What is a Creed?
- The word “Creed” comes from the Latin “creedo” which means “I believe.”
- A “confession” is simply a statement of what one believes.
- Both “creeds” and “confessions” are inherently a part of Biblical Christianity; “…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
- The bedrock of the Christian Faith is that God reveals Himself through His Son Jesus; the record of which is inerrantly and infallibly recorded in the Bible (John 17:17).
- It is not enough to simply say “I believe the Bible” because the real issue is “what do you believe the Bible teaches?” Once a person says, “the Bible teaches…” he has created a “creed.”
Why Are Creeds Important”
- Understanding God’s revelation in Scripture is not always an easy task (2 Peter 3:16) and not every person will arrive at the same level of understanding as every other (1 Peter 2:2). Even the Lord Jesus in His human nature had to grow in wisdom and understanding (cf. Luke 2:52).
- When God revealed Himself in Scripture, He did so in various ways; as a series of propositions (e.g., the writings of Paul, etc.), through historical narrative (i.e., Genesis, Exodus, the Gospels, etc.), in poetry (Psalms, Job, etc.) and Wisdom literature (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes) as well as prophetic announcements (the Major and Minor Prophets).
- Putting all that revelation together into a comprehensive understanding of the nature, attributes, purposes and plans of the infinite God is a difficult task.
- Because God is so much greater than our mind’s ability to comprehend, we will not, in this life, have complete knowledge of Him, but we can still have true knowledge of Him. And it ought to be the desire and goal of every Christian to come to a richer, deeper and fuller understanding of the God who saved them (cf. John 17:3).
- Not all men are willing to do the work necessary to arrive at this level of understanding (Proverbs 2:1ff). Furthermore, not all men can do this level of work. Christ gifts His church with teachers just for this purpose (Ephesians 4:11ff) and warns those who do not have the gift, not to practice the calling (James 3:1).
- God not only recognizes and approves of creeds and confessions, but actually made some of the very earliest ones part of Scripture (cf. 2 Timothy 2:11-13, 1 Timothy 3:16).
How Are Creeds Used?
- God warns us that wolves will try to enter the fold (cf. Acts 20:29). Satan can masquerade as an angel of light, (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:11) and wicked men will attempt to subvert Christ’s church (cf. 2 Timothy 3:13). The Adversary uses deception and false doctrine to deceive the very elect.
- One of the primary purposes of creeds and confessions is to protect Jesus’ sheep from those who would prey on them (c.f., Hebrews 4:14).
- Creeds and Confessions also help build up and establish the faithful. We are no longer to be children, swept along by every wind of doctrine, but are to grow up in the knowledge of Him who saved us (Eph 4:15ff). The Scriptures rebukes those whose understanding of the Faith is elemental that they require basic training all over again (Hebs 5:12-6:1ff).
Don’t Creeds Just Divide Christians When We are Supposed to be United?
- Creeds are supposed to divide; “for what fellowship hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). Creeds are intended to separate those who follow Christ and those who follow the Adversary.
- All of the early creeds (e.g., the Apostles,’ Nicene, Athanasian, etc.) were specifically developed to oppose evil men who threatened to destroy the Church. (e.g., Docetism, Gnosticism, Arianism, Modalism, etc.).
- However, a creed will preserve the truth only so long as men are willing to stand for the truth and resist error. But standing for the truth requires courage and fortitude.
What Creed Does Covenant Reformed Accept?
- At Covenant Reformed Church we accept that the Westminster Confession and Catechisms, authored in 1647 represent a faithful and accurate summary of Bible doctrine.
- Our faith and trust is always in God’s Word, the Bible; the “Confession” is simply what we believe His Bible teaches.
- Members of Covenant Reformed do not have to accept every doctrine in the “Confession;” only elders and deacons.
- However, they do have to agree to be taught them, and to live consistently with them.