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The oldest of the doctrinal standards of the Christian Reformed Church is the Confession of Faith, popularly known as the Belgic Confession, following the seventeenth-century Latin designation "Confessio Belgica." "Belgica" referred to the whole of the Netherlands, both north and south, which today is divided into the Netherlands and Belgium. The confession's chief author was Guido de Brés, 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 not rebels, as was laid to their charge, but law-abiding citizens who professed the true Christian doctrine according to the Holy Scriptures, de Brés 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 Brés himself fell as one of the many thousands who sealed their faith with their lives, his work has endured and will continue to endure. In its composition the author availed himself to some extent of a confession of the Reformed churches in France, written chiefly by John Calvin, published two years earlier.

The work of de Brés, however, is not a mere revision of Calvin's work, but an independent composition. In 1566 the text of this confession was revised at a synod held at Antwerp. In the Netherlands it was at once gladly received by the churches, and it was adopted by national synods held during the last three decades of the sixteenth century. The text, not the contents, was revised again at the Synod of Dort in 1618-19 and adopted as one of the doctrinal standards to which all officebearers in the Reformed churches were required to subscribe. The confession stands as one of the best symbolical statements of Reformed doctrine. The translation presented here is based on the French text of 1619. [1]


  • Article 1: The Only God
  • Article 2: The Means by Which We Know God
  • Article 3: The Written Word of God
  • Article 4: The Canonical Books
  • Article 5: The Authority of Scripture
  • Article 6: The Difference Between Canonical and Apocryphal Books
  • Article 7: The Sufficiency of Scripture
  • Article 8: The Trinity
  • Article 9: The Scriptural Witness on the Trinity
  • Article 10: The Deity of Christ
  • Article 11: The Deity of the Holy Spirit
  • Article 12: The Creation of All Things
  • Article 13: The Doctrine of God's Providence
  • Article 14: The Creation and Fall of Man
  • Article 15: The Doctrine of Original Sin
  • Article 16: The Doctrine of Election
  • Article 17: The Recovery of Fallen Man
  • Article 18: The Incarnation
  • Article 19: The Two Natures of Christ
  • Article 20: The Justice and Mercy of God in Christ
  • Article 21: The Atonement
  • Article 22: The Righteousness of Faith
  • Article 23: The Justification of Sinners
  • Article 24: The Sanctification of Sinners
  • Article 25: The Fulfillment of the Law
  • Article 26: The Intercession of Christ
  • Article 27: The Holy Catholic Church
  • Article 28: The Obligations of Church Members
  • Article 29: The Marks of the True Church
  • Article 30: The Government of the Church
  • Article 31: The Officers of the Church
  • Article 32: The Order and Discipline of the Church
  • Article 33: The Sacraments
  • Article 34: The Sacrament of Baptism
  • Article 35: The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper
  • Article 36: The Civil Government
  • Article 37: The Last Judgment

Go here for the details of each Article

External links to the Belgic Confession online[]