Our beliefs are based first and foremost on the Bible, the true word of God without error and inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is the ultimate authority for faith and life. (2 Timothy 3:16)
We subscribe to the following doctrinal standards:
The Belgic Confession
The Heidelberg Catechism
The Canons of Dort
In Article IX of our confession of Faith three writings, dating from the first centuries of the Christian Church, are named as creeds which "we do willingly receive." They are: the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. The adoption of this Confession of Faith by the Synods of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands, held in the last part of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth, constituted therefore at the same time an implicit approval of the three Creeds mentioned above. They are called Ecumenical (general, universal) because they have been approved and accepted by nearly all the churches of Christendom.
Our position is confessional. We hold to the Three Forms of Unity: the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort. We see them as Forms of Unity because we believe that unity among Christians and churches first of all resides in the truth. Therefore we are spiritually united with many churches outside our federation in two senses. First, with all who presently hold these confessions with integrity. Second, with the churches of Christ in history who have so confessed. We wish then to define “reformed” in terms of the churches’ confessions in history, and not in terms of particular men or movements past or present.
We wish to preserve an essential distinction between Scripture and confessions. The Bible is God’s Word, infallible, inerrant. The confessions are man’s word—the churches’ word—fallible, subject to error. The Bible comes from God to us, it is first. Confessions are from us to God, are second, and are generated by that Word through the Spirit.
We strongly assert the importance of creeds and confessions for various reasons. The first is that God demands it of His people. He has spoken to them and He demands an answer. This is the universal language of Scripture. And since He speaks in His written Word to a body, His church, we believe He expects a written and unified response.
We live in an anti-confessional age. Opposition to confessions is for various reasons, some of which are understandable, but not excusable. To say confessions should be thrown out simply because many churches are hypocrites who neither preach nor live what they purport to confess is unwarranted. Further, when creeds are abandoned as though the church had to start over, we deny the work of the Holy Spirit for the last 2000 years.
We try to give our confessions a meaningful place by:
- Requiring all office-bearers to sign a statement of subscription to these Confessions.
- Measuring the preaching by its faithfulness to the Confessions.
- Requiring preachers to follow the Heidelberg Catechism as a guide to preaching once each Lord’s Day.
- Teaching the Confessions to our children.
- Requiring all who confess their faith to do so in terms of the Confessions.
- Enjoying unity of faith with all churches outside our Federation who hold these confessions with integrity or who confess the same faith in other Reformation confessions.