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The Three Forms of Unity
Three Forms of Unity
is a collective name for the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, and the Heidelberg Catechism, which reflect the doctrinal concerns of continental Calvinism
Calvinism
and are accepted as official statements of doctrine by many of the Reformed churches. History[edit]

The Synod held at Dort

From 1618 to 1619 the Dutch government, on behalf of the Dutch Reformed Church, called and convened the Synod of Dort. Dutch delegates, along with twenty-seven Reformed representatives from eight other countries, met at this Synod of Dort, where they collectively summarized their views in what was called the "Canons of Dort".[1] This same Synod then added these Canons to two other documents, both of which were in common use by the Dutch Church at the time: the Heidelberg Catechism
Heidelberg Catechism
(1563) and the Belgic Confession
Belgic Confession
(1561).[1] In so doing, the Synod sought

to formalize their understanding of the biblical teachings on the Trinity, the incarnation, predestination, justification, and the church; to allow members to gather together in unity around fundamental, shared beliefs; and to relegate certain non-essential ideas (political positions, educational platforms, etc.) to a lower status to prevent the churches from needlessly splitting.

The forms also provide a basis upon which ecumenical efforts can proceed based on whether a body accepts the essentials laid out in these forms. The different documents each serve different purposes.

The Catechism is written in a question-and-answer format to help explain biblical teaching to children and those new to the faith. The Confession explains various biblical teachings. The Canons are a series of technical responses to specific theological controversies raised by the Dutch Remonstrants
Remonstrants
(see History of the Calvinist-Arminian debate).

Calvinism
Calvinism
portal

External links[edit]

Text and description of the Three Forms from Philip Schaff's Creeds of the Evangelical Protestant Churches at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library:

Belgic Confession
Belgic Confession
(in the original French with a translation into English) Heidelberg Catechism
Heidelberg Catechism
(in the original German with a translation into English) Canons of Dort
Canons of Dort
(in the original Latin with a translation into English)

Audio Recordings of the Three Forms of Unity
Three Forms of Unity
in MP3 format

Footnotes[edit]

^ a b FRC: Canons of Dort
Canons of Dort
– Historical Background

v t e

Reformed confessions of faith

Continental Reformed

Tetrapolitan Confession Helvetic Confessions Consensus Tigurinus French Confession of Faith Three Forms of Unity

Heidelberg Catechism Belgic Confession Canons of Dort

Harmony of the Confessions of Faith Helvetic Consensus Conclusions of Utrecht Barmen Declaration Belhar Confession

British and American

Presbyterian

Scots Confession Westminster Standards

Westminster Confession of Faith Westminster Shorter Catechism Westminster Larger Catechism

Confession of 1967 Book of Confessions

Anglican

Thirty-nine Articles Lambeth Articles

Baptist

1644 Baptist Confession of Faith Keach's Catechism 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith New Hampshire Confession of Faith Baptist Affirmation of Faith 1966

Congregationalist

Cambridge Platform Savoy Declaration Saybrook Platform

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