Scots Confession

The Scots Confession was prepared in four days in August 1560 and submitted to the Scottish Parliament which ratified it with very little opposition. The individuals responsible for its preparation were John Winram, subprior of St. Andrews; John Spottiswoode, later superintendent of Lothian; John Willock, later superintendent of Glasgow and the West; John Douglas, rector of St. Andrews; John Row, minister of Perth; and John Knox,* minister of St. Giles's, Edinburgh-the “six Johns.” The dominant figure in the preparation was undoubtedly Knox, who had already been involved in the formulation of a number of confessions on the Continent-in Frankfurt, in Geneva, and perhaps also in France.

The confession's theology is Calvinistic, although the document itself is by no means merely a copy of a statement by Calvin or some other continental leader. It would seem that Knox and his collaborators took into account the thinking and statements of a number of Reformers. The “marks of the church” were taken over from Valerian Poullain's Liturgia Sacra used in the French church in Frankfurt, while some of the other elements show clearly the influence of the French Confession prepared and adopted at the First National Synod of the Reformed Church in Paris in 1559. Although adopted by Parliament in 1560, Queen Mary, still in France, refused to ratify the decision, with the result that it did not become the official confession until 1567, when Parliament reenacted it after her deposition. It remained the confession of the Scottish Reformed Church until the adoption of the Westminster Confession* of Faith in 1647.