Saturday, January 01, 2011

2011 - 1561 = 450 years of the Belgic Confession

This year is the 450th anniversary of the writing of the Belgic Confession of Faith (unless my math is wrong, which is always a possibility). So, my plan for this blog this year is to mostly discuss the Belgic Confession (I did say mostly so there will be some other stuff like movie reviews and what nots).

For those not familiar with the Belgic Confession, it was written in 1561 by Guy De Bres sometimes called Guido De Bray. Guido was from modern day Belgium, but at that time was part of Spain and under the control of Charles V. As a Reformed believer, he was an outlaw and he fled to England for a time. There he attended John A Lasco's Stranger's Church in London, but would flee persecution there under Queen Mary. This eventually brought him to Geneva, where he would learn under Calvin. De Bres would re-enter the Low Countries to preach the gospel in about 1559. He wrote the Belgic Confession as an apology for the Reformed Faith. It was primarily his work, but seems to have probably at least gotten feed back by several other area pastors. The Confession would be officially adopted by the church in the Low Countries later, but De Bres would be caught and die a martyrs death under the hand of the Spanish Inquisition.

Today the Belgic Confession might be the most subscribed to Reformed document, and is easily the best known Continental Confession. Oddly enough that was not true in its day. Its modern popularity is in large part because of the devastation of the 30 Years' War. Also the Dutch were a more successful group than the Swiss including at staying orthodox. In its day the Second Helvetic Confession was more widely used, but today that document is almost non-existent in churches. It is the Belgic that rules the day.

The guiding point for my first few looks at the Belgic is the point that really interests me right now. The Belgic Confession is not the Gallic Confession written by Calvin in 1559. Calvin appears to actually have been against writing a new confession for the Low Countries. The Belgic clearly follows the outline of the Gallic Confession, but there are real differences, and those are interesting.

So hope on board for my year long look and celebration of the Belgic Confession of Faith.