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Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

Ligon Duncan on Why ‘No Creed But the Bible’ Is a Lousy Creed

What does it mean to be a confessional church? When making our case for a particular doctrine, is it fine to reference our confession of faith, or would it be best to just stick to Scripture? Isn’t the Bible enough for Christians in establishing our doctrine and practice? Should we demand church members subscribe to a particular view of a third-level doctrine?

These are among the practical questions that sit at the heart of confessional Christianity. I put these questions to Ligon Duncan, a longtime confessional Christian and TGC Council member. Duncan, former pastor of the historic First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi, now serves as chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary.

Is it biblical for the church to write and use confessions of faith?

Yes! It is absolutely biblical for a church to use a confession of faith. The famous shema of Deuteronomy 6:4—“Hear, O Israel: the LORD your God, the LORD is one”—is a confession of faith. It affirms the two ideas most basic to the Israel’s religion: that Yahweh exists, and that he is the one true God. In the New Testament, Paul calls these fundamental affirmations “trustworthy sayings.” Such basic statements highlighting the fundamental commitments of God’s people are found throughout Scripture.

What about writing confessions of faith? Again, yes. If you look at the history of creeds and confessions, you’ll see that human-created creeds and confessions arose out of the church’s desire to be faithful to Scripture’s clear teaching. Whenever false teachers were appealing to the Bible and twisting it to suit their own purposes, Christians defended the truth by clearly articulating their scriptural convictions with the most faithful language they could muster—and which the false teachers could not affirm. For instance, the word homoousios is not found in Scripture, but is designed to convey an indisputably scriptural idea about the deity of Christ and the consubstantiation of the Son with the Father. Arius and his company were unwilling to affirm it, and therefore that word was used to uphold biblical truth against heresy.

 

 

 

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How the Bible Relates to Man-Made Creeds

by Tom Nettles

The pivotal question of how one concedes authoritative force to a creedal, or confessional, proposition holds paramount importance in their use in pedagogical and disciplinary ways. If churches, associations, or denominations as a whole are to use their creeds as instruments of ordination, church instruction, and discipline, then some method of demonstrating the biblical character of their propositions must be clearly conceived. Phillip Schaff rightly reminds Christians, that “the Bible has, therefore, a divine and absolute, the Confession only an ecclesiastical and relative, authority.” Additionally, he warns that “any higher view of the authority of symbols is unprotestant and essentially Romanizing.” Having issued that caveat, he proposed, “Confessions, in due subordination to the Bible, are of great value and use.” He called them “summaries of the doctrines of the Bible, aids to its sound understanding, bonds of union among their professors, public standards and guards against false doctrine and practice” (Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, 3 volumes, 1:7, 8.)

Confidence in the biblical authenticity of a creed’s content comes by familiarity with its historical and doctrinal context compared with…

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Ligon Duncan on Why ‘No Creed But the Bible’ Is a Lousy Creed

Jeff Robinson and Ligon Duncan

What does it mean to be a confessional church? When making our case for a particular doctrine, is it fine to reference our confession of faith, or would it be best to just stick to Scripture? Isn’t the Bible enough for Christians in establishing our doctrine and practice? Should we demand church members subscribe to a particular view of a third-level doctrine?

These are among the practical questions that sit at the heart of confessional Christianity. I put these questions to Ligon Duncan, a longtime confessional Christian and TGC Council member. Duncan, former pastor of the historic First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi, now serves as chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary.

Is it biblical for the church to write and use confessions of faith?

Yes! It is absolutely biblical for a church to use a confession of faith. The famous shema of Deuteronomy 6:4—“Hear, O Israel: the LORD your God, the LORD is one”—is a confession of faith. It affirms the two ideas most basic to the Israel’s religion: that Yahweh exists, and that he is the one true God. In the New Testament, Paul calls these fundamental affirmations “trustworthy sayings.” Such basic statements highlighting the fundamental commitments of God’s people are found throughout Scripture.

What about writing confessions of faith? Again, yes. If you look at the history of creeds and confessions, you’ll see that human-created creeds and confessions arose out of the church’s desire to be faithful to Scripture’s clear teaching. Whenever false teachers were appealing to the Bible and twisting it to suit their own purposes, Christians defended the truth by clearly articulating their scriptural convictions with the most…

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Confessions of Faith: The Bible, therefore, the Creed

by Tom Nettles

The Bible is a big book with numerous themes and doctrines. Consider the following four realities that drive us to summarize the doctrines of the Bible in a confession of faith.

1. The Progressive History of Graphe Drives us to Doctrinal Summary

Faithfulness to the Bible as the Word of God, singular in its meaning and authoritative for mind and heart, means that creedal formulas of doctrine serve the cause of real biblical knowledge. They neither detract from it nor substitute for it. When all the varieties of biblical literature are put together, from historical narrative to closely reasoned doctrinal instruction, the confidence of the biblical writers themselves….

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Confessions of Faith: “No Creed But The Bible”

by Tom Nettles

1. The Bible: A Matter of Faith

At the most basic level, every Christian should confess, “I have no creed but the Bible.” The Bible is meant to be believed. In matters of faith dependent upon revealed truth, therefore, the Christian should make no commitment of heart or head to a proposition not founded immediately upon Scripture.

In its first chapter, the Second London Confession makes clear this principle after discussing many of the various doctrines of Scripture:

 

 

 

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Does Teaching Someone the Bible Make Them a Christian?

by Brandon Adams

Someone recently sent me the following argument from a paedobaptist and asked me to respond.

Obviously, if you hold to credobaptism, you won’t agree with this conclusion on it’s face, but I’d love to hear some thoughtful non-defensive responses. There is an explicitness to the gospel that is only communicated and received with a certain level of mental understanding. Which leads a lot of people to say that we can’t say someone is a Christian until they are able to grasp and profess belief in this message. I get that. But… as a worldview, as a moral basis, as a way of life, Christianity is something that is practically lived in as well. A baby born into a Christian family, from day one is given a Christian worldview. They are certainly not being trained to be atheists or pagans. Nobody exists without a worldview, and if the worldview you’re being taught is the Bible, then you are a Bible believer by default. The Jews didn’t have to debate this issue because it was so explicitly commanded that they should raise their kids as Jews. But Judaism wasn’t a religion that lacked anything Christianity does, in fact it is the same religion. It had laws that were to be obeyed with gratitude, it demanded faith in God and his promises, it threatened those in the religion not to turn away… so what changed? My argument is that nothing has changed, and in practice, we all know it. Are we not required to raise our children as Christians? “Well it depends on what you mean by Christian”. But does it? Do we tell our kids to obey God’s law? Why? To be justified? No… because they are required to. Why? If it isn’t for their justification, then why? It’s because we recognize that they are under the authority of Christ by virtue of being in your home. If we require our children to obey God’s law, with threats of discipline if they fail, yet we do not recognize them as Christians, we are demanding that they rely on their flesh to obey God’s law… this is hypocritical. For some reason this line of reasoning confuses people and makes them think I’m saying Baptists don’t raise their kids in the faith. I’m actually saying the exact opposite. They do raise them in the faith, while also saying they are not in the faith. [For the record: This is a tension I held all my days as a credobaptist. Even when I was the most conviced of the position, I couldn’t reconcile this issue.]

This is a typical paedobaptist collectivist mindset. It’s what allows them to think that entire nations can be part of the church, as the magisterial reformers practiced. Entire nations became Protestants “at the blast of a trumpet” (the governing authorities’ declaration). They ridicule baptists for being too individualistic, but we merely recognize that believing the gospel is an individual matter. Collectives (families, nations) are not saved. Individuals are.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

To a very large extent, and far more so than any uninspired book, the Bible is a self-explaining volume

Arthur PinkTo a very large extent, and far more so than any uninspired book, the Bible is a self-explaining volume: not only because it records the performance of its promises and the fulfillment of its prophecies, not only because its types and antitypes mutually unfold each other, but because all its fundamental truths may be discovered by means of its own contents, without reference to anything ab extra or outside itself. When difficulty be experienced in one passage it may be resolved by a comparison and examination of other passages, where the same or similar words occur, or where the same or similar subjects are dealt with at greater length or explained more clearly. For example, that vitally important expression “the righteousness of God” in Romans 1:17—every other place where it occurs in Paul’s epistles must be carefully weighed before we can be sure of its exact meaning, and having done so there is no need to consult heathen authors. Not only is this to be done with each word of note, but its parts and derivatives, adjuncts and cognates, are to be searched out in every instance, for often light will thereby be cast upon the same. That God intended us to study His Word thus is evident from the absence of any system of classification or arrangement of information being supplied us on any subject.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures