Why We Need A Statement Of Faith, pt. 1

Why We Need A Statement Of Faith, pt. 1 March 31, 2014

A few weeksback, a conversation with a stranger in downtown Parker turned up the detailthat I am a pastor. As it turns out, my new friend was a believer, and his verynext question was, “Tell me about your church. What do you guys believe?”

Greatquestion, right? After all, the single most important feature of any church iswhat it believes. So what if I had just said, “We believe the Bible.” Wouldthat have answered his question? Not really. Lots of churches claim to believethe Bible, but they practice very different things. Outsiders need more thanthat. But so do we “insiders.” The elders believe our church’s Statement ofFaith is essential to our life together; and over the next few weeks, I’d liketo explain why.

First, ourStatement of Faith defines and helps maintain our unity. Here at Parker Hills,we don’t all have the same interests, political views, religious heritage, orpersonal values. We’re glad about that! Our diversity in these areas is astrength and not a weakness. But what then binds us together?

Perhaps onemight say, “Our love for Christ.” Of course, it’s true that all of our membersdo love Christ and that love has a powerfully unifying influence. But we livein a part of the world where quite a few people love Christ, and they haven’tall bonded with us to do church together. Is our common love for Christ reallyenough to bring us and hold us together as a loving family, a living body, aworshiping community, and a missional launch pad? Apparently not. 

Whatactually does unite us is our commonly held beliefs. Our Statement of Faithunifies our congregation around a set of doctrines that are, in our view,indispensable to maintaining the relationships, service, worship, and missionof our church. These are the essentials that everyone in our church affirms inorder to become and remain a member.

Somebelievers and even whole denominations have resisted manmade doctrinalstatements with the objection that they tyrannize the conscience and infringeupon soul liberty. We intend, however, for our Statement of Faith to honor bothconscience and liberty by informing all those interested in membership what webelieve immediately at the outset of our relationship together. Used properly,our Statement of Faith will both preserve our unity and protect the conscienceof our members and friends.