On the historical origins of the Heidelberg Catechism
Reflection on the origins of the Heidelberg Catechism reveals it to be a document of understanding between Calvinistic-Reformed, Zwinglian and Lutheran-Philippistic tendencies within Protestantism. One important reason for the success of the Heidelberg Catechism was the fact that each one of these groups appreciated the Catechism. At the same time it clearly distances itself from Tridentine Catholicism and from the Gnesio-Lutheran variant of Lutheranism. This occurs mainly in the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. The repudiation of the mass as “condemnable idolatry” is a result of the orientation to the Reformation of John Calvin. Here papal religion was seen as superstition and a fundamental violation of the true worship of God as well as an infringement of God’s honour. The experience of persecution by the Papal church in France and the Netherlands aggravated the criticism.