Creeds & Confessions

From the earliest days of the Church, Christians developed short, simple summaries of the faith. These statements became known as creeds.


A Confession of faith, is a formal statement of belief intended for public declaration by an individual, or a church; confessions, are similar to creeds, although more extensive.

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.


I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.


I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic* church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.


*that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places

The Athanasian Creed

Whoever desires to be saved should above all hold to the catholic faith.


Anyone who does not keep it whole and unbroken will doubtless perish eternally.


Now this is the catholic faith:

That we worship one God in trinity and the trinity in unity,
neither blending their persons
nor dividing their essence.

For the person of the Father is a distinct person,
the person of the Son is another,
and that of the Holy Spirit still another.

But the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one,
their glory equal, their majesty coeternal.


What quality the Father has, the Son has, and the Holy Spirit has.


The Father is uncreated,
the Son is uncreated,
the Holy Spirit is uncreated.


The Father is immeasurable,
the Son is immeasurable,
the Holy Spirit is immeasurable.


The Father is eternal,
the Son is eternal,
the Holy Spirit is eternal.

And yet there are not three eternal beings;
there is but one eternal being.
So too there are not three uncreated or immeasurable beings;

there is but one uncreated and immeasurable being.

    

Similarly, the Father is almighty,
the Son is almighty,

the Holy Spirit is almighty.
Yet there are not three almighty beings;
there is but one almighty being.

        

Thus the Father is God,
the Son is God,
the Holy Spirit is God.
Yet there are not three gods;
there is but one God.

        

Thus the Father is Lord,
the Son is Lord,
the Holy Spirit is Lord.
Yet there are not three lords;
there is but one Lord.

    

Just as Christian truth compels us

to confess each person individually

as both God and Lord,

so catholic religion forbids us

to say that there are three gods or lords.


The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten from anyone.


The Son was neither made nor created;
he was begotten from the Father alone.

The Holy Spirit was neither made nor created nor begotten;
he proceeds from the Father and the Son.

   

Accordingly there is one Father, not three fathers;
there is one Son, not three sons;
there is one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.


Nothing in this trinity is before or after,
nothing is greater or smaller;
in their entirety the three persons
are coeternal and coequal with each other.


So in everything, as was said earlier,
we must worship their trinity in their unity
and their unity in their trinity.


Anyone then who desires to be saved
should think thus about the trinity.


But it is necessary for eternal salvation
that one also believe in the incarnation
of our Lord Jesus Christ faithfully.


Now this is the true faith:

That we believe and confess

that our Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son,
is both God and human, equally.

He is God from the essence of the Father,
begotten before time;
and he is human from the essence of his mother,
born in time;
completely God, completely human,
with a rational soul and human flesh;
equal to the Father as regards divinity,
less than the Father as regards humanity.


Although he is God and human,
yet Christ is not two, but one.
He is one, however,
not by his divinity being turned into flesh,
but by God's taking humanity to himself.
He is one,
certainly not by the blending of his essence,
but by the unity of his person.

For just as one human is both rational soul and flesh,
so too the one Christ is both God and human.

He suffered for our salvation;
he descended to the dead;
he arose from the dead;
he ascended to heaven;
he is seated at the Father's right hand;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

At his coming all people will arise bodily
and give an accounting of their own deeds.
Those who have done good will enter eternal life,
and those who have done evil will enter eternal fire.


This is the catholic faith:
one cannot be saved without believing it firmly and faithfully.

The Chalcedonian Definition

So, following the saintly fathers, we all with one voice teach the confession of one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and a body; consubstantial with the Father as regards his divinity, and the same consubstantial with us as regards his humanity; like us in all respects except for sin; begotten before the ages from the Father as regards his divinity, and in the last days the same for us and for our salvation from Mary, the virgin God-bearer as regards his humanity; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only-begotten, acknowledged in two natures which undergo no confusion, no change, no division, no separation; at no point was the difference between the natures taken away through the union, but rather the property of both natures is preserved and comes together into a single person and a single subsistent being; he is not parted or divided into two persons, but is one and the same only-begotten Son, God, Word, Lord Jesus Christ, just as the prophets taught from the beginning about him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ himself instructed us, and as the creed of the fathers handed it down to us.

The New Hampshire Confession of Faith

I. The Scriptures

We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction. It has God for its author, salvation through Christ for its purpose, and truth without any mixture of error for its content. It reveals the principles by which God will judge us. Therefore, it is and shall remain to the end of the world the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.


II. The Triune God

We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God. He is an infinite, intelligent Spirit, whose name is the LORD, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth. He is inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love. In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are equal in every divine perfection, yet carry out distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.


III. Humanity

We believe that humanity is the special creation of God, made in his own image. God created them male and female as the crowning work of his creation. The gift of gender is thus part of God’s creation. The gift of marriage consists of the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime, and models the way God relates to his people.


IV. The Fall

Humanity was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker. By voluntary transgression, however, humanity fell from that holy and happy state. As a result, all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint but by choice. Being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, they are now positively inclined to evil. Therefore, mankind stands under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.


V. The Way Of Salvation

We believe that the salvation of sinners is entirely of grace, through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord. By the appointment of the Father, he freely took upon himself our nature, yet without sin. He honored the divine law by his personal obedience, and by his substitutionary death made a full atonement for our sins. He rose from the dead, and is now enthroned in heaven. Jesus unites in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections and, as such, is qualified in every way to be a suitable, a compassionate, and all-sufficient Saviour.


VI. Justification

We believe that a great gospel blessing which Christ secures to those who believe in him is Justification. Justification includes both the pardon of sin and the promise of eternal life. It is not given in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but only through faith in the Redeemer’s blood. By virtue of this faith his perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us by God. Justification brings us, immediately at the time of salvation, into a state of most blessed peace and favour with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.


VII. The Freeness Of Salvation

We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel. It is the immediate duty of all to accept these blessings by a heartfelt, repentant, and obedient faith. Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth, but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel, which only magnifies his condemnation.


VIII. Grace In Regeneration

We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again. Regeneration consists in the giving of a new and holy disposition to an otherwise rebellious sinner. It is accomplished in a way that is above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit and in connection with divine truth, thus securing our voluntary obedience to the gospel. The proper evidence of regeneration consists in the holy fruits of repentance, faith, and newness of life.


IX. Repentance And Faith

We believe that repentance and faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces that are wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God. He convinces us of our guilt, danger, helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, causing us to turn to God with true sorrow, confession, and pleas for mercy, while at the same time receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest and King, and relying on him alone as the only and all sufficient Saviour.


X. Election

We believe that election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners. Being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, election includes all the means in connection with the end of salvation. It is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy and unchangeable. It entirely obliterates boasting and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust, and an active imitation of God’s free mercy. It encourages the greatest possible exercise of human responsibility. It may be discovered by its effects in all who truly believe the gospel. Election is the foundation of Christian assurance, and confirming our election deserves the utmost diligence.


XI. Of Perseverance of the Saints
We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end: that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special providence watches over their welfare, and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.



XII. Of the Harmony of the Law and the Gospel
We believe that the law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral government; that it is holy, just and good; and that the inability which the scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfil its precepts arises entirely from their love of sin; to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy law, is one great end of the gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible church.



XIII. Of a Gospel Church
We believe that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptised believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by his laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by his word; that its only scriptural officers are bishops or pastors and deacons whose qualifications, claims and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.



XIV. Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We believe that the Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost; to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried and risen Saviour, with its effect, in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation, and to the Lord's Supper; in which the members of the church by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ; preceded always by solemn self-examination.



XV. Of the Lord's Day
We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord's Day; and it is to be marked by the gathering for corporate worship of God's people and the devout observance of all the means of grace.



XVI. Of the Civil Government
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society,; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honoured, and obeyed; except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.



XVII. Of the Righteous and the Wicked
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in his esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death.



XVIII. Of the World to Come
We believe that the end of the world is approaching; that at the Last Day Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness.