Saturday, May 06, 2006

Of Scripture and Creeds and Confessions

Susan made an excellent point in the comments below:

". . .nothing replaces Sola Scriptura-creeds are there to aid us in understanding scripture but they are not divine."

Amen! I agree wholeheartedly! So did the writers of the Westminster Confession of Faith:

RE: synods, councils (and by extention their proclamations)

From Chapter 31, Section 3:

III. All synods or councils, since the Apostles' times, whether general or particular, may err; and many have erred. Therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith, or practice; but to be used as a help in both.[5]

5. Eph. 2:20; Acts 17:11; I Cor. 2:5; II Cor. 1:24; cf. Isa. 8:19-20; Matt. 15:9

And re: Scripture:

Chapter 1, Sections 4-6:

IV. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.[9]

9. II Peter 1:19-20; II Tim. 3:16; I John 5:9; I Thess. 2:13; Rev. 1:1-2

V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture.[10] And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.[11]

10. I Tim 3:15
11. I Cor. 2:4-5, 9-10; Heb. 4:12; John 10:35; Isa. 55:11, 59:21; Rom. 11:36: Psa. 19:7-11; II Tim. 3:15; I Thess. 1:5; I John 2:20, 27

VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.[12] Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word:[13] and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.[14]

12. II Tim. 3:16-17; Gal. 1:8-9; II Thess. 2:2
13. John 6:45; I Cor. 2:12, 14-15; Eph. 1:18; II Cor. 4:6
14. I Cor. 11:13-14; 14:26, 40
For those of you who may never have read the historic creeds of the Church, or who've had your interest in them piqued by these posts, or who just want to check it out for yourselves, here is a link to a fantastic free download, Reformed Confession for Windows.

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[UPDATED to include this link to the various Historic Documents of the Christian Church:

Historic Church Documents

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