Feedback help on church statement of belief

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Bacabiila

Puritan Board Freshman
I was wanting some help breaking down this statement of belief. Where are the big weaknesses? Gaps? Where is it too broad? How could it be improved? Errors?


“Is a community of those who believe in God the Father, in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit - one God; who are repentant of sin and have been saved by personal faith in Jesus Christ through His atoning death and resurrection; who publicly confess their faith in Him through believers baptism and who are willing to be committed to the church’s aims and functions.


We believe in:

  • The true humanity and Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • The atonement made on the cross by our Lord for the sin of the world.
  • The person of the Holy Spirit as the one who sets apart, empowers and imparts spiritual gifts to the church.
  • The inspiration of the Bible and its authority in all matters of faith and practice.
  • Salvation and membership in the church by faith in Christ alone.
  • Membership of the church for the regenerate.
  • The immersion of believers as the only scriptural form of baptism.
  • The priesthood of all believers.
  • Believers' baptism by immersion.
  • Communion (the Lord's supper), which is held at least monthly and open to all believers.”
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
I was wanting some help breaking down this statement of belief. Where are the big weaknesses? Gaps? Where is it too broad? How could it be improved? Errors?


“Is a community of those who believe in God the Father, in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit - one God; who are repentant of sin and have been saved by personal faith in Jesus Christ through His atoning death and resurrection; who publicly confess their faith in Him through believers baptism and who are willing to be committed to the church’s aims and functions.


We believe in:

  • The true humanity and Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • The atonement made on the cross by our Lord for the sin of the world.
  • The person of the Holy Spirit as the one who sets apart, empowers and imparts spiritual gifts to the church.
  • The inspiration of the Bible and its authority in all matters of faith and practice.
  • Salvation and membership in the church by faith in Christ alone.
  • Membership of the church for the regenerate.
  • The immersion of believers as the only scriptural form of baptism.
  • The priesthood of all believers.
  • Believers' baptism by immersion.
  • Communion (the Lord's supper), which is held at least monthly and open to all believers.”
Welcome to the PB Bacabiila, please fix yourself signature so folks know how to address you. See the link for how at the bottom of the page.
 

SeanPatrickCornell

Puritan Board Sophomore
Is this a statement of faith for a church you're trying to check out, or is this a statement of faith you're developing for a church that doesn't have one yet?

If the second case is true, why not use a historical confession like the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith?
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
The atonement made on the cross by our Lord for the sin of the world.
Universal atonement?
The person of the Holy Spirit as the one who sets apart, empowers and imparts spiritual gifts to the church.
Sets apart who or what?
The inspiration of the Bible
Weak and less than clear.
The immersion of believers as the only scriptural form of baptism.
Wrong forum for that discussion.
Communion (the Lord's supper), which is held at least monthly and open to all believers.”
Sacrament or Ordinance?
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
You need a clarifying statement about who this is for. I assume it is the statement of beliefs for church leaders and church doctrine, and that members would be expected to agree not to publicly argue with it.

If this is supposed to represent essentials of the faith, you have a problem. You need to eliminate believer's baptism as a salvation essential, since born again paedos are also saved. "Imparts spiritual gifts" is too vague, are you charismatic? Either way it has to be a non essential for salvation. Eschatology needs to be listed as a nonessential for salvation, but given the interest in it today, you better be clear if the church leaders are pro the rapture or not dispensational. Be real upfront. What do you mean by committed to aims and functions? Does that mean people are expected to be at four meetings a week unless they are on their death bed? ( been there, done that, legalism). Way too vague. I would be suspicious you are control freaks with those words ( but I can be cynical). Your priority is laying out what doctrine the elders and teachers are committed to, not expectations of what members do. My opinion only.

A decent church, including my PCA experience, separates what the essentials of the faith are from the teaching of the church ( ie a confession as suggested above). My Calvinist Baptist church experience ( 3 of them in two states) has been same. You have a double statement essentially. My PCA had credos, and my Calvinist Baptists had/has paedos. The rapture crowd infiltrates everywhere even PCA.

If your leadership looks to some particular group or teacher, and pretty much subscribes to them, be honest, but maybe not in a statement. It can go in your "helpful links" section. I once visited a church near Princeton where they openly said they were a Grudemite church. ( Wayne Grudem). I've known two pastors ( one PCA, both WTS grads) who openly said John Piper was their #1 teacher. I'm a church that is in the Gospel Coalition but isn't "woke", thank God, but to be honest if I wasn't already here I'd look elsewhere if I was looking and saw that in a statement. If you hang on every word out of the mouth of Johnny Mac you gotta be upfront in a resources section. Give people a chance to run the other way.

I am sure other posters will be very helpful, just adding my two cents. Most people are not as picky as my hub and I, and just want a nice friendly bible based church, so feel free to ignore everything I said about resources and helpful links. But you need to do better on essentials of the faith, and your church teaching. Credo baptism is not part of that.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
  • The inspiration of the Bible and its authority in all matters of faith and practice.
The Holy Scriptures
are inspired, authoritative, and inerrant in their entirety and is the only rule of faith and practice. Anything less let’s the liberals creep in through a side door.

The modern liberal phraseology speaks of affirmation of all that the Scriptures contain concerning faith and practice, thereby exempting its historicity and supernatural character.
 

Bacabiila

Puritan Board Freshman
Is this a statement of faith for a church you're trying to check out, or is this a statement of faith you're developing for a church that doesn't have one yet?

If the second case is true, why not use a historical confession like the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith?
Thanks,

This is a statement of faith from a church we have have been attending since moving into the area. There have been numerous examples of questionable teaching and an overall (in)consistent theology. I have gone through their statement of faith, but was wanting confirmation of whether my instincts were correct or if I was being harsh.
 
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retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
Best to find a church with a confession. If you are a Presbyterian as your signature indicates, OPC and PCA would be good choices. I know there are several other good ones, but I don't have enough knowledge to name them. Also, as mentioned earlier, if there are no conservative Presbyterian churches in the area, a baptist church holding to the 1689 London Baptist confession would be good as well.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
We believe in:

  • The true humanity and Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • The atonement made on the cross by our Lord for the sin of the world.
  • The person of the Holy Spirit as the one who sets apart, empowers and imparts spiritual gifts to the church.
  • The inspiration of the Bible and its authority in all matters of faith and practice.
  • Salvation and membership in the church by faith in Christ alone.
  • Membership of the church for the regenerate.
  • The immersion of believers as the only scriptural form of baptism.
  • The priesthood of all believers.
  • Believers' baptism by immersion.
  • Communion (the Lord's supper), which is held at least monthly and open to all believers.
Is this copied and pasted from the church website? It's not nearly clear enough.
Membership of the church for the regenerate.
Now hold on just a minute... Oh, I won't get into it.
The immersion of believers as the only scriptural form of baptism.
Believers' baptism by immersion.
This one is apparently so important they had to say it twice.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
I see there's more vague doctrinal stuff on the church website. To be frank, it seems like a fairly liberal church. Female elders are a bit of a giveaway.
 

Bacabiila

Puritan Board Freshman
You need a clarifying statement about who this is for. I assume it is the statement of beliefs for church leaders and church doctrine, and that members would be expected to agree not to publicly argue with it.

If this is supposed to represent essentials of the faith, you have a problem. You need to eliminate believer's baptism as a salvation essential, since born again paedos are also saved. "Imparts spiritual gifts" is too vague, are you charismatic? Either way it has to be a non essential for salvation. Eschatology needs to be listed as a nonessential for salvation, but given the interest in it today, you better be clear if the church leaders are pro the rapture or not dispensational. Be real upfront. What do you mean by committed to aims and functions? Does that mean people are expected to be at four meetings a week unless they are on their death bed? ( been there, done that, legalism). Way too vague. I would be suspicious you are control freaks with those words ( but I can be cynical). Your priority is laying out what doctrine the elders and teachers are committed to, not expectations of what members do. My opinion only.

A decent church, including my PCA experience, separates what the essentials of the faith are from the teaching of the church ( ie a confession as suggested above). My Calvinist Baptist church experience ( 3 of them in two states) has been same. You have a double statement essentially. My PCA had credos, and my Calvinist Baptists had/has paedos. The rapture crowd infiltrates everywhere even PCA.

If your leadership looks to some particular group or teacher, and pretty much subscribes to them, be honest, but maybe not in a statement. It can go in your "helpful links" section. I once visited a church near Princeton where they openly said they were a Grudemite church. ( Wayne Grudem). I've known two pastors ( one PCA, both WTS grads) who openly said John Piper was their #1 teacher. I'm a church that is in the Gospel Coalition but isn't "woke", thank God, but to be honest if I wasn't already here I'd look elsewhere if I was looking and saw that in a statement. If you hang on every word out of the mouth of Johnny Mac you gotta be upfront in a resources section. Give people a chance to run the other way.

I am sure other posters will be very helpful, just adding my two cents. Most people are not as picky as my hub and I, and just want a nice friendly bible based church, so feel free to ignore everything I said about resources and helpful links. But you need to do better on essentials of the faith, and your church teaching. Credo baptism is not part of that.
Thank you for you time and effort Lynnie. I appreciate all of these points and have notice the practical outworking of these in this church. Up until a few weeks ago there was no statement of belief at all for this local church- so it was difficult to actually gauge the beliefs of the elders.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
For a short faith statement, it seems very insistent about the Baptist distinctives. When you make only ten points total and waste one of them by repeating the statement about baptism, that suggests you're hardcore. Plus, there's the comment about how the church is made up of those who've been saved and the regenerate church membership point, marking a second redundant Baptist distinctive—this time one that even some Baptists would question and most would not bother including at all among their top ten points (while Presbyterians would surely ask "How can you tell?"). The whole thing just makes me suspect someone has unusually strong feelings about believer's baptism.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
@Stephen L Smith could weigh in on this.
Certainly.

Tim, your signature says PCANZ. Is this the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand? The majority of these churches are doctrinally liberal. You can check out the Reformed Churches of New Zealand beliefs here and their creeds and confessions here. The RCNZ subscribe to the Westminster Confession and the Three Forms of Unity.

 

Bacabiila

Puritan Board Freshman
Certainly.

Tim, your signature says PCANZ. Is this the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand? The majority of these churches are doctrinally liberal. You can check out the Reformed Churches of New Zealand beliefs here and their creeds and confessions here. The RCNZ subscribe to the Westminster Confession and the Three Forms of Unity.

Thanks Stephen. Yes, my upbringing was in PCANZ and I thoroughly agree about them being doctrinally liberal. Ideally we wanted a RCNZ or Grace church, but we‘re up in Northland and don‘t have any close.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks Stephen. Yes, my upbringing was in PCANZ and I thoroughly agree about them being doctrinally liberal. Ideally we wanted a RCNZ or Grace church, but we‘re up in Northland and don‘t have any close.
The RCNZ now have a church in Northland - the Maungakaramea Reformed Church Our Locations – Reformed Churches of New Zealand (rcnz.org.nz) It is not far from Whangarei.

Nice to meet a fellow Kiwi. Please note in your signature you are from New Zealand. Many will not know what country you live in.
 
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