Synopsis of the Three Forms of Unity: Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, Canons of Dort

Belgic Confession (1561), Heidelberg Catechism (1563) & the Canons of Dort (1619)


This harmony differs from many of the others in that it begins with the Confession which recognizes its natural pedagogical and chronological priority over the Catechism and the Canons. Confession is the product of the work of the departments of theology (exegesis, dogmatics, historical & practical theology). In turn, catechesis is the product of confession.

The Canons are a clarification of the Reformed soteriology inherent to the Catechism and the Confession. The canons however, have a special place in that they address only two loci of theology and are not therefore a comprehensive confession and thus they are correlated to the two earlier documents which the Synod ratified and adopted.

Topic Belgic Articles Heidelberg Questions Canons of Dort
God 1 25, 53
General Revelation 2
Special Revelation 3-7 19, 21
Trinity 8-11
Creation & Providence 12-3 1, 26-8
Sin 14-5 2-11 III/IV & RE
Election 16
Christology 17-9 14-8, 29-52
Soteriology 20-3 2, 12-3, 20-4, 56, 60-4 I, II, III/IV, V & RE
Sanctification 24-6 86-129
Ecclesiology 27-32 54-5
Sacraments 33-5 65-85
Magistracy 36 104
Eschatology 37 57-9, 114

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