Reformed Creeds and Confessions
Why do we use Creeds and Confessions?
The creeds and confessions are part of our identity as a reformed church. It connects us to the rich heritage of the Christian faith. We believe that orthodox and faithful Christianity is both creedal and confessional. Reciting these creeds and teaching the historic reformed confession make the church both catholic and evangelical. And to understand why it is important, we need to determine the meaning of these two terms.
The term “catholic” means universal. When a church recite the creeds every Lord’s Day, they are reminded of their ecumenical origin. It is a way to identify as orthodox Christians who trace back their roots to the apostolic and early Christian church.
In Scripture, confessing the one true and Triune God happened even in the Old Testament when Israel recites the Shema: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (Deut 6:4-5).” And in the New Testament, confessing that “Jesus is Lord” (Romans 10:9) becomes a creed. This is why even during the first 500 years of Christianity, early Christians confess the Triune God, the two natures of the single person of Christ, and the person and work of the Holy Spirit. And today, we use the creeds because it is biblical as well as historical.
The term “evangelical” means gospel-centered. As a reformed church, we teach the historic reformed confessions because we believe it faithfully summarize the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the New Testament, Paul instructed his apprentice Timothy: “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you (2 Timothy 1:13-14).” Doctrine is the pattern of sound words. It is the systematic teaching we find taught in the whole counsel of God. And during the reformation period, the reformers recovered the gospel message of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, revealed from the Scripture, and for the glory of God alone. They wrote these confessions in order to teach us these doctrines for the purpose of reforming the church and recovering the purity of the gospel message. Today, we confess and teach these doctrines because they preach Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).
In sum, we use the ecumenical creeds and reformed confessions because they are biblical, historical, and evangelical. So it is our passion as a church to share them here to you.
Soli Deo gloria!
Three Forms of Unity
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