When I measure the Pergamon against the Small Catechism, I find some things to be considered and improved. This book has several short-coming compared to Luther’s Small Catechism. Its theological content is one of the components that can be identified as the weaknesses of this book. Other components that can be acknowledged are its systematic and integrated fashion of various topics, and also its pedagogical method.
First of all, in comparison with the theological content in the Small Catechism, the Pergamon does present the six chief parts of basic Christian teaching, just as Luther’s Small Catechism does, and also other topics that are good to be appreciated. However, there is much more emphasis given to the stories that are written in the Bible than the explanation of the basic Christian teaching like in Luther’s Small Catechism. For example, in order to provide the explanations of the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Sacraments, this book presents short paragraph that refers to the explanation that are provided by the Small Catechism. On the other hand, this book provides longer explanation on particular selections of biblical stories.
Following the explanation of each topic in this book, the sense of theological content becomes obvious from the story of creation, the living journey of Israel, to the life of Jesus. However, this book does not add further explanation on the topic of Law and Gospel. Luther begins his explanation in his Small Catechism with the Ten Commandments, including both Law and Gospel. Luther’s view is theocentric while the Pergamon on the contrary develops its content by following the order of the story in the Scripture which begins with the story of creation.
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...plore the role of the catechetical students in preserving their ethnic identity, especially the language. This is significantly important for students, who live in the city or on the other islands, to practice their own traditional language outside their original ethnic context and place.
The Pergamon provides the opportunity for discussion after each explanation to ensure that the topic is clearly understood by the students. The discussion questions can be used for evaluating individual reflection on the specific topic. For example, in explaining the Baptism, the author focuses the discussion on children baptism and asks the students opinion on what makes some people do not want to baptize their children and how some ways to resolve this issue (2001: 65). Through this discussion question, this book encourages a two-ways communication and students’ participations.
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