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My First Catechism
An Illustrated Version of Luther's Small Catechism

Prepared and edited by Rodney L. Rathmann

Reviewed by Martha Robinson and Mary Leggewie

Purchase details: My First Catechism, An Illustrated Version of Luther's Small Catechism. Prepared and edited by Rodney L. Rathmann. Published by Concordia Publishing House. 128 pages, hardcover. Available only from the publisher.

My First Catechism begins with a word about Martin Luther who "delighted in teaching people, young and old alike, the truths about Christian life and salvation as found in God's Holy Word." With illustrations on almost every page, this book brings up a topic such as one of the Ten Commandments; states the Commandment; answers the question, "What does this mean?"; and then gives examples from Scripture to illustrate the meaning. It explains the Apostles Creed and the Lord's Prayer line-by-line. Some sections, regarding baptism, confession, and the Eucharist, are particular to the Lutheran faith. The remaining sections are brief and include daily prayers; duties of Christians with scriptural references; a question and answer section written by Martin Luther; books of the Bible; creeds and confessions; and an overview of the church year. Three hymns complete the volume.

Martha Robinson's Recommendation: This beautiful book will bring insight into Martin Luther's vision of the faith of the Reformation and will be invaluable for conservative Lutheran families. Much of the material covered is common to most Christian denominations, and that which is not can be easily skipped. My First Catechism is an appealing way to start your youngsters on the basic beliefs of faith.

Additional recommendation: I spoke with the pastor of a local Lutheran church, and he loved this book. He told me that it accurately reflects the beliefs of the conservative groups in the Missouri synod and the Wisconsin synod with which his church is associated. He felt that members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America might not fully support this "illustrated version of Luther's smaller catechism."

Mary Leggewie's recommendation: Since most Reformed families catechize their children, it needs to be noted that this book would not be appropriate for use by Reformed families due to differences in doctrine, and the use of Biblical images.

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