|An Infallible Guide|
|Topic: Bible||Type: Article||Author: A. Allison Lewis|
A creed, confession or statement of faith is merely a summary or exposition of the Bible, as understood by those who write and believe them.
To Protestants, whether it be the Apostles, Nicene, Athanasian and Chalcedonian Creeds or the later confessions such as: the Lutheran Book of Concord, the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, the Presbyterian and Reformed Westminster Confession of Faith, or the Baptist Confession of 1689 or Philadelphia Confession of Faith of 1707, they are all subordinate to the Bible. The Bible alone to all orthodox Protestants is the final authority for all matters of faith and practice. Their creeds and confessions are fallible. The various confessions developed out of controversy with heresy. Each of them bears the marks of the age in which they were written.
According to the teaching of the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches they hold that their creeds, tradition, and by the Roman that the Popes decisions in matters of faith and morals are authoritative along with the Bible. They in effect make their church leadership the final authority. Their contradictory teaching through the centuries proves that they are anything but infallible.
Church history reveals a large number of people opposed to the use of any confessions. These people object that the confessions obstruct the free interpretation of the Bible, the "progress" of theology or the right of private judgment. This was the view of the Socinians, Quakers, Unitarians and Rationalists. It is true of the Liberals and Modernists in our day. However, a person who really believes what the Bible teaches will be proud to tell the world that he believes that Jesus Christ, his Savior, was born of a Virgin, lived a sinless life, died for his sins, was buried and bodily rose again the third day, and that salvation is by the grace of God alone apart from the works of the law. This may not be fancy, but it is a creed (Credo--I believe). It is those who reject the plain teaching of the Bible who reject creeds.
Historically, the confession most used by Baptist churches has been the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) as slightly revised in the Savoy Declaration (1658) on the issues of church policy and the subjects and mode of baptism. However, with the introduction of the semi-Pelagian (Arminian) teachings in New England the New Hampshire Declaration (1830) was introduced and has since had very extensive use among Baptist churches. The purpose of the New Hampshire Declaration was to restate the older confessions "in more moderate tones in order to halt defections to the Free Will movement" [W. L. Lumpkin, Review and Expositor, Winter, 1979, p. 22].
The Bible ALONE is the infallible guide for the Christians faith and practice. The individual church or organization or the individual believer who truly believes the Bible will gladly tell you what they believe. Beware of those who say, "No creed but Christ." Behind that pious phrase stands one who uses it in ignorance or to defend and mask his unbelief.
Any mans creed, system of "theology," or sermons and commentaries (including the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, Church Fathers, Reformers or your favorite preacher) are not the infallible Word of God. Read any of these under the critical light of the Bible itself. Search the Scriptures daily, as did the Berean Christians, whether these things are so [ACT 17:11].
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This Page Last Updated: 12/03/98 A. Allison Lewis firstname.lastname@example.org