Gallic Confession

1559. The French Calvinist Confession of Faith. Its history begins with the statement of faith sent by the Reformed churches of France to Calvin in 1557 during a period of persecution. Working from this, and probably with the help of Beza and Pierre Viret, Calvin wrote a confession for them. This took the form of thirty-five articles. When persecution subsided, twenty delegates representing seventy-two churches met secretly in Paris from 23 to 27 May 1559. With François de Morel as moderator, the brethren produced a Constitution of Ecclesiastical Discipline and a Confession of Faith. Calvin's thirty-five articles were all used in the confession, apart from the first two which were expanded into six. Thus the Gallic Confession had forty articles.

Scholars point out that the revisions of the delegates in the first part caused the introduction of natural theology into Reformed creedal statements. Article II speaks of God revealing Himself firstly in creation and only secondly through His Word. In 1560 the Gallic Confession was presented to Francis II with a preface requesting that persecution should cease. The confession was confirmed at the seventh national synod of the French churches at La Rochelle in 1571, and recognized by German synods at Wesel in 1568 and Emden in 1571. The original draft of Calvin's articles is in the Genevan Archives; for the confession, see P. Schaff, Creeds of Christendom (4th ed., 1905), vol. I; and A. Cochrane Reformed Confessions of the Sixteenth Century (1966).