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The short history of creeds and confessions below is reproduced from chapter I of the Introduction to A. A. Hodge's The Confession of Faith (1869), a commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith.

A Short History of Creeds and Confessions

A. A. Hodge


The original Synod of our American Presbyterian Church in the year 1729 solemnly adopted the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms as the doctrinal standards of the Church. The record is as follows:

"All the ministers of the Synod now present, which were eighteen in number, except one, that declared himself not prepared, [but who gave his assent at the next meeting], after proposing all the scruples any of them had to make against any articles and expressions in the Confession of Faith, and Larger and Shorter Catechisms of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, have unanimously agreed in the solution of those scruples, and in declaring the said Confession and Catechisms to be the Confession of their Faith, except only some clauses in the twentieth and twenty-third chapters, 'Concerning the Civil Magistrate.'"

Again, in the year 1788, preparatory to the formation of the General Assembly, "the Synod, having fully considered the draught of the Form of Government and Discipline, did, on review of the whole, and hereby do, ratify and adopt the same, as now altered and amended, as the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America, and order the same to be considered and strictly observed as the rule of their proceedings, 'by all the inferior judicatories belonging to the body.

"The Synod, having now revised and corrected the draught of a Directory for Worship, did approve and ratify the same, and do hereby appoint the same Directory, as now amended, to be the Directory for the worship of God in the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. They also took into consideration the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms, and, having made a small amendment of the Larger, did approve and do hereby approve and ratify the said Catechisms, as now agreed on, as the Catechisms of the Presbyterian Church in the United States. And the Synod order that the Directory and Catechisms be printed and bound up in the same volume with the Confession of Faith and the Form of Government and Discipline; that the whole be considered as the standard of our doctrine, government, discipline and worship, agreeably to the resolutions of the Synod it their present session."

What follows is a very brief and general history of the principal Creeds and Confessions of the several branches of the Christian Church. In this statement they are grouped according to the order of time and the churches which adhere to them:

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