Saturday, July 23

Historic Church Documents: The Genevan Confession

Wondering why all these historic church documents are posted here this month? That'd be because I've declared July to be Historic Church Document Month.

Theodore Beza attributed this particular confession to John Calvin, although many consider William Farel to be the more likely author. We do know that Farel and Calvin presented the document to the magistrates of the Senate of Geneva in 1536 and it was the confession "which all the citizens and inhabitants of Geneva and the subjects of the country must promise to keep and hold." Here is some of what it says.

  • I. The Word of God
    First we affirm that we desire to follow Scripture alone as rule of faith and religion, without mixing with it any other thing which might be devised by the opinion of men apart from the Word of God, and without wishing to accept for our spiritual government any other doctrine than what is conveyed to us by the same Word without addition or diminution, acccording to the command of our Lord.

  • IV. Natural Man
    We acknowledge man by nature to be blind, darkened in understanding, and full of corruption and perversity of heart, so that of himself he has no power to be able to comprehend the true knowledge of God as is proper, nor to apply himself to good works. But on the contrary, if he is left by God to what he is by nature, he is only able to live in ignorance and to be abandoned to all iniquity. Hence he has need to be illumined by Fod, so that he come to the right knowledge of his salvation, and thus to be redirected in his affections and reformed to the obedience of the righteousness of God.

  • VI. Salvation in Jesus
    We confess then that it is Jesus Christ who is given to us by the Father, in order that in him we should recover all of which in ourselves we are deficient. Now all that Jesus Christ has done and suffered for our redemption, we veritably hold without any doubt, as it is contained in the Creed, which is recited in the Church, that is to say: I believe in God the Father Almighty, and so on.

You will find the whole of the confession at the link in the beginning of this post.
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