On June 20, 1648, the English parliament approved the Westminster Confession, a statement of Christian faith in the tradition of Calvinist, or “Reformed,” Protestantism. The document’s thirty-three chapters were meant to cover all the major issues of Christian theology as they existed in the mid-seventeenth century. The Westminster Confession was created by a group of ministers and theological experts from England and Scotland, mostly Presbyterian in faith, during the English Civil War (1642–1651). The group had originally been summoned by the English parliament to reform the Church of England.
Along with the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms that summarize its doctrines, the Westminster Confession is the most influential statement of faith in the English-speaking Calvinist tradition and remains the theological foundation of most Presbyterian churches as well as strongly influencing churches outside that tradition, including Congregationalist and Baptist bodies.
Read our complete coverage of the Westminster Confession, including in-depth analysis by the historian William E. Burns of George Washington University.