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Transcript of Belgic Confession
Context & Structure
Can/should religion be kept out of politics?
Suffering for God
Challenges of monotheism
Alternatives to not believing in one God
Art.VIII-XI: The Trinity
Precursor to the Belgic Confession
How God is Known
Do non-Christians know God?
What does it mean to "know " God?
1470s - Wessel Gansvoort of Groveningen spoke out against masses, prayers for the dead, the sale of indulgences, etc.
1517 - Martin Luther's Wittenberg theses
1530 - Erasmus of Rotterdam wrote against transubstantiation
1959 - Calvin's French or Gallic Confession of Faith
Born in the fires of political and religious oppression, the Belgic Confession became the theological rallying point of the Reformed people in their heroic struggle against the Spanish Inquisition (Plantinga, A Place to Stand, 37).
Guido de Bres (1522-1567)
Preacher,Reformed Churches of the Netherlands
Student of John Calvin and Theodore Beza
1561: De Bres prepared the Belgic Confession
1562: The BC was sent to King Philip II
1566: Text of the BC was revised at Antwerp Synod
1567: De Bres was martyred at Valenciennes
1618-19: Text revised and adopted at Synod of Dort
The readiness of de Bres to establish the sanity and balance of Reformed principles is largely due to his fear of being tared with the same brush applied to Anabaptists (Plantinga, A Place to Stand, 38)
The Belgic Confession is a highly Calvinistic document that breathes the spirit of courage in persecution. It must be understood in its context of persecution in the Netherlands
(Plantinga, A Place to Stand, 39)
Philip II of Spain (1527-1598)
* Fiercely loyal Roman Catholic
* King of England and Ireland (1554-1558)
* King of Spain (1556-1598)
* King of Portugal and the Algarves (1581-1598)
Philip was driven by much more than his religious preferences ... He was trying to run an empire. He was trying to control Spain, the Netherlands, and some sizable portions of Italy. Crucial to this control, so he understandably thought, was the squashing of that religious dissent that prevented political unity
(Plantinga, A Place to Stand, 36)
The [Belgic] Confession is recognized as one of the best official summaries of Reformed doctrine (Our Faith, 25)
If God is not - if believers are all men most to be pitied, then all human activity, all the hopes and fears of all the years must be taken up in a Fatherless world. So far as God is concerned, we are then alone in the universe and must pass through the days of our years accordingly (Plantinga, A Place to Stand, 40-1)
Attributes of God
What comfort do you derive from the attributes of God?
Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.
Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.
(Walter Smith, 1876)
Explain Plantinga's categorization of the attributes of God in Article 1? Why are these categories important?
Art. 1-11 God and Revelation
Art. 12-17: Creation
Art. 18-21: Christ
Art. 22-26: Doc. of Salvation
Art. 27-36: Church
Art. 37: Last things
How we know God:
First, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe ...
Second, God makes himself known to us more clearly by his holy and divine Word ...
Regarding creation, the BC states: "... All these things are enough to convict humans and to leave them without excuse." Why then do we need God's "holy and divine Word"?
Compare God's providence through creation to God's providence by the Word?
(see Plantinga, A Place to Stand, 46, 52)
For Calvin and de Bres, the trouble we have in reading the book of nature is helped by another book! Book I is no longer any use to us because of our sinful blindness. What we need is Book II ... (Plantinga, A Place to Stand, 47)
Article V: Authority of Scripture
How is Scripture authoritative?
How would you explain the doctrine of the Trinity to an unbeliever?
How would you explain the Trinity to a teens Sunday School class?