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Creeds and Confessions

creed, ad, church, confession, faith, drawn, apostles and doctrinal

CREEDS AND CONFESSIONS (Lat. credo, III believe)); confessio confess))), for mularies of religious doctrine, rules, symbols or testimonies of faith for public use, setting forth with authority articles of belief which are re garded by the different Christian sects as nec essary for salvation.

Of these formularies, the earliest is the Apostles' Creed which developed from the con fession of Peter, Matthew xvi, 16, and from the baptismal invocation which determined the trinitarian order and arrangement. Out of the controversies which arose over differences of opinion on doctrinal points came the creeds of ecumenical councils of bishops; the Nicene Creed, A.D. 325; and the Creed of Chalcedon, A.D. 451. Between these two, about 430, ap peared the Athanasian Creed, attributed to Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria (d. 372). The early existence of the Apostles' Creed is inferred from a passage in the work Heresies,) written by Saint Irenzeus, who died about 202, being then 60 or perhaps 80 years old. The order in which the topics of the Apostles' Creed occur in the passage gives force to the conjecture based on its phraseology. Irenmus says of the Christians of his day: "All teach one and the same God the Father, and believe the same ceconomy of the incarna tion of the Son of God, and know the same gift of the Spirit, and meditate on the same precepts, and maintain the same form of con stitution with respect to the Church, and look for the same coming of the Lord, and wait for the same salvation of the whole man — that is, of the soul and body.° Rufinus, who lived in the latter half of the 4th century, gives us the of the apostles as it was received by the Roman Church of his time; it is shorter than the form that is now current, but it con tains nearly all the articles of the now existing creed and in the same words and the same order. In 870 the Eastern or Greek Church under Photius, archbishop of Constantinople, separated from the Western or Mother Church of Rome, over the insertion of filioque — and the Son — in the Creed, two and half centuries before at the Council of Toledo, Spain, held in 589. The doctrinal system of the Greek Church underwent no further change, but the Reformation called forth a number of con fessions or doctrinal manifestoes against Prot estantism and some against the Church of Rome; namely, the Confessions of Gennadius, A.D. 1453; the answers of the Patriarch Jere miah to the Lutherans, A.D. 1576; the Confes sions of Metrophanes Critopulos, A.D. 1625; the

Confession of Cyril Lucar, A.D. 1631; the Ortho dox Confession of Mogilas, A.D. 1643; and the Confession of Dositheus, A.D. 1672. Other Eastern Christian sects with slight differences of creeds comprise Nestorians, Jacobites, Copts, Armenians. In 1517 Luther's protest over abuses in Church practice initiated both the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation and almost contempo raneous with the Tridentine standards of the Council of Trent 1545-63 confirming points of Catholic doctrine, from 1530 to 1577 appeared numerous Protestant Evangelical Confessions of Faith. The first of them, the Augsburg Con fession (°Confessio Augustana") drawn up by Melanchthon and presented to the Emperor Charles V at Augsburg in 1530, is the most authoritative exposition of the Lutheran tenets; it was added to, explained or modified by other similar documents, as the 'Apologia Confes sionis Augustanm' (also by Melanchthon), a defense of the Confession of Augsburg; the Smalkald Articles (1536), drawn up by Luther; and the Formula of Concord, designed to recon cile differences among the Lutherans and to check a movement toward Calvinism. The chief confessions of faith formulated by the °Re formed," as distinguished from the followers of Luther are the Tetrapolitana) (oonfession of the four,towns, namely, Strass burg, Constance, Meiningen and Landau), and two or three other confessions. These all pre ceded the Calvinian Confessions, but they con tain tenets near allied to those of Calvinism and Presbyterianism. Then came the confessions drawn up by John Calvin or under his influ ence, the first of these, 'Consensus Tigurinus' (the Zurich agreement), drawn up by Calvin himself, was designed to bring the followers of Zwingli and of Calvin into one communion; the others were the Gallic (or French), the Belgic (or Dutch), and a second Helvetic (or Swiss) confession. These were followed about 50 years after the latest of them, by the cele brated Decrees of the Synod of Dordrecht (1619). The Artides of the Protestant Epis copal or Church of England's faith were, when first promulgated (1552), 42 in number, but later that number was reduced to 39. In 1646 was published the Westminster Confession of Faith by the Presbyterian divines of England, Scotland and New England, which in the year 1903 underwent amendment by vote of the Presbyterian churches of the United States.