How important are the confessions of faith?

Discussion in 'The Confession of Faith' started by AJAY, May 7, 2019.

  1. AJAY

    AJAY Puritan Board Freshman

    Is the historical confessions are really necessary for the church? In what way the confessions help in the life of the believer's.
    I recently attending a church which holds to Westminster Confession of Faith. It uses the catechism for 8 to 9 sessions to baptize new believers or reaffirmation of the faith of the believer's children who reach thier teenage. I never see any usage of Catheicism apart from this. Is memorizing few question and answers from the WSC as a token for Baptism. If that is the case ,how the reformed church is different from the people who teach making decisions or raising hands in the Evangelism session in order to be saved.

    The people of the old written confession for this sake, just to baptize.

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  2. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Ajay, when I was first introduced to the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, my Roman Catholic background caused me to be fearful. I had left the teachings of Rome and did not want to go back to being under a system that placed man between me and God. The more I learned I began to understand that the 1689 LBC did not come between me and God, it helped to explain some of the key doctrines and practices of the faith. The Westminster Confession of Faith does the same thing, notwithstanding the differences Baptists and Presbyterians have on certain teachings. While baptism is certainly an important part of both confessions, these confessions are so much more than that. Both confessions deal with the Lord's day, the authority of scripture, repentance, faith, creation, God's decree et. al. Both confessions have exhaustive catechisms that help teach and explain what the confessions contain. Presbyterians use both the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms and Baptists use Keach's Catechism in support of their respective confessions.
     
  3. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Consider the historic development and use of creeds. They are tools to combat obvious errors over the ages and as reflection for coming generations. Our confession and catechisms are nothing more than ‘Cliff notes’ of God’s word.
     
  4. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    From monergism.com
    Why Do We Need Creeds and Confessions?
    "I do want to make the point here that Christians are not divided between those who have creeds and confessions and those who do not; rather, they are divided between those who have public creeds and confessions that are written down and exist as public documents, subject to public scrutiny, evaluation, and critique, and those who have private creeds and confessions that are often improvised, unwritten, and thus not open to public scrutiny, not susceptible to evaluation and, crucially and ironically, not, therefore, subject to testing by Scripture to see whether they are true."
    - Carl Trueman

    Hi Ajay,
    Ask any leader of a church that claims to have "no creed but Christ" what they believe about baptism and you will find quickly that they do in fact have a creed. Quite often an extremely dogmatic creed that allows for no deviation from what they believe. You can ask the same question about the second coming of Christ or the rapture or what Saving Grace is for that matter and you will get very definite, and unfortunately often defective answers. But a creed they surely have.

    The link above to, Why we Need Creeds and Confessions, has many excellent articles on the subject. Some are easier to understand than others, but if you will take some time I think you will gain much insight and will soon be able to answer the question you asked for yourself.

    Ed
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
  5. carlgobelman

    carlgobelman Puritan Board Freshman

    One way to look at it is this: the Bible is a BIG book, and while it is completely sufficient and authoritative in the life of the believer, it is not organized as a collection of propositional truths, but rather as a story of redemptive-history.

    The confessions (such as the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms to which I subscribe) are helpful summaries of system of doctrine taught in the Bible. Now anyone who subscribes to the the WCF understands that the WCF isn't infallible (only the Bible is), so they are understood as secondary standards within the church (the Bible being the primary). But the beauty of the WCF (and other faithful confessions) is that they so succinctly summarize Biblical teaching.

    Every church has some kind of "confession." Some can fit neatly on a "What we believe" webpage, but in general they all seem to reduce to some "lowest common denominator" Christianity. The WCF was intentionally created to promote a robust reformed, presbyterian doctrine.
     

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