Blogmatics (i.e. what we at Ancient Paths believe)
You can find my own articulation of our beliefs in this post. But, the title of this blog being Ancient Paths, I thought it appropriate to also point to some of the old historic confessions that accurately represent the doctrinal beliefs we hold. So then…
Though I take some exception with the specific wording here and there, I think the creeds have tremendously valuable formulations that, sadly, have been forgotten and ignored in much of modern Christianity. And, for that reason, we no longer have any moors by which to define historic Christian orthodoxy.
Confessions of Faith
I come from a tradition that typically has some rather considerable disdain for confessionalism. This is unfortunate for various reasons, and not necessarily characteristic of the older tradition of which I am a beneficiary. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself confessional, simply because of some of the connotations that term now carries. However, I think the historic confessions are indispensable to a robust understanding of theology, and I would consider myself to be more or less in line with these four confessions.
- First London Baptist Confession (1646) (depending on how you interpret the wording in just two or three spots)
- The Faith and Practice of Thirty Congregations (1651)
- Articles of Religion (1770)
- Niagra Creed (1878)
Some Modern Declarations
Again, with some minor differences in preferred wording, I have found the following declarations on specific topics (and two modern confessions) to be of considerable public value, and of tremendous personal benefit as well.
- IFCA Articles of Faith and Doctrine (1930; rev. 2009)
- GARBC Articles of Faith (1932; rev. 2014)
- Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978)
- Cambridge Declaration (1996)
- Conservative Christian Declaration (2014)
- Fortified Nashville Statement (2017)
- Dallas Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel (2018) (get the PDF here, and learn more about the issue and the statement here)
I’ve found these confessions to be particularly helpful in their wording, for the most part, but unfortunately have some significant disagreements with the views expressed in one or more places.
- Helwys’ Confession (1611) (with the exception of article 7 on falling from grace; but I especially appreciate his wording on election in article 5; particularly relevant to our day is article 16 on the appropriate size of a congregation—as Voddie would say, if you can’t say amen, you ought to say ouch)
- The Standard Confession (1660) (a helpful Baptist confession, but my discomfort lies primarily in articles 12 and 14)
- The Orthodox Creed (1679) (This is an important confession, but it’s problematic when it comes to the Adamic Covenant, and thus the active obedience of Christ)
- A Short Confession or a Brief Narrative of Faith (1691) (This confession has some unfortunate wording concerning original sin and justification. Despite this, the sections on the extent of Christ’s death, providence, and election, are especially helpful)
- New Hampshire Confession (1833) (This is a well-written Particular Baptist confession based loosely on the 1689; I disagree with their wording on Perseverance, and the Christian Sabbath, but the majority of the confession is solid)
For the Uncomfortable and/or Curious
If the idea of subscribing to historic confessions is new to you, you may find these articles from Founders Ministries helpful. Of course, Founders subscribes to the 1689 Second London Confession, which I disagree with at various points; however, their arguments and explanations are still valid and a very valuable introduction to the importance of utilizing the creeds and confessions.
- Biblical Support for Creeds, Confessions, and Statements of Faith
- A Case for Robust Confessions of Faith in Churches
- B.H. Carroll and Robust Confessionalism
- Review of The Creedal Imperative
- Creeds, Confessions, Catechisms, and Covenants in Corporate Worship
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