Second Helvetic Confession

Written in 1566 by Heinrich Bullinger in Switzerland as a codicil to his will after surviving the Black Plague. It is in response to the Anabaptists and tries to reconcile Christian doctrine with the Lutherans. It is influenced by Ulrich Zwingli. Its central doctrines are those of Covenant and Baptism.

Comment: The Second Helvetic Confession rules out some interpretations of scripture but asserts a right of interpretation over against the authority of the Roman Catholic Church.  The confession relies on the whole of scripture to interpret particular passages in the Christian Bible.  

5.010 - "The apostle Peter has said that the Holy Scriptures are not of private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20), and thus we do not allow all possible interpretations.  Nor consequently do we acknowledge at the true or genuine interpretation of the Scriptures what is called the conception of the Roman Church, that is, what the defenders of the Roman Church plainly maintain should be thrust upon all for acceptance.  But we hold that interpretation of the Scripture to be orthodox and genuine which is gleaned from the Scriptures themselves (from the nature of the language in which they were written, likewise according to the circumstances in which they were set down, and expounded in the light of like and unlike passages and of many and clearer passages) and which agrees with the rule of faith and life, and contributes much to the glory of God and man's salvation.

5.011 - "Wherefore we do not despise the interpretations of the holy Greek and Latin fathers, nor reject their disputations and treatises concerning sacred matters as far as they agree with the Scriptures; but we modestly dissent from them when they are found to set down things differing from, or altogether contrary to, the Scriptures.  Neither do we think that we do them any wrong in this matter; seeing that they all, with one consent, will not have their writings equated with the canonical Scriptures, but command us to prove how far they agree or disagree with them, and to accept what is in agreement and to reject what is in disagreement."

To read all of the Second Helvetic Confession. © Robert Traer 2016