Monday, June 10, 2013

Creeds and Confessions, A Defense, Part 4

4. A further argument in favor of creeds and confessions is that they promote the study of Christian doctrine.

The only way in which those who fundamentally differ from each other concerning the doctrines of Scripture can have any harmony in ecclesiastical fellowship is by becoming indifferent to the truth. If Christians are indifferent to the truth will they not then be apt today neglect the study of truth? And if the study of truth is neglected, will not ignorance eventually prevail? The simple fact is this: when men love the truth of the gospel enough to study it, they soon learn to evaluate it adequately. And only then will they be disposed to contend for it against its enemies.

If a professing believer entertains the notion that creeds and confessions are un-scriptural (and therefore unlawful), he is half a step from concluding that all contending for doctrine is useless and even sinful. It is easy to see from this how small the transition is to abandoning of the study of doctrine. The enemies of creeds and confessions assume a principle, which, if carried to its logical conclusion, would discourage all zeal in maintaining the purity of the doctrines of the Gospel. If the pulpiteers of the average church in Evangelicalism had it as a goal to make their hearers indifferent about understanding and studying the fundamental doctrines of Scripture, they could adopt no better plan than to do as they actually do in their rejection of creeds and confessions by crying, “Matters of opinion are between God and a man's own conscience. No one else should meddle with that.” Isn't this just another way of saying, “Believe whatever you want; it doesn't matter anyway.” This, of course means that serious study of the doctrines of Scripture is both a waste of time and not conducive to so-called “unity.” No self-respecting minister would actually assert this, but who cares if his practice works on the same underlying framework? Either the doctrines of Scripture are important and should be studied, or they are not important and need not be studied. If we would have churches with Biblically-literate members, nothing is more conducive to this than a creed or confession of faith, which lays out in an orderly and systematic way the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith.

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