The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as most of you know, has two parts, the part 2 is the Book of Order, where we deal with government, worship, and discipline. But the part one is the Book of Confessions, the eleven doctrinal statements that convey what the church believes. Most of those documents are accepted by Christian churches around the world. Some of those faith statements appeared in the life of the church around 180 A.D.
The three most recent confessions in our book, The Theological Declaration of Barmen, The Confession of 1967, and A Brief Statement of Faith are silent about the birth of Christ. All the others are very clear in what we believe about Jesus’ birth.
Here is what we confess about the birth of Christ:
The Nicene Creed
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human.
The Apostles’ Creed
I BELIEVE in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,
The Scots Confession
When the fullness of time came God sent his Son, his eternal wisdom, the substance of his own glory, into this world, who took the nature of humanity from the substance of a woman, a virgin, by means of the Holy Ghost. And so was born the “just seed of David,” the “Angel of the great counsel of God,” the very Messiah promised, whom we confess and acknowledge to be Emmanuel, true God and true man, two perfect natures united and joined in one person.
The Heidelberg Catechism
Q. 35. What is the meaning of: “Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary”?
A. That the eternal Son of God, who is and remains true and eternal God, took upon himself our true manhood from the flesh and blood of the Virgin Mary through the action of the Holy Spirit, so that he might also be the true seed of David, like his fellow men in all things, except for sin.
The Second Helvetic Confession
CHRIST IS TRUE MAN, HAVING REAL FLESH.We also believe and teach that the eternal Son of the eternal God was made the Son of man, from the seed of Abraham and David, not from the coitus of a man, as the Ebionites said, but was most chastely conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the ever virgin Mary, as the evangelical history carefully explains to us (Matt., ch. 1). And Paul says: “He took not on him the nature of angels, but of the seed of Abraham.” Also the apostle John says that whoever does not believe that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is not of God. Therefore, the flesh of Christ was neither imaginary nor brought from heaven, as Valentinus and Marcion wrongly imagined.
The Westminster Confession of Faith
2. The Son of God, the second Person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance, and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man’s nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof; yet without sin: being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.
The Shorter Catechism
Q. 22. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.
The Larger Catechism
Q. 37. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ, the Son of God, became man by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance, and born of her, yet without sin.
Have a blessed week,