Confessions and creeds

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Herald, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. Herald

    Herald
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    What are the pros and cons on some of the great creeds and confessions of the faith (Nicene, Apostles, Athanasian, 1689 LBC, 2000 BF&M et al.)? I understand there will be an objection to the 1689 LBC because it is a Reformed confession, but it is a historical Baptist document. If crews and confessions rightly articulate biblical doctrine can they not be useful secondary documents, condensing and emphasizing what Scripture teaches on certain subjects?
     
  2. Tom Butler

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    Of course, they can. You are exactly right, they are condensed summaries of what we believe. We can pick the one that is closest to our doctrine and practice. The Southern Baptist Conventions Baptist Faith and Message is broad enough that both Reformed and non-Reformed folks can embrace it.

    And if it represents your church's position, there's nothing wrong with making sure a prospective pastor subscribes to it before your church calls him.

    Outside of a church setting, I am chairman of the trustees at Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, Kentucky, a Southern Baptist school. We require all faculty, staff and administration (as well as all trustees) to either subscribe to the BF&M, or if they are not Baptist, agree not to teach contrary to it.

    This does not mean a church makes the scriptures secondary to the confession of faith. To the contrary, a sound church will give priority to the scriptures. The confession of faith is merely our way of expressing what we believe the scriptures teach. And it tells others what we believe as well.
     
  3. Jerome

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    Is it required for chapel speakers, or how about commencement speakers?
     
  4. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Broad enough...lol... with all respect to you Tom & the SBC, please note that many Reformed outside the SBC would challenge that..... they would substitute the "Broad Enough" comment to read "Vague Enough"

    Have you really delved into the study of 1689 vs BF&M?
     
  5. 12strings

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    And thus we are confronted with the question of how specific a confession must be. And the answer is "As Specific as the writers want to make it."

    The Nicene Creed had not section on Predestination, nor of specific Eschatology, nor gifts of the spirit. Those came into being later as specific conflicts arose. Does this mean the formers of the Nicene creed are to chastised for their "vagueness"?

    If a church, or association of churches wants to unite around the 2nd London Baptist Confession, then so be it.

    If a church, or association wants to allow members and member churches which disagree on issues of predestination and/or eschatology, then so be it. I for one am glad the SBC does not specify which view of the millennium its members and churches must hold to, and I feel the same way about the Election issue.
     
  6. 12strings

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    They, or something like them, are absolutely necessary, and are in fact used by nearly every church or organization. I have found that those opposing them usually, when pressed, will say it is when they creeds become too specific or exclusive that they become a problem...those same people will often say we SHOULD unite around the Basics of the faith (which may or may not be defined).

    So for example, someone who is against creeds or confessions, would probably not want to hire a pastor for their church who denies that Jesus Died on the cross...they are in fact subjecting that pastor to the requirement of adhering to a "creed"...and rightly so.
     
  7. Herald

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    I wasn't attempting to create a new DoG vs FW debate. I simply wanted to get feedback on the use of creeds and confessions. One purpose they serve is to force serious study before subscribing to one(s). When you have to fly your colors up the mast you should take it seriously.
     
    #7 Herald, Dec 11, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2012
  8. Tom Butler

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    No litmus test for them.
     
    #8 Tom Butler, Dec 11, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2012
  9. Earth Wind and Fire

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    I for one am glad that the SBC isnt even a presence in my area! If it had been, then I would have joined up right quick & never personally delved deep into areas of scripture that I needed to ....the SBC would have certainly been a sure fire path of least resistance to my attaining a deep knowledge of God. Thankfully I was challenged to do self study & when I was confused & conflicted, I turned to an in-depth Confession of Faith to lend context to where I was questioning. For without it, I would have just stayed in the dark. So for a character like me, I want to know particulars & the 1689 gave me that. I was also encouraged by the thought that my ancestors faced similar faith questions & were bolstered by the Confessions.
     
  10. Tom Butler

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    Point taken. Here's what the BF&M says about election:

    V. God's Purpose of Grace
    'Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.'


    That's it. That's the only reference to election. So, you're right. Broad is not exactly the right word. But the paragraph is general enough that I could live with it.
     
  11. Mexdeaf

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    They are helpful depending on the motives of the person seeking out the info in them. None are perfect.
     
  12. go2church

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    There will always be the question of how much to but in a statement of faith. Of course some are very specific, describing even the version of the Bible that must be used.

    Baptists have for the most part historically held to confessions of faith, "this is what we do believe". Other church groups have typically gone more toward the creed route "this is what you must believe". Interestingly, the SBC, a large Baptist group, has moved from confessional practice to creedal practice with the latest version of the BF&M.

    Both sides have pros and cons - I choose to operate with confessions of faith. I want as broad a faith base as can be biblically justified.
     
  13. Herald

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    My church subscribes to the 1689 LBC. It is our doctrinal statement. We are right up front with the fact that the 1689 LBC is not scripture, but that it most accurately describes what scripture teaches on the major doctrines and practices of the church. Less is not more when it comes to articulating belief. We have had people both join and not join our church because of this. Those that did join did so because of their agreement with our beliefs. Those who did not because of their disagreement. Most of those who moved on did so while expressing thanks for our transparency.
     
  14. SolaSaint

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    Interesting topic. I have a question: Once your church accepts someone as a member either by letter or Baptism, do you require them to agree to whatever Creed or Confession you use prior to joining the church. Also do you have a class that teaches what your church believes and what Creed or Confession you use to be taught to all new members?
     
  15. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Yes & Ive noted that the apostate churches I have visited like the PCUSA, United Methodist, Roman Catholic & Lutheran as well as some independent non denominational's do like wise! Thanks for bringing that to my attention!!!

    I like you prefer confessions of faith. Good man :thumbsup:
     
  16. Herald

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    Rick, a person can join our church without agreeing in lock step with our doctrinal statement. However, they must agree not to advocate contrary positions. Our new members class covers our doctrinal statement in detail. No one can teach at our church, or serve as an officer, without full subscription to the doctrinal statement.
     
  17. go2church

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    Agreement comes before joining. A class though is a good idea.
     
  18. Herald

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    The reason we don't require full agreement with our doctrinal statement for membership is because of our belief that such requirement exceeds the test of scripture for establishing fellowship. (membership).
     
  19. SolaSaint

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    I have joined many SBC churches where nothing was asked of us about our beliefs, but I'm sure our transfer by letter covers that. But still no class on the churches beliefs or that we agree with their by-laws, covenant or statements of faith or even the BF&M. I wonder how many join a SBC church these days who don't line up with sound doctrinal beliefs? It doesn't seem to be important any more.
     
  20. saturneptune

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    Indoctrinations, communicant's classes, waiting periods, signing agreements before membership and like activities are not Scriptural. Receiving members in the Book of Acts was the same day. If one likes creeds and confessions of man made origin, there are Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Episcopal churches down the street.
     

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