BELIEFS

Introduction

          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 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

 

The 1689 London Confession of Faith                                                                         

Chapter 1 - The Holy Scriptures

Chapter 2 - God and the Holy Trinity

Chapter 3 - God's Decree

Chapter 4 - Creation

Chapter 5 - Divine Providence

Chapter 6 - The Fall of Mankind, and Sin and Its Punishment

Chapter 7 - God's Covenant

Chapter 8 - Christ the Mediator

Chapter 9 - Free Will

Chapter 10 - Effectual Calling

Chapter 11- Justification

Chapter 12 - Adoption

Chapter 13 - Sanctification

Chapter 14 - Saving Faith

Chapter 15 - Repentance to Life and Salvation

Chapter 16 - Good Works

Chapter 17 - The Perseverance of the Saints

Chapter 18 - Assurance of Grace and Salvation

Chapter 19 - The Law of God

Chapter 20 - The Gospel and the Extent of Its Grace

Chapter 21 - Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience

Chapter 22 - Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day

Chapter 23 - Lawful Oaths and Vows

Chapter 24 - Civil Government

Chapter 25 - Marriage

Chapter 26 - The Church

Chapter 27 - The Communion of Saints

Chapter 28 - Baptism and the Lord's Supper

Chapter 29 - Baptism

Chapter 30 - The Lord's Supper

Chapter 31 - The State of Humanity after Death and the Resurrection of the Dead

Chapter 32 - The Last Judgment


Published: January 2020