What is a Confession of Faith?

It is fine to say we believe the Bible.  Many cults and teachers of false doctrine do the same.  It is therefore important to define what we believe the Bible says.  Confessions do that very thing.  Confessions are always beneath and subject to the scriptures.

Confessions are more detailed than Creeds.  The Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creeds, for instance are little more than a paragraph stating the most elementary essentials of the faith.

Confessions are a sort of Systematic Theology, though much shorted and less detailed.

Grace Bible Church is Confessional.

Our statement of faith includes the London Baptist Confession of faith of 1689.  It defines what we believe about key doctrines and practices.  It is important for our body to know what we believe.  Every week or two, there will be a short section of the confession in this space in the bulletin.  You are invited and encouraged to read it.

Doesn’t doctrine divide?

Some say, “We don’t want doctrine, we just want Jesus.”  That sounds very noble, but consider how many completely false religions claim to “believe in Jesus.”  Doctrine, as set forth in a confession, divides alright.  It divides true believers from false professors.

Consider three of six benefits of confessions:

1. Confessions Help Identify Deviant Theology

2 Timothy 1: 13 “Hold fast to sound words.”

Jude 3 “Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

This is not to say that any and everything outside of a confession is heretical, but it does warn us to check whatever is are not in the confession against scripture.

2. Confessions Define A Church’s Unity And Like Mindedness

Phil. 1:27 “Stand fast with one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel”

Philippians 2:2 “fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”

A confession is a public definition to those outside of a congregation of the central issues of faith.  Here is what we believe in common. The fact that confessions are long testifies about how much we hold in common.

3. Confessions Define Standards For Membership.

You should not join a church if you do not know what they believe.  All churches have some statement of faith, either written or unwritten, whether short or long, general or specific.

If a church does not have a written down creed, it is harder for potential members to know if they should join?  They have to guess!

We do not close off fellowship with other churches or Christians who do not hold the same confession, we simply are more intimate with those with whom we have more in common.

We’ll consider three more reasons next time.