn to another author’s commentary on the Catechism.
STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn
Q. 107. What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer teach us?
A. The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, which is, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” teacheth us to take our encouragement in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise Him, ascribing kingdom, power, and glory to Him, and in testimony of our desire and assurance to be heard, we say, “Amen.”
Scripture References: Daniel 9:13, 19; I Chron. 29:11-13; Rev. 22:20-21; I Cor. 14:16.
1. What may we learn from the word “For” in this question?
We may learn from it that we are concluding our prayer with a strong basis. We have great and mighty arguments from the Word of God for all of our petitions. We are simply saying, “Lord, because of Who Thou art, because of the sovereignty off Thy power, grant our petitions.”
2. What do we mean in this prayer by the “kingdom, and the power, and the glory?”
Our Larger Catechism (Question 196) tells us we mean the “eternal sovereignty, omnipotency, and glorious excellency” of God alone.
3. What is His “kingdom” as mentioned in this question?
We are speaking here of God as Creator and as Redeemer. The first has to do with the kingdom of nature and the second with the kingdom of grace.
4. Why do we add the word “power” to the portion of the prayer?
We add “power” to it because we desire Him to perform His will for us. We claim by faith His power to do so (Rom. 4:21).
5. As we add the word “glory” what are we denoting?
We mean here that we are to praise Him continually for His wondrous works to the children of men. God should be praised without ceasing by us for He is glorious. (Ps. 119:27).
6. What is the use of the word “Amen” to end our prayers?
It is used to signify “So shall it be” by us. It is our earnestness of faith and our intensity of desire.
It is very suitable to end our catechism studies with “Amen” even as so many times we have ended our prayers with this great word from the Word of God. As our catechism question points out so very well, the God with whom we have to do is able to help us. He is the Almighty, Sovereign God. He is the kingdom and the power and the glory. Indeed we do well to end such a statement with “Amen” and mean by it a sincere expression of our belief that He is well able to do far beyond what we ask or think!
The word “Amen” is an indication of reverence, it is a way of saying, “May it be so in very truth!” It comes from a Hebrew word meaning “faithful” and is used in the Greek New Testament 50 times as the word “Amen” and 100 more times as the word “Verily,” and with the same meaning.
The word has been used in three ways by the church of Jesus Christ. It has been used in unison by the congregation at the end of the Lord’s Prayer. Many have no idea of what they are saying and certainly need to be taught the meaning of it. It has been used by the congregation in many liturgical churches at the end of the prayer delivered by the person praying. Here it is not meant to be simply an indication that the prayer is finished but it is meant to be an indication that the prayer is finished and it is mean to be an indication on the part of the worshippers that they are sincerely responding to the prayer that has been uttered.
There is a third way it has been used in the church. It has been used as a vocal “Amen” on the part of worshippers during the sermon as they respond to the preaching of the Word of God. Indeed, this can be used when it should not be, can become a habit rather than a heartfelt response. However, it is wondered if there must not be something lacking in the preaching, or the response, or both, when years can pass without an “Amen!” escaping now and then!
It is a good way to end our catechism studies. The Shorter Catechism should be of high value to us. It has in it the confessional convictions on which our system of doctrine, as taught in the Holy Scriptures, is found. It has in it the evangelistic zeal that must be a part of us if we would safe-guard the faith delivered to us. May God help us to continue to study it, all to the glory of God. Amen!
Published by The Shield and Sword, Inc.
Dedicated to instruction in the Westminster Standards for use as a bulletin insert or other methods of instruction in Presbyterian churches.
Vol. 7, No. 8 (December 1968)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor