Creeds and Confessions

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Rippon, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. Rippon

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    by James Benjamin Green

    A creed , a system of doctrine , is a necessity . It is a necessity of thought . It is a necessity of character . It is a necessity of instruction . It is a necessity of fellowship and co-operation . A cogent system of doctrine is an intellectual and educational necessity . If the Church would edify her people , unify and mobilize them , she must educate them after a thorough manner in her creed . Some are not of this way of thinking , they decry creeds ; they demand a creedless Christianity , a religion without theology . This demand had been called pious nonsense . Leave off the pious -- call it simply nonsense . To say of a man that he has no creed is tantamount to saying that he has no intelligence and no character .
     
  2. Helen

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    That's funny. The Bible says simply to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. I guess the writers had no intelligence and no character according to Mr. Green...
     
  3. Rippon

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    I think you like me Helen . You follow me around like a puppy .
     
  4. Humblesmith

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    I agree in essence with the statement in the OP. A good example is the Churches of Christ, who are quick to tell you that they have no written statments of what they believe, they just go by the bible. In the name of unity, they've had more splits, divisions, and arguments than just about any other group.

    Almost every one that I've seen decrying creeds do it because they're defending some sort of false teaching. I will say this: anyone who denies Nicea and Chalcedon is a heretic.
     
  5. Helen

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    I understand that the creeds were formulated to eliminate heretical beliefs. However they are not needed for salvation. I think that is the distinction I was thinking about.

    Rippon, I am not following you around. I am, however, checking the theology posts for nonsense. That's probably why you see a lot of me.
     
  6. Ransom

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    However they are not needed for salvation.

    Equally to the point, they make lousy Mother's Day gifts.
     
  7. genesis12

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    One of the oddities I grew up with as a Southern Baptist was the idea that we have no creed and each interprets scripture for himself. That always sounded like "You can't pin us down" to me. I was floored when, as a young man, I asked my Pastor what a particular verse of scripture meant, only to hear him respond with (grinning broadly) "What does it mean to you?" Therefore, over the years, I developed "What I Believe" on my own. There are only a few numbered items, centering around salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Oddly enough, I find the same elements in scripture.
     
  8. Rippon

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    Neither Green , nor I , nor any reasonable person said creeds were necessary for salvation Helen . I do not know where you get your odd notions .

    Most folks who say they don't believe in creeds -- that they just follow the Bible -- have lots of doctrinal error in their creedless creeds . It is important to codify your beliefs . For instance , I hold to the Baptist Confession of 1689 for the most part . It is substantially excellent . And it was taken from the Savoy which was a revision of the Westminster Confession of Faith . All confessions have defects because they are only human documents . But some are more faithful to Scripture . None should be thought of as cast in stone . They are all subordinate to Scripture itself . However , it is good to have a written account of one's beliefs in summary form .

    If posting rational items such as Green's quote causes some to go off the deep-end ...
     
  9. Calvibaptist

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    It is a shame that we don't know our own history isn't it? I am not a SBC, but have been doing a lot of research in that direction. The SBC currently has a creed called the Baptist Faith and Message. The SBC was founded in Augusta, GA with churches who held to the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, an American adaptation of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, which was the Baptist version of the (gasp!) Westminster Confession of Faith. The founders of the SBC all held to a document that is still around called "The Abstract of Principles."
     
  10. genesis12

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    Bear in mind that each SB church is independent. There is no hierarchy at all. Each local church is to grow independently of any authority other than the Bible. We have "Messengers" to Southern Baptist conventions, but the decisions made there are not binding upon any state association or local congregation. Some of the SB churches decline to subscribe to any creed, preferring to trust scripture alone to provide all that we could ever hope for in sound doctrine.
     
  11. Rippon

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    Yes , but what do you believe the Bible teaches in particular ? When it comes to particulars what is wrong about stating your beliefs in propositional form ? Every one has a creed . It may not be written down , which is to be preferred -- but you all have a creed . It would be a good thing to set about doing . Other believers and nonbelievers could know for sure where you are coming from .

    It is too easy to say " I just believe the Bible from cover -to-cover " . I hope all Christians believe that . But one has to be definite some time and get beyond generalities .
     
  12. Acumenical

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    Baptists are fiercely independent, which is usually a good thing but sometimes equates to an unteachable attitude. The Bible should of course be central to our studies, but creeds and confessions can be useful as simplified but accurate summaries of what we believe. God gave some Christians the gift of teaching partly to do that very thing: research Scripture and present it to others in an easy to understand form. Creeds are only bad (assuming they are theologically correct) if they are given authority reserved only for the Bible itself. I doubt that anyone here would want that.
     
  13. npetreley

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    Which Bible are you reading? Mine is packed with doctrine in addition to this basic premise.
     
  14. rsr

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    A few years ago I was adamant against creeds and confessions. That was until I became acquainted with them and their place in history.

    I do not slavishly follow them, but I find them a helpful touchstone and source of wisdom. The believers who have gone before us have thought deeply about the Christian faith and life and have set out their beliefs with the Bible as their guide. It is wise to consider what they have said. Sometimes we think we are the only generation (or individual) to have finally found the truth. If anything is clear from the New Testament, Christianity is not an individual religion; it must be shared.

    I too believe that one should believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. But there are practical precepts that must follow from that belief. And the New Testament sets out precepts that should be obeyed.

    An example: I am a putative Southern Baptist (I was baptized in a Southern Baptist church and have always been a member of Southern Baptist churches) but consider myself a recovering Southern Baptist.

    I do not hold to the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message and feel more comfortable with the 1963 confession, which is a revision of the 1925 confession, which is based upon the 1833 New Hampshire Confession, which is a (moderate or drastic) modification of the 1742 Philadelphia Confession, which is an enlargement upon the 1689 London Baptist Confession, which built upon the contemporaneous 1646 Westminster Confession and the London Baptist Confession.
     
  15. DeclareHim

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    Our Church subscribes to the 1689 Baptist Confession. And then to a couple of the early creeds. We do not hold extremely fast to them but we do reconize them as valid doctrinal statements.
     
  16. Rippon

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    Spurgeon's church used the 1689 Confession . Here is what he said about it .

    The Benefit Of a Confession Of Faith

    This little volume is not issued as an authoritative rule , or code of faith , whereby you are to be fettered , but as an assistance to you in controversy , a confirmation in faith , and a means of edification in righteousness . Here the younger members of our church will have a body of divinity in small compass , and by means of Scriptural proofs , will be ready to give an account for the hope that is in them . Be not ashamed of your faith ; remember it is the ancient gospel of martyrs , confessors , reformers and saints . Above all , it is " the truth of God " , against which the gates of Hell cannot prevail .

    Let your lives adorn your faith , let your example adorn your creed . Above all live in Christ Jesus , and walk in Him , giving credence to no teaching but that which is manifestly approved of Him , and owned by the Holy Spirit . Cleave fast to the Word of God which is here mapped out for you .
     
  17. OldRegular

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    I wrote months ago on this Forum that Baptists need to return to the principles of the 1689 London Baptist Confession.

    When Baptists departed from the faith someone came up with the trite phrase "no creed but the Bible" and they have been on the downgrade ever since. Hopefully Southern Baptists will wake up before it is too late and embrace once again the principles of the 1689 Confession
     

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