In October of 1517, when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany, he began a movement that no one could possibly understand at the time. His actions marked the official beginning of the Protestant Reformation, and lead up to a period of theological study and reflection the likes of which the world had not seen in many years. With that came the urge, the necessity, even, for Christians throughout Europe to codify their beliefs regarding a plethora of theological topics. The 16th century saw the writing of several confessions, three of which are a part of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church, USAL The Scots Confession, The Heidelberg Catechism, and The 2nd Helvetic Confession. While many similarities can be found in these documents, there are differences as well. These differences can be attributed to a variety of things, not the least of which is the context in which each of these three confessions was born. The purpose of this paper is to give a brief historical and contextual background of each one, then to examine each one specifically through the lens of Christology, paying attention to the similarities and differences that can be found in the component of their declarations.
The Scots Confession
Historical Context - The years leading up to the writing of the Scots Confession were rife with political struggle, conspiracy, and scandal. Relationships between France, Spain, England, and Scotland were fragile and uncertain, with Scotland often caught between France and England. The Roman Catholic church in Scotland had become heavily corrupt, selling itself out daily to the highest bidder by doling out titles and posts in exchange for money and power. To appease the people, the church began to appoint lay leaders, a few of whom started to question the church’s authority. This was, however, also a time when taking a religious stand contrary to the established positions could be fatal. In May of 1546, with the blood of martyrs Wishart and Hamilton on their hearts and minds, a “band of desperate Protestants” chose as their mouthpiece one John Knox, a former Catholic priest turned Protestant preacher. Knox began advancing the Protestant cause in England and Scotland, literally risking life and limb. Occasional “flights for life” led him to John Calvin’s Geneva where he lived off and on, when necessary to avoid becoming a martyr himself.
In June of 1560, as the political dust began to settle, France was forced to withdraw entirely from Scotland, and Scotland found herself with new independence, ripe for innovation. Amidst this readiness, the Scottish Parliament invited John Knox and five other “Johns” to write a Protestant confession under which all of Scotland could stand. Thus, the Scots Confession was born in August of 1560. It should be noted, however, that due to Queen Mary’s loyalty to France, the Scots Confession did not have full constitutional ratification until the reign of James VI in 1567.
Structure and Themes - The document itself took only four days to write. While the style itself is hasty, its content is evidence that the ideas represented in the confession were not at all hastily conceived. The structure of the Scots Confession follows a natural progression, beginning and ending with God, with our human struggles and institutions sandwiched in between. The first eleven chapters deal with God (Creator, Son, and Spirit) and God’s promise to humanity. The next thirteen chapters (XII through XXIV) address our human struggles and institutions--our response to God in our lives, the church, scripture, church councils and declarations, the sacraments, and civil authority. The concluding chapter (XXV) focuses on the consummation of God’s promise, laying out the eternal gifts that God freely gives to the church.
The Scots Confession spends a significant amount of time on human struggles, which seems appropriate for its time. There was not considerable difference between the Protestants and the Catholics on God’s person or existence, but there were drastic differences in how each viewed humanity and human endeavors / requirements in response to God’s work. Throughout the Scots Confession, woven amidst the threads of issues of humanity and human difficulties, we find the overriding theme of grace. In its simple yet direct language, the Scots Confession declares that grace can reach all, regardless of how alienated we are from God. Although the Scots Confession was superseded eventually by the Westminster Confession, it continues to hold a substantive place within the church because of its simplistic style and its ease of understanding. To this day, it is still used for teaching and instruction, in large part because of its direct literary style.
The Heidelberg Catechism
Historical Context - Like the Scots Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism was written in and around much doctrinal controversy. As the Protestant Reformation took hold in Germany, many differing ideas were touted as to the “proper” understanding of many theological beliefs and practices, one being the Lord’s Supper. This difference proved to be a driving factor in the writing of the Heidelberg Catechism.
Born a Roman Catholic, Frederick III converted to Protestantism after he married a devout Lutheran. Years later, he inherited the reign over a German province from his childless uncle, Otto Henry. When Frederick assumed the role of Elector of the Palatinate, he quickly learned that the province which he inherited was riddled with theological debate. Much of this debate was fueled by differing, but deeply held, convictions among Protestants regarding the Lord’s Supper. Lutherans believed strongly that Christ’s body and blood were actually present in the elements. Zwinglians maintained that “This is my body” was merely a figurative use of the word “is,” and that the Lord’s Supper celebrated “merely” the memory of Christ. Calvinists, on the other hand, maintained that Christ was spiritually, but not physically, present in the elements, and that through the presence of the Holy Spirit, those who partook of the elements were able to enter into full spiritual community with Christ.
Amidst this debate, Frederick III wanted desperately to declare a doctrinal standard which would have the potential to unite Protestants throughout his region. He commissioned two theologians, Kaspar Olevianus and Zacharias Ursinus, to write a statement that could provide both structure for the life of the church as well as theological education for the people. His hope was that such a document would provide a sense of theological peace amongst the region. The result was the 108 question document that was adopted by synod in 1563. Three phases of editing followed before it found the form we currently have today. The Heidelberg Catechism became the standard for Reformed churches in Holland, Germany, and Hungary, and was also the first Reformed confession to make its way to the North American continent.
Structure and Themes - The structure of the Heidelberg Catechism matches the threefold Palatinate liturgy, and also echoes the steps that seem to form the basis of a faith journey. It first addresses an awareness of sinfulness and the human condition (sin / guilt), then moves on to a belief that we are saved by God’s grace through faith (salvation / grace), then finally leads us to a response to that grace or salvation by outlining a life of obedience to God (service / gratitude).
The Heidelberg Catechism has a strong Biblical foundation, yet is ecumenical in character, as its intent was to create solace in the midst of debilitating debate. It avoids any mention of the controversial doctrines of predestination and election. It is Christocentric, giving a great deal of time to salvation and Christ’s role in that. Its casual question / answer style gives it a personal feel, as does its use of pronouns “you” and “we.” Its overall tone is highly reverent and full of God’s mystery, giving it a significant devotional feel as well. Even though the Heidelberg Catechism is outdated in many circles today due to its masculine language, strict guidelines regarding church life, and condemnation of “homosexual perversion,” it continues to hold a place of significance in the greater church. Perhaps this is because it eschews many issues that have been debated theologically among Christians for centuries (and will likely never be resolved in the world as we now know it), and lends itself more to personal piety and praise and awe of God in the form of reverence and devotion.
The Second Helvetic Confession
Historical Context - Like the Heidelberg Catechism, the Swiss-born 2nd Helvetic Confession is deeply ecumenical in nature, as evidenced by the fact that is it is the most widely accepted confession. It has its roots in the teachings of Ulrich Zwingli, a close friend of Heinrich Bullinger, its actual, lone author. For much of his life, Zwingli was embroiled in a debate over the doctrine of Baptism that had arisen out of disagreement with a newly formed sect, that Anabaptists. Anabaptists believed strongly that an adult believer’s baptism was the only “true” baptism. They believed that genuine baptism could only occur once true faith had been manifested in the life of an adult believer. The Anabaptists were vehemently opposed to infant baptism, calling it “the highest and chief abomination of the pope.” This deeply rooted theological divide led to significant tension amongst Swiss Protestants. Ongoing violence and chaos in the city of Munster in the 1530’s brought the Roman Catholic bishop’s army to the city, killing all of the Anabaptist leaders in attempt to quell the violent outbreaks and disorder. Not only did this incident do great damage to any notions of religious toleration amongst the Protestants, but it also provided an opportunity for the Roman Catholics and Lutherans to band together even more tightly in their counter-Reformation attempts.
It was in the midst of these troubled times and great theological debate that the 1st and 2nd Helvetic Confessions were born, in large part as an attempt to create some semblance of unity amidst the chaos. The 1st Helvetic Confession was written by a collection of Swiss theologians that included Heinrich Bullinger, and the 2nd Helvetic Confession was written by Heinrich Bullinger alone. He initially wrote it as his personal confession after years of study and teaching. However, when the Heidelberg Catechism’s proponent Frederick III was charged with heresy and called to appear before Emperor Maximilian to defend his catechism, Bullinger made the courageous decision to share his private confession with the emperor. His hope was that it would aid in Frederick’s defense by showing solidarity among those who called themselves Reformers. And thus, the 2nd Helvetic Confession became public.
Structure and Themes - Unlike the Scots Confession, which begins with the acknowledgement that it is to “one God alone, to whom alone we must cleave…serve… worship…trust,” and the Heidelberg Catechism, which begins with we “belong—body and soul, in life and in death…to Jesus Christ,” the 2nd Helvetic Confession begins, not with God, but with Scripture. This comes as no surprise since the Scriptures played such a central role in Bullinger’s life and ministry. The focus then moves to various other issues, giving significant time and attention to each one. Following the attention to Scripture, it addresses God and creation, then issues of humanity, such as sin, predestination, salvation and life in Christ, the church (including ministry and sacraments), and finally, it gives attention to issues of family and state. The confession then concludes with a prayer, begging for God’s blessing of the rulers and the people, through Christ, and giving praise, glory, and thanksgiving to Lord and Savior Christ.
The lengthiest of the 16th century confessions in our Book of Confessions, the 2nd Helvetic Confession makes an intentional effort to clearly state the beliefs, then address the issues or differences of the day that are contrary to the stated position. It makes for quite an interesting dialogue, especially when read from the postmodern context of today. While the context in which it was written was quite different than today’s modern society, the 2nd Helvetic Confession lays out and clarifies an understanding of Christian life that is still relevant today, even though the specific issues faced are often drastically different.
For the remainder of this paper, we will look specifically at the Christology found in these three aforementioned 16th century confessions, discovering their similarities and differences with regard to Christology. The word “christology” comes from the Greek words christos, meaning “anointed one,” and logos, meaning “study (of).” Christology, then, is “the church’s understanding of who Jesus Christ is and what he as done.” This understanding has grown and developed over the centuries. For the purpose of this paper, as well as the two that will follow, I will focus specifically on the incarnation, atonement, and resurrection / ascension. I will compare and contrast the confessions with regard to these three components of the life and works of Christ. The remainder of this paper will continue to focus only on the 16th century confessions and the understanding of the person, purpose, and works of Jesus Christ in each one.
All three of these 16th century confessions boldly acknowledge that Jesus Christ was God’s own son, who was born of Mary, a virgin, by means of the Holy Ghost. Likewise, each one states that Christ is the true “seed of David.” Also, each one confesses that Christ was fully human, though each in its own way. And finally, each one boldly claims that Christ was true God as well. We see that all three authors of these confessions thought it important to address (1) the virgin birth, (2) Christ’s connection to David by way of Holy Spirit, and (3) the human / divine nature of Christ. It is interesting to note, however, that although each confession was born of strong Reformed thought among theologically controversial times with similar opposition, there are slight differences when you examine what each confession has to say about Christ coming to earth to live among us as one of us. While none of these differences create undue tension between the documents, it is interesting to note the differences and, when possible, speculate as to why they might exist.
The Scots Confession addresses most specifically the actual incarnation itself--God in Christ living among us via Mary and the Holy Spirit--and the actual nature of Christ himself, divine and human. In 3.06, it speaks specifically of Christ “taking the nature of humanity from the substance of a woman.” It then further attacks prominent heresies of the day by claiming that Christ was / is “true God and true man, two perfect natures united and joined in one person,” thereby neither “denying the eternity of” Christ’s Godhead, “or the truth of his humanity, or confounding them” or dividing them.” We also see, in the Scots Confession, a notion of Christology from above when it states, in 3.07, that the “union between the Godhead and the humanity in Christ Jesus did arise from the eternal and immutable decree of God.” This reference suggests their firm belief in the omnipotence of God from the beginning of time, a deeply-held belief that has been carried forward over the centuries, even until today.
The question / answer format of The Heidelberg Catechism generally lends itself to short, succinct answers, each on a very specific topic. There is a much greater focus on Christ’s humanity in this catechism than in the Scots Confession, as well as on God’s purpose with and through the life of Christ (See 4.031). In 4.035, it addresses the belief that Christ was God incarnate, born of woman and spirit, and therefore being of two natures. Jesus, who “is and remains true and eternal God,” was also “true man” and “true seed of David. This catechism struggles with the interwoven quality of Christ’s divinity and humanity, dealing with is specifically in 4.048. “(S)ince divinity is incomprehensible and everywhere present, it much follow that the divinity is indeed beyond the bounds of the humanity which it has assumed, and is nonetheless ever in that humanity as well, and remains personally united to it.”
It is interesting to note that the authors of the Heidelberg Catechism found it necessary to address the absence of sin with regard to the humanity of Christ. Jesus was, it claims, “like his fellow men in all things, except for sin,” a necessary component, it states in 4.016, because “the man who is himself a sinner cannot pay for others.” The way in which this catechism brings up the sinfulness of Christ when discussing his humanity suggests a line of thought, a connecting thread in the conversations, between Christ’s incarnation and his purpose, that of salvation. Since the Scots Confession does not mention specifically Christ’s lack of sin, we can assume that the line of thought was either not present in the writing of the Scots Confession, or not important enough to include in the final document. Also, note the absence of any specific allusion to God’s eternal decree with regard to Christ’s incarnation from the beginning of time, as the Scots does in 3.07. This suggests that the particular thread of Christology from above, of Christ’s place before the actual incarnation, was missing in the Heidelberg discussions, or perhaps present but not deemed important or clear enough to commit to writing.
The 2nd Helvetic Confession, by virtue of its very length, is much more specific than either the Scots or the Heidelberg with regard to all aspects of the incarnation. It is not only more detailed in content, but is also more explicit in the language used. When one considers that it was initially Bullinger’s personal confession, it is fascinating to read because it gives us insight into where his own personal struggles were with regard to the faith and Reformed thought, as well as his strongest convictions within the Reformed framework.
Similar to the Scots Confession, the 2nd Helvetic states, in 5.062, that Christ “was born, not only when he assumed flesh of the Virgin Mary, and not only before the foundation of the world was laid, but by the Father before all eternity in an inexpressible manner.” Likewise, in 5.077, we read that “God appointed him beforehand and sent him to us.” Again, we can attribute this presence of Christology from above as Bullinger’s embrace of the omnipotence of God from the beginning of time, a concept that strongly under girds Reformed thought.
Bullinger apparently struggled greatly with the dual nature of Christ. The 2nd Helvetic begins the section on the incarnation of Christ with “CHRIST IS TRUE GOD” (5.062). Then, in 5.067, it delineates the dual nature of Christ by stating that Christ as divine is “consubstantial with the father, and that Christ as human is “consubstantial with us men, and like us in all things, sin excepted.” As in the Heidelberg Catechism, the 2nd Helvetic mentions the absence of sin in Christ. However, Bullinger also found it necessary to stress the humanity of Christ even more, stating in 5.065 that Christ “had a soul with…reason, and flesh with…senses.” Finally, in 5.069, you can truly sense the struggle with the dual natures again when Bullinger seems to be wrestling with it after the time surrounding Christ’s physical presence on earth and his crucifixion and resurrection. “Therefore, we do not in anyway teach that the divine nature in Christ has suffered or that Christ according to his human nature is still in this world and thus is everywhere. For neither do we think or teach that the body of Christ ceased to be a true body after his glorification, or was deified…in such a way that it laid aside its properties as regards body and soul, and changed entirely into a divine nature and began to be merely one substance.” These two statements are quite convoluted, and even with their specificity, it is difficult to unravel the threads of humanity and divinity, as it should be given the limits of the human language, I suppose. Given all that the 2nd Helvetic says regarding the incarnation of Christ, it is quite evident that Bullinger struggled most clearly with his duality.
Death and Atonement
All three 16th century confessions lift up in their own ways the suffering and death of Christ, as well as its meaning for us. But again, while the similar circumstances under which each was written create a unity of thought among them, there are both distinct and subtle differences between these three confessions as well.
The Scots Confession spends very little time discussing Christ’s death, passion, burial, and resurrection. Therefore, it is interesting to consider what was said in this confession, assuming that was of utmost importance and significance to its authors. In section 3.09, we read that Christ gave himself up as a “voluntary sacrifice,” “condemned in the presence of an earthly judge,” and suffered death on the cross as well as, for a season, “the wrath of his Father which sinners had deserved.” His suffering was true and genuine, “anguish and torment which he suffered in body and soul” (3.09). This was done “for our justification” so that we may have “life again,” according to 3.10. Because of what God did for us in Christ, “there remains no other sacrifice for sin.” The purpose, then, of Christ’s crucifixion, was “for the accomplishment of all things” (3.11).
It is reassuring to this budding reformed theologian that the Scots Confession makes no mention of any human action required for us to benefit from God’s plan for salvation in the death and resurrection of our Lord. These two sections on Christ’s death and resurrection are all about what God has done for us with and through the life of Christ…period. This is certainly consistent throughout the confession itself, as we see an overarching theme of God’s sovereignty within the body of it, in particular. It is all about the work and action of God, not of humanity--even to the point of our faith and works being a result of the “Spirit of the Lord Jesus, who dwells in our hearts by true faith,” (3.13) which does itself proceed from “the inspiration of the Holy Ghost” (3.12), not from any action on our part.
With a lengthier confession comes an increased amount of attention given to each aspect of Christology. The Heidelberg Catechism acknowledges that Christ “took upon himself the curse which lay upon (humanity)” (4.039). Through his sacrifice, Christ “bore in body and soul the wrath of God,” setting us free from experiencing that wrath ourselves. An interesting difference worth noting regarding Christ’s death is that, while the Scots Confession states that Christ was condemned “in the presence of an earthly judge” (3.09), the Heidelberg Catechism states that Christ was condemned “by an earthly judge.” (4.038) The Scots Confession leaves its readers to wonder who they believe actually did the condemning. Humankind? God? Pilate? On the other hand, the writers of the Heidelberg Catechism make it clear that the condemnation of Christ came from humanity in the form of an earthly judge. It continues by claiming that it was the only way reparation for our sins could be made. (4.040) Clearly questions of death were at the forefront for these writers, because in 4.042 they address why we have actually die since Christ has already died for us. Our death is, the catechism states, “only a dying to sin and an entering into eternal life.”
The catechism acknowledges in 4.034 that we are “redeemed body and soul,” “bought for (God’s) own. Our sins are “cover(ed) over with (Christ’s) innocence and perfect holiness” (4.036). The Heidelberg Catechism, in 4.044, states that Christ’s suffering was intense, and on our behalf. Like the Scots Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism claims that Christ bore for us, “in body and soul the wrath of God,” (4.037) suggesting that both writers shared the sense of importance that Christ’s full suffering had, as well as the ultimate purpose of that suffering.
It is ridiculously obvious that the 2nd Helvetic Confession has very little to say about Christ’s actual death, other than that he “truly suffered” and that it was his true flesh that was crucified. (5.071) The death of Christ was not an issues with which Bullinger struggled significantly, nor about which he felt the need to put it on paper. There are in this confession, however, considerable scriptural references and substantial attention is given to the consequence of, or reason for, his death--atonement. Through God’s actions in Christ, in 4.076, God “reconciled all the faithful to the heavenly Father, made expiation for sins, disarmed death, overcame damnation and hell, and by his resurrection from the dead brought again and restored life and immortality.” The 2nd Helvetic spends more time than the other two discussing the “who?” of salvation as well. In 5.077, we read that Christ is the “unique and eternal Savior of the human race, and thus of the whole world, in whom by faith are saved all who are before the law, under the law, and under the Gospel were saved, and however many will be saved at the end of the world.” This seems to say that all whom God wills and has willed to be saved are saved by faith, again a concept the runs deep in Reformed thought. Salvation has nothing to do with our action at all, and everything to do with God’s actions through Christ.
Resurrection and Ascension
In comparison to Christ’s incarnation and death, less seems to be said regarding the resurrection and ascension in each of these three 16th century confessions. Again, however, it is the absence of what is said that seems to speak louder than what is actually said. It is as if this aspect of the Christian faith was not even brought into question, or perhaps was not cause of significant disagreement among believers, therefore little needed to be said of it. How different that is from today, when debate over a full bodily resurrection seems to be rampant among Christians!
The Scots Confession, in 3.10, states that the Lord Jesus did rise again, bringing life again to us who were subject to death and its bondage. It continues by saying that this was confirmed by the “testimony of his enemies,” “his angels,” and by his apostles and others “who had conversation, and did eat and drink with him after his resurrection.” In the event someone did question Jesus’ resurrection, there were plenty of eyewitnesses to give credit to the story, and the Scots Confession drew on those eyewitnesses, never mind that they were long gone from their life on earth.
With regard to the ascension, in 3.11 the Scots Confessions states that Jesus did rise again and that he “ascend(ed) into the heavens, for the accomplishment of all things.” The Scots Confession spends less time on the “why” of the resurrection and ascension than do the other two 16th century confessions. It does, however, claim that Jesus “sits at the right hand of” God as our “only advocate and mediator.” And finally, the question of where Christ is now, today, was not apparent in the sections of the Scots Confession regarding his incarnation, specifically his humanity. Unlike the 2nd Helvetic, which discussed this at length in the sections about the incarnation and Christ’s dual nature, the Scots Confession places this within the context of the ascension. However, it was apparently present during the conversations around the writing of the Scots Confession with regard to the ascension, and therefore the authors felt a need to include it, if only briefly, in some way.
Similarly, the Heidelberg Catechism addresses the resurrection as if the actual bodily resurrection was not at issue, but rather the greater purpose of it. In 4.045, it delineates the benefits we receive from Christ’s resurrection: (1) Death is overcome for a share in righteousness, (2) We are raised to a new life, and (3) We are assured of our (eventual) blessed resurrection. There is no mention of eyewitnesses, nor does there seem to be any need to prove that it actually happened. It is as if it is merely accepted as fact by all, suggesting that, among believers, it was not an issue that caused significant divisiveness.
The Heidelberg Catechism spends significantly more time discussing the ascension and its benefits for us. In 4.046, it states that Christ was taken “into heaven before the eyes of his disciples and remains there on our behalf until he comes again.” The benefits we receive from Christ’s presence at the right hand of God are: (1) he serves as our advocate, (2) it reminds us that we have been promised that we will one day join him, and (3) his Spirit is with us to aid us in our seeking of what is of God rather than what is worldly. Christ is there, this catechism states, to serve as the head of the church (4.050) and to pour out spiritual gifts to us as well as to defend and support us (4.051).
The 2nd Helvetic Confession is more concerned than the other two with the notion of a bodily resurrection. It claims, 5.073, that Christ, “in his true flesh in which he was crucified and died, rose again from the dead, and that not another flesh was raised other than the one buried, or that a spirit was taken up instead of the flesh, but that he retained his true body.” Apparently, for these writers, there was a need to be more specific about the actual resurrection of Christ’s body—that it was not spirit or other flesh, but that the resurrected body was his true body. The confession goes on to “condemn all who deny a real resurrection of the flesh” in 5.075, suggesting that it was a significant issue among believers in Switzerland and surrounding areas.
There are similar issues apparently at work with regard to the ascension in this confession as well. We read in 5.074 that Christ, “in his same flesh, ascended…into…the dwelling place of God.” This assertion is followed by a multitude of scriptural references to back up the ascension, thereby giving it more validity. This is the only confession of these three that draws as heavily on scriptural “prophecy” to validate the ascension, suggesting that there was a contextual need to lend scriptural support to the event.
Finally, the 2nd Helvetic Confession claims, in 5.076, that the “fruit of Christ’s death and resurrection” is that “our Lord reconciled all the faithful” to God, “made expiation for sins, disarmed death, overcame damnation and hell, and by his resurrection from the death brought again and restored life and immortality.” While not as detailed as the Heidelberg Catechism is regarding the benefits we receive from Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension, the 2nd Helvetic does address it, and does not seem to differ significantly from the Heidelberg Catechism in this area.
Each of these three confessions was written in the 16th century amidst considerable political involvement and theological disagreement in the early years following Luther’s posting of the 95 theses in 1517. Each one is consistent with the others in many ways; each also has its particular style, as well as its particular emphases on various aspects of Reformed faith, depending on the specific context in which it was composed. While I find it distressing that issues related to our faith have proven, over time, to be so divisive, I also find some comfort in the fact that it seems we have always wrestled with doctrine, with issues of faith, and with confessing our beliefs as a corporate body made up of very distinct individuals who are, at best, forgiven sinners.
As Christians, we struggle constantly to hold fast to our history, tradition, and doctrine in order to preserve that which is and has been, while at the same time to be open to change, growth, and reform in order to be relevant in the present. The struggle is obvious—preserving our tradition too rigidly may lend itself to irrelevance in today’s culture, while change and growth threatens to distance us from what has given us our identity from the beginning of time. As a part of the body of Christ, our denomination must find a way to balance this tension as we attempt to live out our mission as a learning, changing, growing organism. As we look ahead towards the next decade, I hope that we can continue to be as faithful and intentional as our forerunners were in crafting statements of belief and faith that are valid for the present while maintaining our identity as Reformed Christians with fellow believers in every time and place.
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