In the introduction, Caspar Olevianus noted that he wrote A Firm Foundation to “Christians experiencing a variety of afflictions and trials” as an “explanation of the Articles of the Christian Faith.” Originally published as an independent treatise, A Firm Foundation provides an interpretive tool on parallel portions of the Heidelberg Catechism, covering the Lord’s Days 5 through 24 in the catechism.
“We should use the means that God provides, not out of any lack of trust in God or undue trust in created things but out of the obedience of faith. This is so that we do not, contrary to His command, tempt God (Matt. 4[:7]) by rejecting the means that serve as the instruments of His divine providence and by prescribing for Him a different way of helping us than the one He wishes. He makes His will clear to us by offering us means that are in accord with His Word.” (Page 30)
“Olevianus shapes his exposition of the Creed soteriologically by always directing it toward the comfort and assurance of the believer.” (Page xviii)
“He is perfectly just in that He does not leave sin unpunished but punished each and every sin with unspeakable hellish torment in His Son on the wood of the cross, whereby not a half but a full and just payment for our sins was made. He is perfectly merciful in that He makes us pay absolutely nothing but out of sheer mercy gave us the Son for our payment, without any merit on our part, while we were yet sinners.” (Page 7)
“All of this God freely offers and gives to us in the gospel, without any regard to our past, present, or future merit or piety. He applies it to us by grace through faith, so that whoever boasts, boasts in the Lord (Jer. 9[:24]; 1 Cor. 1[:31]).” (Page 9)
“Christ would have left the ninety and nine already in heaven and come down to you from His heavenly glory to find you, put you on His back, and save you, as He Himself teaches in the gospel [Luke 15:3–7].” (Page 13)
The Heidelberg Catechism (also known as the Palatinate Catechism) is one of the most influential of the Reformed catechisms. Combining the best of Lutheran and Reformed teaching, and counteracting the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, it is an instructional manual on the basics of the Protestant Christian faith. The Heidelberg Catechism is divided into 52 sections (called Lord’s Days), and includes 129 questions on the faith, divided into three parts: The Misery of Man; The Redemption of Man; and The Gratitude Due from Man.
The translation is competent both in its rendering of the German text and its fluidity in English. . . . Bierma has provided an excellent translation of a significant work by one of the key figures of the ‘second Reformation.’
—The Sixteenth Century Journal
Casper Olevianus (1536–1587) was a leading German Reformed theologian and organizer of the Reformed Church in the Palatinate.