Should a church use a confession of faith? If so, how robust should that confession be? While few modern Baptists may be willing to identify with the Campbellite “no creed but Christ, no book but the Bible” approach to church life, considerably more seem to be skeptical of or even decidedly against the use of a robust confession of faith by local churches. Yet an extensive confession can serve a church well especially in seasons of doctrinal minimalism and confusion such as our own.
B.H. Carroll, the founder and first President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, understood this well and minced no words in his insistence on robust confessionalism. He rightly noted the inextricable connection between doctrine and devotion, faith and life. He writes,
All the modern hue and cry against dogma is really against morals. The more we reduce the number of the creed articles, the more we undermine practical religion.
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“Holy” and “sanctify” represent in our English Bibles one and the same Hebrew and Greek word in the original, but they are by no means employed with a uniform significance, being given quite a variety of scope and application — hence the diverse definitions of men. The word is such a pregnant one that no single English term can express it. That it signifies more than “set apart” is clear from what is said of the Nazarite:
“all the days of his separation he is holy unto the Lord” (Numbers 6:8)
—“all the days of his separation he is separated” would be meaningless tautology. So of Christ,
“holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26),
where “holy” means much more than “separate.” When applied to God it imports His ineffable majesty (Isaiah 57:15). In many passages it expresses a moral quality (Romans 7:12; Titus 1:8). In others it refers to cleansing (Ephesians 5:26; Hebrews 9:13). Often it means to hallow or dedicate to God (Exodus 20:11; John 17:19). As the term is applied to the Christian it connotes, broadly speaking,
(1) that sacred relationship Godward into which grace has brought us in Christ;
(2) that blessed inward endowment by which the Spirit has made us meet for God and capacitated us to commune with Him;
(3) the changed life resulting therefrom (Luke 1:75; 1 Peter 1:15).
Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures
Henry Wheeler Robinson, 1872-1945 born Northampton, Northamptonshire, Eng. Notable Nonconformist English Baptist theologian and Old Testament scholar. Robinson studied at Regent’s Park College, London, the University of Edinburgh, Mansfield College, Oxford, and Marburg and Strasbourg universities (1890?1900), and then became Baptist minister at Pitlochry, Perthshire (1900?03), and St. Michael’s, Coventry
Source [Reformed Reader]
5. Then one more thought about who are the “sons of Jacob,” for I should like you to find out whether you are “sons of Jacob,” yourselves. They are men of peculiar character; for though there were some things about Jacob’s character which we cannot commend, there are one or two things which God commends. There was Jacob’s faith, by which Jacob had his name written amongst the mighty worthies who obtained not the promises on earth, but shall obtain them in heaven. Are you men of faith, beloved? Do you know what it is to walk by faith, to live by faith, to get your temporary food by faith, to live on spiritual manna-all by faith? Is faith the rule of your life? if so, you are the “sons of Jacob.”
Then Jacob was a man of prayer-a man who wrestled, and groaned, and prayed. There is a man up yonder who never prayed this morning, before coming up to the house of God. Ah! you poor heathen don’t you prays No! he says “I never thought of such a thing- for years I have not prayed.” Well, I hope you may before you die. Live and die without prayer, and you will pray long enough when you get to hell. There is a woman: she did not pray this morning; she was so busy sending her children to the Sunday-school, she had no time to pray. No time to prays Had you time to dress? There is a time for every purpose under heaven, and if you had purposed to pray, you would have prayed. Sons of God cannot live without prayer. They are wrestling Jacobs. They are men in whom the Holy Ghost so works, that they can no more live without prayer than I can live without breathing. They must pray. Sirs, mark you, if you are living without prayer, you are living without Christ; and dying like that, your portion will be in the lake which burneth with fire. God redeem you, God rescue you from such a lot! But you who are “the sons of Jacob,” take comfort, for God is immutable.
Charles H. Spurgeon- The Immutability of God- A sermon delivered on Sabbath morning, Jan 7th, 1855
Now available at Chapel Library is a new (FREE) book titled The Lord’s Day: Its Presuppositions, Proofs, Precendents, and Practice by Sam Waldron: The Lord’s Day
The Lord’s Day is a thoroughly up-to-date consideration of the Fourth Commandment and its ramifications for modern Christianity. Its four sections include the Presuppositions that influence our thinking; Proofs at creation, by Moses, and in the New Testament; Precedents in the Apostolic Fathers and John Calvin; and finally its Practice. While precise and careful, the author avoids extremes and makes the nuances and complexities of the theological issues clear for most Christians.
Source [Chapel Library]
3. Although all the power of the creature to act be from the Creator, and there is a providence of God always extended to every creature, and to every action of the creature; yet we judge that the sinful corruption of the creature, and the sinfulness of the creature’s action, is from the creature, and not from God: and that it is a greatsin to say that God is the author if sin: Eccles. 7:29; Habak. 1:13; James 1:13,14,15; I Cor. 14:33; I Jn. 2:16. As touching that place which is here objected against us, viz., Amos 3:6. Shall there be evil in a City, &c. We conceive that it is either to be rendered according to the last Translation in the margin, Shall there be evil in a City, and shall not the Lord do something? or else that it is to be understood only of the evil of punishment, and not of the evil of sin.
Benjamin Cox- An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith
William F. Leonhart III
Q.14: What are God’s works of providence?
A. God’s works of providence are His most holy,1 wise,2 and powerful preserving3 and governing of all His creatures, and all their actions.4
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