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Featured Creeds vs. Bible

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, Feb 21, 2020.

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  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    A Caution Concerning Creeds and Confessions

    When I first entered my Reformed stage (what Sproul Jr. referred to as the "cage" stage!) I was quite interested with all things Reformed, including studying out the various Confessions, especially the Westminster Confession of Faith.

    Although I still believe in the five Sola's I hesitate to call myself Reformed or Calvinist because of the additional baggage of those two terms.

    But I noticed a tendency. Confessions tend to, over time, impose an interpretive and domineering grid over the Word of God. It is very subtle but it happens. It ends up, all too often, that the Confessions become our teachers and not the Bible. And Bible verses become footnotes to the Creeds.

    Christ told us:' "A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher." Luke 6:40

    Now, if we admit that confessions and creeds are not as perfect as the Bible, and need to be corrected (as in the "Jesus went to Hell" mistake) then this shows that our teacher (Creeds and Confessions) are not going to get us where we want to be. When we are fully trained we will be like our teacher - walking Creeds and Confessions.

    By contrast we have the inspired observation of David:

    "Oh how I love your law!
    It is my meditation all the day.
    Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
    for it is ever with me.
    I have more understanding than all my teachers,
    for your testimonies are my meditation.
    I understand more than the aged,
    for I keep your precepts."
    Psalm 119:97 - 100

    It is much better to direct all of our efforts, study, and devotion to the perfect Word of God. This way we have a much brighter prospect of being like our blessed Teacher.
     
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  2. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Only if a person lets this happen.

    I subscribe to the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith. I find it to be a faithful commentary on what the Bible teaches about faith and practice. It is not the Bible. It is not inspired. When I reference the 1689 it is in the same way that I would reference an author I agree with it, although it has more gravitas because it is a document that was published by 37 signatories who came together to search the scriptures on the matters that bound them together.

    Like with anything else, individuals and churches can elevate the 1689 beyond its usefulness as a secondary document to scripture. Anything that supplants the supremacy of scripture becomes an idol and we should guard ourselves against that. If used properly, confessions and creeds are helpful tools that show us we are not alone in what we believe.
     
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  3. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Me too. I would never join any church that did not have a clear, Biblical confession of faith (not necessarily the 1689).
    The church where I was saved almost exactly 30 years ago had the claim that it 'just followed the Bible.' It still makes the claim, but the Gospel is no longer preached there. It is desperately sad.

    Some churches have even gone so far as to deny the physical return of Christ in glory at the end of the age. A clear confession of faith would have prevented that.
     
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  4. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    I would wager you seldom present Scripture without commentary. This is a superfluous caution.
     
  5. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    A clear reading of the Scriptures would have shown that your "clear confession of faith" is not actually based on the Bible on certain points. Not a single passage of Scripture tells us there will be a physical return of Christ still in our future. Those verses that you think teach that have already happened. We are now in the Kingdom that Christ promised His earthly contemporaries would be inaugurated in that generation. The Jews of that generation - just like the futurists of these last generations - made the mistake of looking for physical signs for a spiritual, invisible kingdom.

    Their mistake was letting their traditions crowd out the Word of God. Your mistake - on this point, at least - is letting creeds eclipse the truth of Gods Word.
     
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  6. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    Well, yes. I think we all do that. But it is not superfluous. There is a general tendency for us - all of us - to drift away from the simplicity of the Word of God. Yes, I do present commentary, but I would always welcome scriptural rebuttal. I don't claim to have all the answers.
     
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  7. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    Denying a future, literal, and physical return of Christ is heresy.
     
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  8. MB

    MB Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion Creeds and confessions are nothing more than Roman Catholic brain washing. I've read all of your post in this thread and I'm convinced you believe like a Jehovah's Witness. They too believe there is no more coming of Christ. That we are in the kingdom. If we are in the Kingdom Christ isn't doing what He promised and that is to rule with a rod of iron
    MB
    MB
     
  9. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    Bible verse please. Especially the physical.
     
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  10. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    You know little about Jehovah's Witnesses, apparently, and less about me if you think I am like them.

    I affirm the deity of Christ and His bodily resurrection, the Trinity, and salvation by His grace through faith.

    I only believe what the Bible teaches. If I am wrong on some point I also welcome Scriptural correction.

    Christ most certainly did what He promised, that He would come back in that generation. That some standing there at the Transfiguration would not die before He came back with power. That He would come soon.

    As far as the rod of iron is concerned - what do you think he meant? A literal visible rod?
     
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  11. Rob_BW

    Rob_BW Well-Known Member
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    While I wouldn't compare you to the JWs, I have to admit they came to mind when reading the OP.

    "Hey, let's ignore everything in historic Christianity and just study the Bible. We'll even call ourselves Bible Students!"

    And off the rails they went...
     
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  12. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    How is wanting to just go by the Bible be off the rails?

    Where was historic Christianity most of the, say, 14 centuries before the Reformation? Their creeds and confessions made scarce notice of justification by faith.

    What writer in those first centuries wrote of that blessed doctrine between the end of the first century and the 14th?

    Can you consider the possibility that traditions that make the Word of God of no effect, as Christ warned in the first century, did not just die out in that first century? That tradition still has potentially the same effect throughout history?

    Augustine seemed to come close to salvation by faith alone but, in all my reading of that great man, I never read a clear and succinct stating of that cardinal doctrine. His seemingly closest sola fide formulations are those that are marred by an insistence of the necessity of baptism.

    It is in the Bible.
    It was rediscovered by, among other people, Martin Luther.

    But it is not in those early writers.
    It is not in the creeds.

    Sometimes going off the rails is a necessary option when the train is going down the wrong track.
     
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  13. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Hello bro - hope you and yours are well.
     
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  14. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    Hello, Hank. Doing fine. Thanks for asking. I hope you are too.
     
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  15. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    still earthbound.

    are you in the US?
     
  16. Rob_BW

    Rob_BW Well-Known Member
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    I didn’t say studying the Bible was off the rails. I said the JWs went off the rails. Do you disagree with that?
     
  17. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    We are in Belgrade. We hope to be in Timisoara, Romania in a couple days.
     
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  18. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    Oh, sorry. I took your comment to mean me.

    The JWs were never on the rails.
     
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  19. MB

    MB Well-Known Member

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    I know enough to know that JW's are deceived about Christ having come and set up His Kingdom just like you.

    This I do not disagree with.
    The same as what scripture says about that rod of Iron.
    Psa_2:9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
    Rev_2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
    Rev_12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
    Rev_19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

    What I understand of these verses is that Jesus will beat those countries with that rod. He will break them to pieces.. If Christ has already came then where is He?
    MB
     
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  20. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    The various creeds and confessions are meant to be good summaries of major bible doctrines, but should never to seen as supplementing and adding to the scriptures themselves!
     
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