For the past couple of years, I have been working together with Dr. Natee Tanchanpongs (pastor, Grace City Bangkok church) and Mr. Chaiyasit Suebthayat (elder, New City Fellowship Church in eastern Bangkok) to write a new catechism in Thai for Thai Christians. The three of us have written a new Thai Christian Catechism from the ground up, borrowing from the Westminster Shorter Catechism at times, but organizing the catechism differently and covering slightly different ground in terms of what is included or not included, and how it is expressed.
Why a New Catechism?
While Reformation era catechisms like Heidelberg and Westminster are superb for English speakers, especially for native speakers in a culturally Western context, translations of these catechisms end up sounding clunky and unnatural in Thai. The truth in them is sound but it is difficult to maintain accuracy to the original without sacrificing readability. Also, the questions and issues of Europeans hundreds of years ago are not always the same as contemporary Thai believers. Surely there is a vast amount of overlap because the duty of all Christians is to preserve “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3). However, we wanted a biblically faithful catechism that is readable and accessible for modern Thai Christians, addressing issues of faith that are both essential and current for Thai churches. I hope we have accomplished that.
The catechism has been privately published with professional assistance in layout, design, and printing from Kanok Bannasan (OMF Publishers Thailand). Dr. Natee will be teaching through the new catechism over the next several months at our church, Grace City Bangkok, and videos of each session to be posted on YouTube. The catechism will also be available for purchase through Kanok Bannasan (OMF Publishers Thailand), and we hope that other churches will find it useful in giving their church members a solid foundation in the Christian faith.
In the remainder of this post, I want to give you a brief peak inside the catechism, share some question and answer pairs that show how we have written this for the Thai context, and provide a link for you to download a PDF of the introduction and first chapter. Currently we do not have a full English translation of the catechism, but that will probably be coming eventually.