Summary of the confession of faith that must be made by those who wish to be held as members of the church of Jesus Christ. Adopted by them after the public preaching near Antwerp, July 28, 1566.
1. I believe that the will of God alone is the certain and perfect rule and foundation of that duty which we ought to perform and of that which we ought to believe to be saved (Deut. 16:18; Ps. 40:7; Matt. 7:21; 1 John 2:17).
2. I believe that this will has been fully revealed and manifested to us in His Word, included and contained in the books of the Old and New Testament. Nevertheless, as for faith and duty to God, I reject all other doctrines and traditions, which have not been found and approved in His Word. This Word teaches that there is only one God, eternally distinct in three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And in this one God I believe and place all my trust (Deut. 29:29; Acts 20:27; 2 Tim. 3:15; Matt. 15:9; 1 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 13:9; Matt. 28:19; John 1:33; 1 John 5:7).
3. I believe that the Father has created by His wisdom, goodness, and power out of nothing all things in heaven and earth, visible and invisible. I believe that having created them, He has maintained and governed them, maintains and governs even now according to His will, in such a way that nothing happens, neither in heaven, nor on earth, except by His providence: and particularly He has shown His love to men, in providing and offering them the means of salvation (Gen. 1:1; Heb. 1:2; Col. 1:16; John 5:17; Ps. 33:6ff.; Acts 4:28; Matt. 6:24; John 1:12; 3:15).
4. I believe in Jesus Christ, only and eternal Son of God, of one essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit (John 1:1; Col. 1:15).
5. I believe that He has been given to us by the Father as Lord and Savior; He was conceived of the Holy Spirit from the very substance of the virgin Mary, according to the prophecies, to be true God and true man, in all things like us except sin. Nevertheless I reject the error of those who maintain that He had a body either fantastic, or celestial and spiritual, or in some other substance than our own
(John 3:17; Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:35; Rom. 1:1; 9:5; Heb. 2:14; 4:15; 2 Tim. 2:8; 1 John 4:12; Acts 20:30).
6. I believe that He has suffered and rendered obedience to God, His Father, even to death on the cross, and that by this means He has acquired for us redemption entirely and eternally (Rom. 5:29; Heb. 2:9; Rom. 3:21ff.; Eph. 1:17; Mark 16:6, 19).
7. I believe that He has been raised and returned to heaven and sits at the right hand of God, having all power in heaven and on earth, to keep and to make us participants in the salvation which He has acquired for us. Nevertheless also recognizing no another Savior than Him only, I reject and condemn those other means invented by men for salvation (Luke 24:6, 51; Rom. 8:33; Matt. 28:18; 1 Tim. 2:5; Col. 2:8; 1 John 2:3).
8. I believe in the Holy Spirit, who is of the same essence with the Father and the Son, who by His illumination and virtue grants us the knowledge of God and faith in Jesus Christ, who also sanctifies us to bear fruit in all good works (Eph. 3:16; 2 Thess. 3:2; 1 Cor. 6:11; Eph. 2:10; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 9:13; 1 Peter 1:22).
9. I believe that to communicate these graces to them, God has ordained the preaching of His Word, as an external testimony of His will; and the sacraments as seals and tokens of them, for the confirmation of our faith. And these are here the most certain and principal marks for discerning the church of Jesus Christ from other false and illegitimate ones (Acts 13:48; 1Cor. 3:7ff; Acts 2:42).
10. I believe that no more than two sacraments have been ordained by Jesus Christ, for the perpetual and universal use of His church, namely, baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 28:19; Eph. 3:26; 1 Cor. 11:23).
11. I believe that baptism is the sign of the covenant of God with the seed of Abraham, ought to be given to those who belong to the covenant of grace, and, as a consequence,
to the infants of believers. Thus I reject the error of the Anabaptists who detest the baptism of small infants (Rom. 4:11ff; Col. 2:11; Gal. 3:27; Matt. 9:14; Gen. 17:2, 3; Acts 3:25).
12. I believe that the Lord’s Supper has been given to us as a certain token of our communion with the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless I also reject the error of those who say that these are only naked signs of our profession; likewise of those who abolish the signs in maintaining that the bread and wine are transubstantiated into the body and blood of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 10:16; Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 14:40; Rom. 12:8; Matt. 18:17; Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 5:17; Acts 6).
13. I believe that the church has a twofold government, the one which concerns the service of God, being ruled by a certain order which is committed to ministers, elders or overseers, and deacons, guardians of that common order and discipline: the second of magistrates ordained by God for civil law enforcement and administration, to whom we owe honor, love, and obedience in all things which are not contrary to God and the salvation of our souls (Rom. 13:1; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13; Luke 19:11; Matt. 22:21).
14. I believe in the certain hope, founded on the promises of God, that as Christ has been raised, we also will rise in our own bodies, to be lifted up with Jesus Christ in eternal life and glory (1 Cor. 13:20ff.; Phil. 3:20; 2 Thess. 1:6ff.).
Such is my faith, and I pray God to grant me the grace of life and to die in this confession.
(Translation by James T. Dennison, Jr.)