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I. RECENT CONFESSIONAL DECLARATIONS.

During the last fifty years a strong impulse has been manifested within parts of Protestant Christendom to formulate new creeds or so to modify the creeds of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as to give adequate recognition to the love and fatherhood of God and the duty to carry on Christian missions, to restate such doctrines as the divine predestination, to properly emphasize the duties of human brotherhood, and also to erase polemic statements directed against Christian bodies. The impulse has been the product of modern studies of the New Testament and a reconsideration of the biblical system of doctrine, of historic research, and above all of an irenic spirit which has to a large extent displaced the habit of controversy and polemics among Christians on the matters that have divided them. The Eastern Orthodox Churches are pledged to a strict adherence to the Nicene Creed and ecclesiastical tradition as fixed by the seven councils which they accept as œcumenical: the Roman Church to the primitive creeds, tradition, and also the papal declarations so far as they bear on faith and morals. On the other hand, it is quite consistent with Protestant principles and the XXXIX Articles, the Westminster Confession, XXXI, 4, and other formulas of the sixteenth century for Protestants to modify and revise their creeds, if found necessary in the interest of truth and Christian fellowship and co-operation in the effort to spread the Gospel.

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