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Historical Writings

Creeds, Confessions and Catechisms

Collected here are the Creeds, Confessions, and Catechisms used by various Churches throughout the centuries. These include the Apostle's and Nicene's Creed, Westminister and London Baptist Confessions of Faith, and the Westminister Catechism (both long and short versions).

Creeds and Statements  (6 total)

The Apostle's Creed

Also known as the "Old Roman Creed", this creed is the earliest known dating to sometime in the first or second century AD.

The Nicene Creed

Commonly known as the Nicene Creed, this creed is actually the Creed of Constantinople (381 AD), written about sixty years after the Nicene Council and the "original" Nicene Creed (325 AD). The original form did not include any description of the person and work of the Holy Spirit, and included a pronouncement of anathema on anyone who does not believe in the full deity of Jesus as described in the creed.

The Athanasian Creed

The Athanasian Creed is extremely important as one of the earliest detailed statements of the nature of the Trinity and dates from the early fifth century.

Definition of Chalcedon

Written in 451 AD, this creed is very important in defining the dual nature (God and man) of Christ. It was a often used source for later creeds and confessions.

Canons of the Council of Orange

Written in 529 AD, this document was an outgrowth of the controversy between Augustine and Pelagius. This controversy had to do with degree to which a human being is responsible for his or her own salvation, and the role of the grace of God in bringing about salvation.

Confessions  (8 total)

The Augsburg Confession

Written on behalf of the Protestant territories of Northern Germany for presentation to emperor Charles V at the Diet of Augsburg. Melanchthon's twenty one original articles were composed as a response to John Eck's attack on the Protestants as guilty of being ancient heresies. Thus the articles attempt to show that the Protestant faith is in line with the ancient Church. Many, but not all, of the articles were acceptable to Rome. In 1540 Melancthon revised the confession to be acceptable to Calvin. The Lutherans rejected this revision and Melancthon himself.

The Episcopal Confession

As established by the Bishops, the Clergy, and the Laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, in Convention, on September 12, 1801.

The Second Helvetic Confession

Written by Heinrich Bullinger in Switzerland after surviving the Black Plague as a codicil to his will. It is in response to the Anabaptists and makes an attempt to reconcile with the Lutherans. It is influenced by Ulrich Zwingli. Its central doctrines are those of Covenant and Baptism.

The Scots Confession

Written by John Knox and five other "Johns" (Willock, Winram, Spottiswood, Row and Douglas), in 1560, at the conclusion of the Scottish civil war in response to medieval catholicism and at the behest of the Scottish Parliament in five days. Its central doctrines are those of election and the Church. It was approved by the Reformation Parliament and Church of Scotland, attaining full legal status with the departure of Mary, Queen of Scots in 1567.

The Geneva Confession

The Genevan Confession was credited to John Calvin in 1536 by Beza who said Calvin wrote it as a formula of Christian doctrine suited to the church at Geneva.

The Westminster Confession

Written by the Westminster Assembly at the call of Parliament together along with two catechisms and heavily influenced by Reynolds. It is written in the context of the English Civil War and as a response to high church Anglicanism. The central doctrines of this and the two catechisms are the sovereignty of God and the authority and proper interpretation of Scripture.

A Puritan Confession

The A Puritan Confession, along with the A Puritan Catechism were both compiled and published around 1855 by Charles Spurgeon.

The London Baptist Confession

The London Baptist Confession of Faith, with scripture proofs, was adopted by the Ministers and Messengers of the General Assembly which met in 1689.

Catechisms  (5 total)

The Episcopal Catechism

The Outline of the Faith commonly called the Catechism, from the "Book of Common Prayer" was first compiled in Philadelphia in 1789. Since then it as been ammended several times including the last time in 1979.

The Heidelberg Catechism

The Heidelberg, or Palatinate, Catechism was compiled in Heidelberg by the German theologians Caspar Olevianus (1536-87) and Zacharias Ursinus (1534-83), at the request of the Elector Frederick III (1515-76) of the Palatinate. It was published in 1563 and has been translated into all the languages of Europe. It is the standard of the Dutch and German Reformed churches of America.

The Westminster Catechism

The Longer and Shorter Catechisms, which, with the Westminster Confession, are the standard catechisms of the Presbyterian churches throughout the countries of the former British Empire and the U.S., were compiled by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster (1645-52). In July 1648, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland adopted both the Longer and Shorter Catechisms.

A Puritan Catechism

The A Puritan Catechism, along with the A Puritan Confession of Faith were both compiled by Charles Spurgeon. Most notably, this catechism was published in 1855 when Spurgeon was only 21 years of age. On October 14 of that year, Spurgeon preached Sermon No. 46 to several thousand who gathered to hear him at New Park Street Chapel. When the sermon was published it contained an announcement of this catechism.

The Baltimore Catechism

In the United States, a committee of American bishops of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, Maryland, published both a Larger Version and Smaller Version of this catechism in 1885. Also included here is the Baltimore Complete Catechism with 1400 questions and answers arranged in 37 lessons.
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