Our supreme and final authority for faith and life is God’s Word, the Bible, which is inerrant and infallible. So, why does a church need a written Statement of Faith?

          A clear written Statement of Faith is important for a church for several reasons; I’ll mention four.

          First, a Statement of Faith helps a church to identify the top-order, non-negotiable truths of the Bible. Every truth in the Bible is important, but not every truth in the Bible is of equal importance. The deity of Jesus and the meaning of the number of the beast (Revelation 13:8) are both biblical truths; but, only one of these truths is essential to the Christian faith and indispensable for salvation. A good Statement of Faith helps to distinguish the essential biblical truths from the non-essential, subsidiary truths.

          Second, a Statement of Faith declares in a clear and explicit way the truths that a church believes and teaches and is trying to live by. Paul’s principle of transparency in Second Corinthians 4:2 is a good principle for churches to practice: “by the open statement of the truth, we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” False churches often hide what they believe, and shuck and jive when pressed. A Statement of Faith is an open, public (“all your cards on the table”) declaration of what a church believes.

          Third, a Statement of Faith is necessary for Church Membership and Church Discipline. The Bible calls us to be accountable to one another, not only behaviorally, but also doctrinally (Romans 16:17). A clear Statement of Faith provides a standard by which to assess doctrinal fidelity.

          Fourth, a Statement of Faith is a guardrail to protect believers within a church from doctrinal error. If mountain roads need a guardrail, all the more the narrow and hard way of God’s truth needs one!  A Statement of Faith helps us to keep on track, away from the heresies and fads and false teachings that lead to doctrinal ditches and dead-ends.

          The 1689 London Confession of Faith indexed and linked in Sidebar is an historical, time-tested Statement of Faith; in fact, it’s the Statement of Faith Charles Spurgeon adopted for the church he pastored, the Metropolitan Tabernacle. The London Confession of Faith is a wonderful summary of essential biblical truth; but, it is not perfect. For instance, I don’t think that the anti-Christ was or is or is going to be the Pope (Chapter 26, Paragraph 4). Chalk up any other doctrinal errors that may be in this document as a good reminder that only the Bible is perfect!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Craig

Published: November 2021