We also have a set of human documents that serve to help us in our interpretation of Scripture. Of the many summaries of Christian doctrine that have been written, our churches have chosen to adopt three creeds and three confessions.
The ecumenical creeds come to us from the early church. They are the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed. The confessions, known as the Three Forms of Unity, have come to us from the Reformation of the sixteenth century. They are the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dort.
We consider these creeds and confessions to be faithful summaries of the Word of God. Since they are human documents, however, they do not possess the same authority that Scripture possesses. Only the Word of God possesses divine authority. The creeds and confessions possess human authority and are always subject to and are tested by the standard of the Word of God.