Helvetic Confessions
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Helvetic Confessions

The Helvetic Confessions are two documents expressing the common belief of the Reformed churches of Switzerland.


The First Helvetic Confession (Latin: Confessio Helvetica prior), known also as the Second Confession of Basel, was drawn up in Basel in 1536 by Heinrich Bullinger and Leo Jud of Zürich, Kaspar Megander [de] of Bern, Oswald Myconius and Simon Grynaeus of Basel, Martin Bucer and Wolfgang Capito of Strasbourg, with other representatives from Schaffhausen, St Gall, Mühlhausen and Biel. The first draft was written in Latin and the Zürich delegates objected to its Lutheran phraseology. However, Leo Jud's German translation was accepted by all, and after Myconius and Grynaeus had modified the Latin form, both versions were agreed to and adopted on February 26, 1536.[1]

The Second Helvetic Confession (Latin: Confessio Helvetica posterior) was written by Bullinger in 1562 and revised in 1564 as a private exercise. It came to the notice of Elector Palatine Frederick III, who had it translated into German and published.[1] It was attractive to some Reformed leaders as a corrective to what they saw as the overly-Lutheran statements of the Strasbourg Consensus. An attempt was made in early 1566 to have all the churches of Switzerland sign the Second Helvetic Confession as a common statement of faith.[2] It gained a favorable hold on the Swiss churches, who had found the First Confession too short and too Lutheran.[1] However, "the Basel clergy refused to sign the confession, stating that although they found no fault with it, they preferred to stand by their own Basel Confession of 1534".[3]

It was adopted by the Reformed Church not only throughout Switzerland but in Scotland (1566), Hungary (1567), France (1571), Poland (1578), and after the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Scots Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism is the most generally recognized confession of the Reformed Church.[1] The Second Helvetic Confession was also included in the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.'s Book of Confessions, in 1967, and remains in the Book of Confessions adopted by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

See also


  1. ^ a b c d  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Helvetic Confessions". Encyclopædia Britannica. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 253.
  2. ^ Burnett, Amy Nelson. 1992. "Simon Sulzer and the Consequences of the 1563 Strasbourg Consensus in Switzerland" in Archive for Reformation History 83: 154-179, p. 178
  3. ^ Burnett, Amy Nelson. 1992. "Simon Sulzer and the Consequences of the 1563 Strasbourg Consensus in Switzerland" in Archive for Reformation History 83: 154-179, p. 178


  • Louis Thomas, La Confession helvétique (Geneva, 1853);
  • Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, i. 390-420, iii. 234-306;
  • Julius Müller, Die Bekenntnisschriften der reformierten Kirche (Leipzig, 1903).

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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