A confession of faith is important for several reasons. False teachers do not usually deny the authority of scripture, they simply present a false interpretation of it. Having a confession of faith helps clarify what interpretations of scripture are valid and invalid based on the collected wisdom found in church history. Having creeds and confessions also follows several examples that we see found in scripture.
I fully subscribe to The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, but below I offer a brief summary of what I believe followed by a list of historic creeds, and the confession, which I affirm.
The Bible, consisting of the 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament, is the inspired, written Word of God, without error in its original manuscripts, the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.
There is one God: the Creator of the universe, sovereign, infinite, almighty, most holy, wise, just, and loving.
God eternally exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided.
God is the Creator of both heaven and earth. He created all things from nothing, by the power of His Word and for His own glory, in the space of six days, and all very good. The Father, together with the Son and the Spirit, is sovereign and rules over all
God made man (male and female) in His own image for the purpose of glorifying Him by enjoying fellowship with Him. The first man and woman, tempted by Satan, chose to rebel against God. This disobedience put hostility between God and man, bringing divine wrath, condemnation, and death to mankind. All humans since have been born with a corrupted nature.
The Gospel is the good news that God is reconciling to Himself all things, through the person and work of Jesus. It was His plan from the beginning, revealed in Scripture, carried out through the incarnation of Jesus, His penal substitutionary atonement on the cross, and the grace given to individual sinners who deserve death, but are given life instead as their sins are traded for Christ’s righteousness.
Salvation is naturally accompanied by a changed life, and evidenced by good works. Works being the result of salvation, not the cause of it.
Marriage is to be between one man and one woman; neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband at the same time. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife.
The church is the body of Christ, comprised of all true believers, in all times, in all places. The local church is a visible expression of this universal church.
The church is called out of the world to be a holy people belonging to God. The church, as the people of God, is sent into the world to be a witness for Jesus, who said, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (John 20:21)
There are two officers appointed by Christ to be chosen and set apart by the church for the edification of the whole. These two offices are that of pastor, or elder, and deacon. Both offices are, by the testimony of the Apostles, restricted to males only.
Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament instituted by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized a sign of his fellowship with Him, in His death, burial, and resurrection; of his being engrafted into Him; of remission of sins; and of his giving up himself unto God through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life. Baptism is rightly administered by immersion in water, into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of the New Testament instituted by Jesus Christ; wherein by giving and receiving bread and wine, His death is shown forth, and worthy receivers are, by faith, made partakers of all His benefits, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace.
Since the Fall, God has promised redemption and restoration, for all of creation, as part of his plan. The final restoration will include the physical, visible, glorious return of Jesus, the resurrection of the dead, and the judgment of the just and unjust. The restoration will include the establishment of the new heavens and new earth, which will be inhabited by the redeemed people of God for eternity, in perfect peace and joy in personal fellowship with Jesus.
CREEDS & CONFESSIONS
While I do not consider these documents to be perfect or exhaustive in expression, they are accurate summaries of that body of doctrine which I believe is found in Holy Scripture and out to be preached, and taught in the local church.