Why translate the Westminster Shorter Catechism?
Since the Reformed tradition is primarily European, why should we as Hmong people care about the Westminster Confessions of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms? And why am I translating the Shorter Catechism?
The Westminster Standards are a systematic summary of what Scripture teaches. It was drafted by 151 theologians with the hopes of unifying Christians throughout Europe. Although it is secondary to Scripture, it reveals that even during a time of war and chaos, God had been building up his church for a long time. And how remarkable, that the Reformation was a time where God preserved His church through a dark time in history to recover the Gospel.
Yes, the visible Hmong church may only be about 40 years old, but the invisible church spans to the beginning of creation. Therefore, when we confess what we believe, we join with the many men and women who came before us as Christians to glorify God.
There is something deeply rich in worshiping, reading Scripture, and confessing Christian truths in Hmong. I am not a fluent Hmong speaker, but I am translating the Westminster Shorter Catechism into Hmong (with the help of others) for those who are eager to read the confessions in the Hmong language. For those eager to embrace Reformed theology, yet feel as though they do not fit into Presbyterian churches. Furthermore, I’m translating the Shorter Catechism to continue the discussion of Reformed Theology within the Hmong community.
Below are a few translations from the Shorter Catechism. They’re not perfect, and they can probably be phrased better. If so, please let me know how it can be improved in the comments below, or at email@example.com, I’d love to hear from you.
Note: Prooftexts coming soon.
Q. 1. What is the chief end of Man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
Q. 1. Lub hom phiaj kawg rau tib neeg yog dab tsi?
A. Lub hom phiaj kawg rau tib neeg yog qhuas Vajtswv thiab txaus siab rau NWS mus ib txhis.
Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.
Q. 2. Vajtswv tau muab txojcai twg los qhia peb kom peb thiaj yuav txawj qhuas thiab txaus siab rau nws?
A. Vajtswv Txojlus, uas muaj nyob hauv Phau Vajlugkub Qub thiab Phau tshiab,3 thiaj yog tib txojcai uas qhia kom peb txawj los qhua Vajtswv thiab txaus siab rau Nws xwb.4
Q. 3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A. The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.
Q. 3. Lub ntsiablug uas Vajtswv Txojlus qhia yog dab tsi?
A. Lub ntsiablug uas Vajtswv Txojlus qhia yog kom tibneeg ntseeg Nws, thiab yam dejnum uas Nws xav kom tibneeg ua.
Q. 4. What is God?
A. God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.
Q. 4. Vajtswv yog dab tsi?
A. Vajtswv yog ntsujplig, Nws nyob mus ib txhis, Nws tsis txawj hloov li. Nws yog tus muaj kev txawj ntse, muaj hwjchim, dawbhuv, muaj kev ncaj ncees, yog tus zoo thiab yog qhov tseeb.
Q. 5. Are there more Gods than one?
A. There is but one only, the living and true God.
Q. 5. Puas muaj ntau tshaj ibtug uas yog Vajtswv?
A. Tsuas muaj ib tug Vajtswv xwb, tus Vajtswv tseeb uas muaj siab nyob