Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Significant Problem with Detailed Statements of Faith

Faith is important. Apart from faith in Jesus Christ, no one can be saved.

In the life of the early church the confession of faith was, "Jesus is Lord!" However, as the years progressed statements of faith became increasingly detailed. After the Protestant Reformation, group after group wrote its own distinctive confession. One primary example of this is the Westminster Confession of Faith (among many, many others).

As I look around the Christian landscape, I see a significant problem with these lengthy statements of faith. The problem is that they leave no room for a person to change his mind on an issue. Let's say a Christian says that he agrees with a certain statement of faith. Later, upon a further study of scripture he changes his mind on that issue. Uh-oh. What is he to do? This would be no big deal; however, many local churches require their new members to agree with their specific statement of faith. If this Christian no longer agrees with that confession, does he then have to withdraw his membership?

This, of course, brings up the problem of "membership" in a local body of believers. That's for another day.

To sum up: lengthy statements of faith allow no room for believers to change their minds on an issue. In this way, they actually discourage bible study and the asking of hard questions. The body of Christ would be much better off by simply sticking with "Jesus is Lord!" as our confession. Christ is all we need, and that statement is all we need.


Arthur Sido said...



Mormons would cheerfully say "Jesus is Lord!"

So would Roman Catholics.

Both groups to varying degrees hold to anti-Gospel understandings of a lot of issues.

The exclusionary positions in doctrinal statements on issues like baptism, eschatology, ecclesiology, and the like serve to unnecessarily divide the Bride of Christ but there is a need for foundational truths to separate the church from the wolves.

Eric said...


I think we agree. I'm specifically referring here to statements of faith that end up causing division. What we actually believe goes far beyond "Jesus is Lord."

Some confessions are pages and pages long! There's no room for disagreement there much less for anyone to change his mind.

Jeremy Myers said...

Yep. The more we include, the more we exclude.