Incredible Resource

Dennison has done it again. His second volume (which has been published for several months now) of confessional materials of the 16th and 17th centuries is just as helpful and full of good things as volume 1 was. Of the major, familiar confessions included in this volume we find the French Confession, the Scottish Confession, the Belgic Confession, the Thirty-Nine Articles, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Second Helvetic Confession. The years covered in this volume are 1552-1566. Only fifteen years, and yet a volume of over 900 pages! Clearly, Reformed people like to confess their faith!

There are some really eye-popping additions of confessions most of us have never heard of before. The real surprise is the Hungarian Confessio Catholica, not because the Reformed faith made its way into Hungary, but rather because of its length: 200 pages! I would be surprised if there were any other confessions as large as this in existence in the Reformed world. It winds up being practically a churchly systematic theology. It also amazed me to know just how strong the Hungarian Reformed witness was. The Confession is not the only Hungarian Reformed material included in this volume. The last three documents are the synods of Gönc, Torda, and Gyulafahérvár and Marosvásárhely (try pronouncing them: I dare you…still waiting).

But what never ceases to amaze me is how far the Reformed faith traveled at the time. The Guanabara Confession is included in this volume. Guanabara Bay is the site of modern Rio de Janeiro! There was also a Reformed presence among the Spanish emigres in London. They were in Poland and Rumania. These volumes are now indispensable for the definition of the Reformed faith in the time of the Reformation.

One last parting shot: the FV will receive absolutely no help from these materials. It is clear that the FV is outside the bounds even of the broader confessional Reformed tradition of the 16-17th centuries. If you won’t take my word for it, though, then go buy the book yourself and read it without imposing your own categories on the text, or searching for something that kinda sorta sounds like what you believe. For that, of course, would be anachronistic.