Saturday, June 5, 2010

Label #3: CONFESSIONAL

Sorry for the delay in posting. I've been exceptionally swamped so blogging takes the back seat. I want to continue my series on labels. These labels I'm listing are labels I embrace and want to explain. Since the danger exists for labels to be inaccurately defined and inappropriately used I want to "redeem the terminology" and say why I'll take this label... and why I lead my church to take this label. The third on my list is the "confessional" label.

Being a confessional Christian and a confessional church means that I/ we want to make clear my/ our beliefs about certain things and order my life/ our church life according to these convictions. I'll also accept the term "creedal" but this often more misunderstood that "confessional" though they are really interchangeable. This label does not mean that our church elevates a statement of beliefs or creed to the level of Scripture. The confessions or creeds themselves are not inspired, infallible, or authoritative. They are simply concise expressions of my/ our understanding of what Scripture teaches.

The historic confessions I most identify with and teach my congregation are the Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) also called the Second London Confession, the Philadelphia Confession (1742) which is the BCF with a couple significant additions, the New Hampshire Confession (1833) which is the historic confessional statement of my church, and the Baptist Faith and Message (2000). In addition the Apostles Creed (2nd-3rd century), Nicene Creed (381), and the Chalcedonian Creed (451) affirm and articulate core doctrines that are taught in Scripture.

The confessions I listed above represent certain non-negotiables for me and for membership in my church. Now I do not make every membership candidate read every one of these documents but the essential doctrines they all espouse must be affirmed by any person wishing to covenant with our church in membership. Any denial of these doctrines in word or behavior would necessitate church discipline to be taken. In this way we are confessional.

While I am at it there are some other documents that my beliefs and the beliefs I am leading Memorial to understand are clear Scriptural teaching. These documents are the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy and the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood. So there you go, I've given you nine links to follow and read. That should give you plenty to do in your spare time next week. Enjoy and if you have any questions feel free to comment and leave your email address (or Facebook me).

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