Confessions of Faith have long served the church. In them we express together what we believe to be true and affirm the Scriptures to teach. They provide a helpful way to highlight connections and systematically organize the truth of God’s Word. They are tools that serve us in explaining and remembering that truth.
But Confessions of Faith also have another significant role. They dot the landscape of church history as strategic guideposts and beacons. They identify Christians of like-mind and like-faith. We can look back at these confessions and see groups of believers united together, declaring together: Here is what matters to us! Here is where we have nailed our colors to the mast! Here are the doctrines we wish to emphasize, clarify and stand upon.
A comparison of confessions of faith can yield some helpful insights in understanding the voice of the church and gauging its health, now and in the past.
In this issue of the Founders Journal we take a closer look at some confessions of faith and examine them in light of some specific doctrines. In the first article John English Lee traces the understanding of the Moral Law of God through several confessions, beginning with the Eighteen Dissertations of the Anabaptists (1524) through the New Hampshire Confession (1833). In the second article Jason Smathers compares the doctrine of man in the 1925 and 1963 editions of the Baptist Faith and Message. Finally Tom Hicks reviews the book The Creedal Imperative by Carl Trueman and outlines some of the benefits of creedalism.
We pray this issue of the journal will be an encouragement, not just to learn and benefit from the historic confessions of faith, but to grow deeper in our love and understanding of truth as God has revealed it in His Word.