June 16, 2009

A Trip Back in Time...

Disclaimer: Although I found this to be a fascinating study, there is a part of me that hesitated posting it and would only encourage this type of study for those who are firmly grounded in the Word of God. If you don't spend a great deal of your time in His Word, seeking to know Him, don't spend your precious time studying the creeds, confessions, and canons of men--it will only serve to confuse and create unnecessary controversy in your own mind. Having said that--

As I read through the Creeds, Canons and Confessions linked below, I asked myself the following questions. What if I were living as a Christian during anyone of these eras with the doctrinal convictions that I hold today? What if I had to agree fully with the official Creed or Confession of that time in order to be considered a "full member in good standing"? Then I realized that, had I lived back before the New Testament was available for personal reading, I would most likely not hold to some of my doctrinal convictions, i.e. believers baptism,

Reader, keep in mind that most creeds, council canons, and confessions, were necessitated to combat the heresies that were looming large in the church during those times and there was, therefore, a real need for them.

On a side note and in my opinion: The greatest thing that came out of the Reformation (aside from the doctrines of grace that were clearly enumerated in 529 A.D. in the Canon of the Council of Orange--for the most part) was sola scriptura (scripture alone). I can tell you that, aside from the very earliest creeds and The Baptist Confession of Faith (1689), I would have never been admitted into membership--primarily due to the position I hold on baptism. As you read, think about your own personal doctrinal convictions.

The interesting thing is that most local churches have their very own unique "creeds" that include non-essential doctrines and in order to become a member you must agree completely with them or you will be (in a sense) preemptively excommunicated. O' you are allowed to worship with them, but may only serve the body in a limited fashion and have limited fellowship which makes finding a local church where you might qualify for membership rather difficult in this day and age. Their "creed/confession" will need to be 1) limited to the essentials of the faith (which I feel it should be), or 2) line up with all the non-essential doctrines that you personally hold.

Creeds
The Apostles' Creed
The Nicene Creed
The Athanasian Creed
The Definition of Chalcedon
The Anathemas of the Second Council of Constantinople (553 A.D.)
Confessions
The Canons of the Council of Orange (529 A.D.)
The Augsburg Confession (1530)
Apology [Defense] of the Augsburg Confession
The Thirty-Nine Articles, (1571)
The Canons of Dordt (1618 A.D.)
The Belgic Confession (1618 A.D.)
The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646)
The Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) w. Scripture Proofs
The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) w. Scripture Proofs

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