Heidelberg Catechism

The Heidelberg Catechism, written in 1563, is a confession of faith that offers comprehensive instruction of Reformed doctrine and theology. Traditionally attributed to theologians Zacharius Ursinus and Caspar Olevianus, the questions and answers are organized in 52 Lord’s Days, originally intended to be taught on each Sunday of the year.

Belgic Confession

The Belgic Confession, also known as the Confession of Faith, is the oldest of the doctrinal standards of the Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church. The confession originated during a time of Protestants being persecuted and thus provides a clear outline of Reformed belief.

Canons of Dordt

"The Decision of the Synod of Dort on the Five Main Points of Doctrine in Dispute in the Netherlands" is popularly known as The Canons of Dort (or the Five Articles Against the Remonstrants). It consists of statements of doctrine adopted by the great Synod of Dort which met in the city of Dordrecht in 1618–1619. Although this was a national Synod of the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands, it had an international character, since it was composed not only of sixty-two Dutch delegates, but also of twenty-seven foreign delegates representing eight countries. 

Belhar Confession

The Belhar Confession has its roots in the struggle against apartheid in southern Africa. It was first drafted in 1982 by the Dutch Reformed Mission Church (DRMC); the DRMC formally adopted the Belhar Confession in 1986. It is now one of the “standards of unity” of the new Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA). Belhar’s theological confrontation of the sin of racism has made possible reconciliation among Reformed churches in southern Africa and has aided the process of reconciliation within the nation of South Africa.

Belhar’s relevance is not confined to southern Africa. It addresses three key issues of concern to all churches: unity of the church and unity among all people, reconciliation within church and society, and God’s justice. As one member of the URCSA has said, “We carry this confession on behalf of all the Reformed churches. We do not think of it as ours alone.” The Belhar Confession was adopted by the RCA’s 2009 General Synod. It was then ratified by two-thirds of the RCA’s classes and incorporated into the Book of Church Order as a doctrinal standard at the 2010 General Synod.