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Why Adopt a “New” Confession of Faith?

“Our recommended Confession of Faith isn’t ALL that we believe, it is the MINIMUM of what we believe.”

This past Sunday the elders formally recommended that the church adopt a “new” confession of faith (COF) which really isn’t that new, only new to Grace Life. The elders recommend we adopt the 1833 New Hampshire Baptist Confession of Faith. In addition to adopting the NHBCF, we also recognize the significance of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith in aiding our understanding of historic Christian teaching.

A significant question that should be answered by every church is whether or not a church’s COF contains EVERYTHING that the church believes? The answer to that is clearly, no. A confession of faith does not lay out every doctrine that a church believes.

A confession of faith is intended to protect essential gospel doctrines, doctrines that protect the WHAT and WHO of the gospel. Essential Christian doctrines are doctrines having to do with salvation (soteriology) and the person of Christ (Christology) and those are both founded upon the Bible (bibliology). A solid confession of faith seeks to clearly mark out a church’s teaching on soteriology, Christology, bibliology and other essentials. Having said that let me give four reasons why your elders are recommending the Confession of Faith that we are…

  1. There is stability in aligning with an “old” confession of faith. Aligning with a historic confession of faith reminds us that the truths that we believe and teach are not new, but truths that the Christian church have embraced for centuries, even millennia. We avoid chronological snobbery. This is the idea that we in our generation have “the corner” on doctrine.
  2. There is simplicity in adopting a precise confession of faith. When a confession of faith is concise, it must also be precise. Because of the simplicity of the NHCOF, by design, it is also precise in its terminology.
  3. There is security in attuning our doctrinal expressions to a historic confession of faith. I personally find security that in an age that seems to idolize youthfulness and newness, Grace Life is willingly embracing a historic confession of faith that plants us firmly in this historic stream of Christian orthodoxy. In matters of the supernatural, we affirm our belief that God does the miraculous (i.e. virgin birth, inspiration, inerrancy, and sufficiency of the Scriptures).
  4. There is significance in attuning our vocabulary to speak the same language. As a church grows numerically, it is important that we learn to use the same vocabulary. A simplified confession of faith allows just that. We can now use our COF as a discipleship tool rather than a cumbersome document that is unwieldy.

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