Why Written Belief Statements?

Why Our Written Belief Statements?

 We have a doctrinal statements of what we believe for the following reasons:

1.   Because the New Testament writers themselves give the example of simple doctrinal summaries.  

  • Acts 2:14  Peter’s summary of Old Testament support for the deity and messiahship of Jesus
  • 1 Cor. 15:1-5 , Paul’s summary definition of the gospel, with allusions to “the Scriptures”
  • Phil. 2:6-11 , Paul’s summary of the incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus
  • 1 Tim. 3:15-17, Paul’s summary of the mystery of godliness
  •  Heb. 5:11-6:2, a summary of the elementary principles of the oracles of God
  • 1 John 4:2, John’s test for faithfulness to a right understanding of who Jesus is

 2. Because the apostles referred to a Body of Truth that could be identified, believed, retained and defended.

  • Romans 6:17 , Paul identifies a form of teaching to which the believers were committed
  •  2 Thess. 2:15, Paul alludes to apostolic traditions handed over to new believers in person or by letter
  • 2 Tim. 1:13-14, Paul commands that the standard of sound words heard from him be held and communicated to the next generation. This body of Truth must be seen as a treasure entrusted to each generation of Christians. Its defense can only be achieved through the power of the Holy Spirit.

3. Because Christian ethics require that what we teach be open, not secret. Jesus and the apostles always publicly taught without any hidden agenda. His followers should do the same. Our doctrinal position is a matter of public record.

4.  Because retaining the Body of Truth is crucial to local church health and growth. The doctrines of the Bible are like the human body’s DNA; local church defence of and application of the Bible’s truth is like the body’s immune system. Without truth to believe and obey there can be no genuine spiritual life. Without loving, authoritative imparting of truth to the next generation of believers, there can be no true local church health.

  •  2 Tim. 2:1-2 , Paul commands his disciple Timothy to entrust the message he has been received from Jesus via Paul to faithful people, who will in turn be able to teach others.
  •   Titus 1:9, Paul calls the doctrinal truth he taught to all the churches “sound doctrine”, that is, healthy doctrine. The name emphasizes that local church health can be achieved only by knowing and obeying this truth, which produces spiritual health in every Christian.

Many would say that one’s life is more important than what you believe. But, they have made a serious error in separating doctrine and practice. All doctrine is practical, and all practice must be based on sound doctrine. Practice that is not doctrinal is not rightly based!  Doctrine that is not practical is not healthy doctrine. The core doctrines of biblical Christianity are practical. These are not doctrines that you put up on a shelf to admire–they are doctrines that relate to our everyday life.  Elders and deacons were also expected to hold and understand the deep truths of the faith, but that was also to be tested by how they lived (1 Tim. 3:1-7).


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