Confessions & Catechisms
Reformed Confessions, Creeds and Catechisms
The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith, in the Calvinist theological tradition. Although drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly, largely of the Church of England, it became and remains the 'subordinate standard' of doctrine in the Church of Scotland and has been influential within Presbyterian churches worldwide.
The Westminster Larger Catechism, along with the Westminster Shorter Catechism, is a central catechism of Calvinists in the English tradition throughout the world. In 1643 when the Long Parliament of England called the Westminster Assembly to produce the Westminster Confession, it also asked for a directory of "catechising"
The Westminster Shorter Catechism is a catechism written in 1646 and 1647 by the Westminster Assembly, a synod of English and Scottish theologians and laymen intended to bring the Church of England into greater conformity with the Church of Scotland. The assembly also produced the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Westminster Larger Catechism. A version without Scripture citations was completed on 25 November 1647 and presented to the Long Parliament, and Scripture citations were added on 14 April 1649.
The three forms of unity
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Reformed churches composed a number of Reformed confessions which distinguished the Reformed faith not only from Roman Catholicism but also from the other branches of the Protestant Reformation churches. Among these confessions are the Confession of Faith or Belgic Confession (1561), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), and the Canons of Dordrecht (1618-1619). These three, often referred to as the Three Forms of Unity, constitute the doctrinal standards of the Protestant Reformed Churches.
The Confession of Faith, popularly known as the Belgic Confession, is a doctrinal standard document to which many of the Reformed churches subscribe. The Confession forms part of the Three Forms of Unity of the Reformed Church, which are still the official subordinate the Dutch Reformed Church
The Heidelberg Catechism (1563), one of the Three Forms of Unity, is a Protestant confessional document taking the form of a series of questions and answers, for use in teaching Calvinist Christian doctrine. It was published in 1563 in Heidelberg, present-day Germany. Its original title translates to Catechism, or Christian Instruction, according to the Usages of the Churches and Schools of the Electoral Palatinate. Commissioned by the prince-elector of the Electoral Palatinate, it is sometimes referred to as the "Palatinate Catechism." It has been translated into many languages and is regarded as one of the most influential of the Reformed catechisms.
The Synod of Dort was an international Synod held in Dordrecht in 1618–1619, by the Dutch Reformed Church, to settle a divisive controversy caused by the rise of Arminianism. The first meeting was on 13 November 1618 and the final meeting, the 180th, was on 29 May 1619. Voting representatives from eight foreign Reformed churches were also invited. Dort was a contemporary English term for the town of Dordrecht.