• The Value of Confessions Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2013

    To this day, Christian Churches, especially in the Reformation tradition, use a powerful tool for “maintaining the form of sound words” and for spreading the gospel to the world—their confessional documents. The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century represented a major rupture in the medieval church, one in which more than one-third of Europe had to go back to the “drawing board” to formulate their testimony to the rest of the world. That drawing board was Holy Scripture, which consecrated pastor-scholars searched out on the basis of a fresh knowledge of the original languages, and also on the basis of … View Resource

  • Minutes and Years: The Westminster Assembly Project: An Interview with Chad Van Dixhoorn Article by Chad Van Dixhoorn

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2011

    Tabletalk: You’ve spent more than a decade studying the Westminster assembly. How did it all start? Chad Van Dixhoorn: I first encountered a text by the Westminster assembly while my family was on holiday in northern Ontario. We were visiting the Sunday school class of a little Scottish Presbyterian church, and after the initial embarassment of not knowing the “chief end of man,” I discovered the glory of a catechism that began with a one-line answer — clearly the one for me. I had been memorizing the ten-line opening question of the Heidelberg Catechism, and appreciated how much shorter … View Resource

  • The Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647) Article by Westminster Divines

    Q1: What is the chief end of man? A1: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever. View Resource

  • The Westminster Larger Catechism (1648) Article by Westminster Divines

    Question 1: What is the chief and highest end of man? Answer: Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever. View Resource

  • The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) Article by Westminster Divines

    The original text of 1646, from the manuscript of Cornelius Burges, Assessor to the Westminster Assembly, with the Assembly’s proof texts, as published in the modern critical edition of 1937 by S. W. Carruthers. View Resource

  • The Heidelberg Catechism (1563) Article by Various

    LORD’S DAY 1  1. What is thy only comfort in life and in death? That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and redeemed me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me, that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must work together for my salvation. Wherefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of … View Resource

  • Canons and Decrees of the Synod of Dordt (1619) Article by Various

    The Judgment Concerning Divine Predestination Which the Synod Declares to Be in Agreement with the Word of God and Accepted Till Now in the Reformed Churches, Set Forth in Several Articles. View Resource

  • The Belgic Confession (1561) Article by Various

    1. That there is One Only God We all believe with the heart, and confess with the mouth, that there is one only simple and spiritual Being, which we call God; and that he is eternal, incomprehensible invisible, immutable, infinite, almighty, perfectly wise, just, good, and the overflowing fountain of all good. View Resource

  • Deeds Over Creeds Article by Gary L. W. Johnson

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2009

    The English Reformer Hugh Latimer once remarked, “We ought never to regard unity so much that we would or should forsake God’s Word for her sake.” Wise words from a man who went to the stake, rather than compromise the truth of the gospel. To those whose only concern is the appearance of visible unity among all who call themselves Christians, Latimer’s resolve appears most unattractive. We are repeatedly told by those of this persuasion that the church’s major fault is its deplorable lack of visible unity. Appeal is constantly made to the words of Jesus in John 17, and … View Resource

  • Protestants and Creeds Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2009

    Q. What is then necessary for a Christian to believe?  A. All that is promised us in the gospel, which the articles of our catholic, undoubted Christian faith teach us in sum.  (Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 22) I’ll never forget the first time I worshiped in a Presbyterian church. I had been raised in independent Bible churches where it was a given that Christians believed the Bible, while Roman Catholics relied on tradition. We had “no creed but Christ.” You can imagine how I was taken aback when the Presbyterian faithful recited the Apostles’ Creed with great gusto, including the line … View Resource

  • This We Believe Article by Carl R. Trueman

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2008

    Many evangelical Christians are instinctively suspicious of the whole idea of creeds and confessions, those set forms of words that certain churches have used throughout the ages to give concise expression to the Christian faith. For such people, the very idea of such extra-scriptural authoritative statements of faith seems to strike at the very heart of their belief that the Bible is the unique revelation of God, the all-sufficient basis for our knowledge of Him, and the supreme authority in matters of religion.  Certainly, creeds and confessions can be used in a way that undermines the orthodox Protestant view … View Resource

  • Confession unto Death Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2008

    Some people call us theological diehards “conservatives.” That term is appropriate, since we do want to conserve something. But a better word, one that we increasingly use, is “confessionals.” This term throws the emphasis on what we want to conserve, namely, our specific confessions of faith. Calvinists have the Three Forms of Unity. We Lutherans have The Book of Concord, a word that means unity, but it consists of no less than eleven documents. So many might seem a little much. But each confession has an important place in our theology. The Book of Concord consists of the three Ecumenical … View Resource

  • The Canons of Dordt Article by R. Scott Clark

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2008

    Everyone knows the acronym TULIP, but not everyone knows where this acronym comes from. The Canons of Dordt are among the most famous but unread deliverances of any Reformed Synod. The canons are more than five letters. The canons teach a pastoral doctrine of grace and provide a model for the stewardship of the Gospel. The Canons (rules) of the Synod of Dordt were written after years of controversy within the Reformed churches in Europe and Britain. In the late sixteenth century the Reformed doctrines of sin, grace, faith, justification, atonement, perseverance, and assurance faced a growing resistance. At the same … View Resource

  • The Heidelberg Catechism Article by Lyle Bierma

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2008

    Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death? A. That I am not my own but belong — body and soul, in life and in death — to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.  These are the opening lines of the most famous question and answer of probably the most famous catechism of the sixteenth century: the Heidelberg Catechism of 1563. Within a few months of its appearance, Heinrich Bullinger, leader of the Reformed church in Zurich, was hailing it as “the best catechism ever published.” It was soon translated from German into Latin, Dutch, English, French, Greek, and … View Resource

  • The Belgic Confession Article by Cornelis Venema

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2008

    The Belgic Confession is one of the best known and most loved of the Reformed confessions. Philip Schaff, the venerable historian of the church and her confessions, observes that it is “upon the whole, the best symbolical statement of the Calvinistic system of doctrine, with the exception of the Westminster Confession.” This Confession is known most commonly as the “Belgic” confession because it emerged from the French-speaking Reformed churches in the southern “Lowlands” or “Nether-lands” (now Belgium). It has served historically as one of the three confessional symbols of the Dutch Reformed churches. Affection for this confession among these churches … View Resource