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The Belgic Confession


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The first of the Doctrinal Standards of the Christian Reformed Church is the Confession of Faith. It is usually called the Belgic Confession because it originated in the Southern Netherlands, now known as Belgium. Its chief author was Guido de Bres, a preacher of the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands, who died a martyr to the faith in the year 1567. During the sixteenth century the churches in this country were exposed to the most terrible persecution by the Roman Catholic government. To protest against this cruel oppression, and to prove to the persecutors that the adherents of the Reformed faith were no rebels, as was laid to their charge, but law-abiding citizens who professed the true Christian doctrine according to the Holy Scriptures, de Bres prepared this confession in the year 1561. In the following year a copy was sent to king Philip II, together with an address in which the petitioners declared that they were ready to obey the government in all lawful things, but that they would "offer their backs to stripes, their tongues to knives, their mouths to gags, and their whole bodies to the fire," rather than deny the truth expressed in this confession.

Although the immediate purpose of securing freedom from persecution was not attained, and de Bres himself fell as one of the many thousands who sealed their faith with their lives, his work has endured and will continue to endure for ages. In its composition the author availed himself to some extent of a Confession of the Reformed Churches in France, written chiefly by John Calvin and published two years earlier. The work of de Bres, however, is not a mere revision of Calvin’s work, but an independent composition. In the Netherlands it was at once gladly received by the churches, and adopted by the National Synods, held during the last three decades of the sixteenth century. After a careful revision, not of the contents but of the text, the great Synod of Dort in 1618-19 adopted this Confession as one of the Doctrinal Standards of the Reformed Churches, to which all office-bearers of the churches were required to subscribe. Its excellence as one of the best symbolical statements of Reformed doctrine has been generally recognized.

If you would like to download the Belgic Confessions in Microsoft Word Format, right click on the following link and select "Save Target As" (or "Save Link As" for Netscape users) to download the file to your computer: BelgicConfessions.doc

Article 1: There Is One Only God

Article 2: By What Means God is Made Known Unto Us

Article 3: The Written Word of God

Article 4: Canonical Books of the Holy Scriptures

Article 5: Whence the Holy Scriptures Derive Their Dignity and Authority

Article 6: The Difference Between the Canonical and Apocryphal Books

Article 7: The Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures to be the Only Rule of Faith

Article 8: God is One in Essence, Yet Distinguished in Three Persons

Article 9: The Proof of the Foregoing Article of the Trinity of Persons in One God

Article 10: Jesus Christ is True and Eternal God

Article 11: The Holy Spirit is True and Eternal God

Article 12: The Creation of All Things, Especially the Angels

Article 13: The Providence of God and His Government of All Things

Article 14: The Creation and Fall of Man, and His Incapacity to Perform What is Truly Good

Article 15: Original Sin

Article 16: Eternal Election

Article 17: The Recovery of Fallen Man

Article 18: Of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ

Article 19: The Union and Distinction of the Two Natures in the Person of Christ

Article 20: God Has Manifested His Justice and Mercy in Christ

Article 21: The Satisfaction of Christ, Our Only High Priest, For Us

Article 22: Our Justification Through Faith in Jesus Christ

Article 23: Wherein Our Justification Before God Consists

Article 24: Man's Sanctification and Good Works

Article 25: The Abolishing of the Ceremonial Law

Article 26: Christ's Intercession

Article 27: The Catholic Christian Church

Article 28: Every One is Bound to Join Himself to the True Church

Article 29: The Marks of the True Church, and Wherein It Differs From the False Church

Article 30: The Government of the Church and Its Offices

Article 31: The Ministers, Elders, and Deacons

Article 32: The Order and Discipline of the Church

Article 33: The Sacraments

Article 34: Holy Baptism

Article 35: The Holy Supper of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Article 36: The Magistracy (Civil Government)

Article 37: The Last Judgment

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Last modified: April 26, 2010