Creeds

Rev. Ronald Hanko, in his article “A Plea for Creeds”, states the importance of doctrine and creeds.  His article in full can be read at the following link – http://www.prca.org/articles/plea_for_creeds.html

Here is a brief quote from the article explaining what happens when a denomination or church dismisses or minimizes the importance of doctrine:  ” …  by cutting herself off from the church of past, the church today says in effect that every generation must start all over in its searching of the Scriptures and pursuit of the truth.  Thus she sets herself an impossible task – a task that is either set aside as too great so that there is little knowledge of the truth in the church, or which leaves her no time for other things.”

‘This is well-stated by the Presbyterian author, G.I. Williamson:

The Bible contains a great wealth of information.  It isn’t easy to master it all – in fact, no one has ever mastered it completely.  It would therefore be foolish for us to try to do it on our own, starting from scratch.  We would be ignoring all the study of the Word of God that other people have done down through the centuries.  That is exactly why we have creeds.  They are the product of many centuries of Bible study by a great company of believers.  They are a kind of spiritual “road map” of the teaching of the Bible, already worked out and proved by others before us.  And, after all, isn’t this exactly what Jesus promised?  When he was about to finish his work on earth, he made this promise to his disciples:  “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).  And Christ kept his promise.  When the Day of Pentecost came, he sent his Spirit to dwell in his people.  The Holy Spirit was poured out – not on individuals, each by himself, but on the whole body of Christian believers together (Acts 2).  And from that time until this, he has been giving his church an understanding of the Scriptures.  It is no wonder that the church expressed itself from very early times through creeds (p. 3).  (Emphasis added.)

He adds:

And right here we see one of the most important things about a creed that is true to the Bible – it remains true down through the ages.  It does not need to be changed again and again, with each generation, because it deals with things that are unchanging.  Thus, an accurate creed binds the generations together.  It reminds us that the church of Jesus Christ is not confined to one age, just as it is not confined to any one place.  In other words, there is a unity in what Christians have believed, right down through the ages.  Just think of it: when we confess our faith together . . . we join with all those believers who have gone before us. Does not this demonstrate that there is indeed just one Lord and one true faith? (p. 3).”  (Emphasis added.)

In the right column under “Links”, you will find four Reformed Creeds which are also known as Reformed Confessions: Belgic Confession, Canons of Dordt, Heidelberg Catechism, and Westminster Larger Confession. They are all organized and easily readable.  I particularly recommend that you start by reading the Canons of Dordt, because it focuses on the specific subject of salvation which is the distinctive heart of Reformed Doctrine.  There is also a link to a web site titled “Daily Confessions” which contains a daily dose of Reformed creeds.

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