Why We Need A Statement of Faith, pt. 2

Why We Need A Statement of Faith, pt. 2 April 7, 2014

Why doesour church have a Statement of Faith? Isn’t it enough to have the Bible? SomeChristians think so. In fact, some Christian groups have fervently andintentionally committed themselves to “No creed but the Bible!” Is that anadmirable idea? Our elders don’t think so, and here’s why.

Last week Iexplained that our Statement of Faith defines and helps maintain our unity.That’s its first purpose. Second, it guards the church against error. Warningsagainst false teachers pervade the New Testament. Almost every writer includesat least some reference to false teaching and error in his own day or in thefuture: Luke (Acts 13:6), Paul (Acts 20:29-30, 2 Cor 11:12-15, Gal 2:4, Phil 3:2,etc.), James (James 3:1-2), Peter (2 Pt 2), John (1 Jn 4:1, 2 Jn 1:7, etc.),Jude (Jude 1:4-19). Even Jesus warned: “Beware of false prophets, who come toyou in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Mt 7:15). What ismost unnerving is that these warnings often apply to teaching that arises fromdirectly within the church—from its own elders and leaders!

Churchhistory demonstrates the importance of these warnings. Time and again, churcheshave been led astray by persuasive false teachers who were, in some cases,appearing to teach directly from the Bible. A solid, biblical statement offaith helps protect the Church against this danger by providing a broadlyaccepted standard against which we can measure the teaching we hear.

Without a Statementof Faith, the people would be vulnerable to the whims of the elders, because wewould have no clearly agreed upon standard to which to hold the elders andother teachers accountable. “No creed but the Bible” tends to mean in actualpractice, “No creed but what the pastors say.” The fact is, the congregationmight not need a statement of faith as much as do the elders! What a blessing,then, to have a strong and clear Statement of Faith to bind the leadership andpeople together in and to the truth.

Don’tworry, however, that our Statement of Faith would ever replace or supersede theScriptures. By God’s grace, the Bible is and will always remain the higheststandard for everything we believe and practice. But as an encouragingaffirmation from church history, it’s reassuring to note that the groups whichvalued manmade confessions also tended to give the most keen attention to theScriptures.