confession of faith


confession of faith
confession (def. 5).
[1530-40]

* * *

      formal statement of doctrinal belief ordinarily intended for public avowal by an individual, a group, a congregation, a synod, or a church; confessions are similar to creeds, although usually more extensive. They are especially associated with the churches of the Protestant Reformation. A brief treatment of confessions of faith follows. For full treatment, see creed.

      The medieval Christian Church did not attempt an official codification of its doctrine. The creeds inherited from antiquity (Nicene Creed) or formulated in the early Middle Ages (Apostles' Creed, Athanasian Creed) were used in liturgical worship to confess the Christian faith (see creed). Certain doctrinal points were defined by councils as a result of doctrinal controversies. A decree on the seven sacraments issued by the Council of Ferrara-Florence in 1439 was a statement concerning one important part of the doctrinal system. But there was still no codification of doctrine. Nor did the heretical movements in the Middle Ages produce comprehensive declarations of faith.

      The Reformation in the 16th century led to the formulation of declarations aiming at a definition of all the main points of the doctrinal system. Most of these documents were compiled with the purpose of expressing the church's doctrine; a few of them originally served other purposes (e.g., Luther's catechisms) but were soon given the rank of doctrinal standards.

      The first confessional documents of the Reformation were the drafts preceding the Augsburg Confession of 1530. This example set by the Lutherans was followed by the other Reformation churches, and it was even followed by the Council of Trent (1545–63), whose decrees and canons, together with the Professio fidei Tridentina of 1564, were a codification of Roman Catholic doctrinal tenets.

      Other important Protestant confessions include the Lutheran Schmalkald Articles (1537), Formula of Concord (1577), and Book of Concord (1580); the Reformed Helvetic Confessions (1536, 1566), Gallican Confession (1559), Belgic Confession (1561), Heidelberg Catechism (1563), and Canons of Dort (1619); the Presbyterian Westminster Confession (1648); and the Anglican Thirty-nine Articles (1571).

      In modern times, Protestant churches in Asia and Africa have drafted confessions of their own, as have some Protestant churches in North America.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Confession of faith — Confession Con*fes sion, n. [F. confession, L. confessio.] 1. Acknowledgment; avowal, especially in a matter pertaining to one s self; the admission of a debt, obligation, or crime. [1913 Webster] With a crafty madness keeps aloof, When we would… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Confession of faith — Faith Faith (f[=a]th), n. [OE. feith, fayth, fay, OF. feid, feit, fei, F. foi, fr. L. fides; akin to fidere to trust, Gr. pei qein to persuade. The ending th is perhaps due to the influence of such words as truth, health, wealth. See {Bid},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • confession of faith — confession 4b * * * confession (def. 5). [1530 40] * * * confession of faith 1. A formal statement embodying the religious beliefs of a church or sect 2. A creed • • • Main Entry: ↑confess * * * confession of faith …   Useful english dictionary

  • Confession of faith — A Confession of Faith is a statement of doctrine very similar to a creed, but usually longer and polemical, as well as didactic. Confessions of Faith are in the main, though not exclusively, associated with Protestantism. The 16th and 17th… …   Wikipedia

  • confession of faith —  Исповедание веры …   Вестминстерский словарь теологических терминов

  • Confession of Faith (United Methodist) — Part of a series on Methodism John Wesley …   Wikipedia

  • 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith — The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith was written by Calvinistic Baptists in England to give a formal expression of the Reformed and Protestant Christian faith with an obvious Baptist perspective. This confession, like The Westminster Confession… …   Wikipedia

  • Westminster Confession of Faith — 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 …   Wikipedia

  • 1833 New Hampshire Baptist Confession of Faith — Part of a series on Baptists …   Wikipedia

  • Augsburg Confession of Faith —    The Augsburg Confession of Faith of 1530 was the first major Protestant creedal statement. It aimed to reconcile differences between reformers, and find common ground with Roman Catholics as well. At least that was the hope of Holy Roman… …   Encyclopedia of Protestantism


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.