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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Do we need statements of faith?

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narrowpath
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Joined: 2005/1/9
Posts: 1196
Germany NRW

 Do we need statements of faith?



1. Cor 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?


I think it is ok to describe a Christian group by their location, practices and origin but every time I check out a Christian website and read their statement of faith I wonder if it does justice to the complete revealed word of God.

They use these statements usually to highlight certain doctrines they are emphasizing or want to be known for or reject. On the downside, they want to distinguish themselves from other groups they are in disagreement with.

Do we have to erect borders where there are none in Gods eyes? Do we need subsets of our own pet doctrines?

Recently I came across the website of an organization that ask their member to tick a box to agree completely with their statement of faith in order to join. That for me sounds almost like an oath. I have not yet seen a perfect statement of faith. If there was one, I am sure it would be in the bible. Do we need to take what the bible teaches and codify what we believe in our own human words?

People outside the kingdom of God are confused with the sheer amount of different Christian groups and their oftentimes differing and conflicting views.

We are very quick to label Christian groups according to what we know about them but are we perplexed when we come across groups that describe themselves just as disciples of Jesus who believe the whole bible.


Paul admonishes us

Eph 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

 2016/1/24 14:30Profile
beekpr
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Joined: 2011/7/12
Posts: 83


 Re: Do we need statements of faith?

Would you classify the Apostle's Creed as a statement of faith?

 2016/1/24 15:24Profile









 Re:

No, we do not need statements of faith. We have the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Statements of Faith just serve to divide brethren.

 2016/1/24 16:20
dspks
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Joined: 2006/3/15
Posts: 168
Dakotas

 Re: Do we need statements of faith?

A "statements of faith" is not the "be all and end all" of any particular group's beliefs. But, it is a thoughtful way of declaring those basic beliefs.

"Statements of Faith" are like labels on food cans listing what is found on the inside. (I prefer labels on my canned foods... helps me to know if I am opening a can of worms or edible food.)





 2016/1/24 18:51Profile
sermonindex
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 Re:

I agree that the true statement of faith for believers is the "living Christ". And our unity is "Christ in us the hope of glory."

But it is useful for the sake of false teachings to have some words to explain our faith, as Paul the Apostle and others did.

This statement of faith of the Chinese Underground Churches I feel breaks through "much" of the disunity of denominations in the West:

https://ia700800.us.archive.org/21/items/principlesbook/statementoffaith.pdf


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 2016/1/24 19:22Profile
JB1968
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Joined: 2009/8/31
Posts: 416
Ohio USA

 Re:

Sure. Why not? Paul listed concise statements of faith and the early church used them. Why would anyone be afraid to state what they believe?


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James

 2016/1/24 21:51Profile
Oracio
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Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2094
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

My beef with many statements of faith is that they make essentials out of non-essentials. I can understand the need to proclaim the essentials of the faith and to distinguish one's church from cults. But why divide over non-essential doctrines such as Calvinism vs Arminianism, cessationism vs continuationism, premillenialism vs postmillennialism vs amillennialism, etc.?

The church I attend right now has a statement of faith that includes Premillennialism as one of their distinctive beliefs. And in order for one to become a member one has to adhere entirely to their statement of faith. Well, that leaves me out because I don't hold to Premillennialism but to Amillennialism. The elders agree that it's a non-essential issue and that holding to Premillennialism should not be a requirement for membership. But since it's a congregational type of church the elders cannot just decide to remove that part from their statement of faith; the membership has to vote it out of there, which the elders have been trying to encourage them to do to no avail so far.

Other than that one part I really like their statement of faith because it declares the essentials of the faith and leaves room for disagreements in non-essentials.


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Oracio

 2016/1/24 23:42Profile









 Re:

A statement of faith does not hold you together or even bring you together.

I can't say it any better than this:

Religion always seeks a codification of conduct in “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots,” with defined
procedures and techniques for achieving such a self-defined criteria for “spirituality.” Seeking “pat answers,” they develop a static ordo salutis which is part of their “STATEMENT OF FAITH” in an epistemological belief-system. Leadership is regulated by acceptable qualifications and credentials to develop a “chain of command” structure wherein everything is controlled and predictable. Success will be measured by quantifiable statistics in buildings, budgets and baptisms. Tangible expression of Christian commitment will be encouraged through financial giving, regular attendance, and personal involvement in church programs.

Meanwhile, the Christian peoples, like sheep willing to follow a shepherd, will probably be open and receptive to such religious direction. Grace seems so risky and unpredictable. It cannot be managed or controlled. One cannot even project the probability of its results. Yes, as Jesus Himself said, “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going” (Jn. 3:8). Religious performance, on the other hand, seems so safe and secure with its well-defined parameters of rules and regulations, complete with “how-to” books full of techniques and formulas for obedience. The leaders clearly explain their expectations, and tell you what to do, offering tangible criteria of success with visible rewards. What people cannot seem to see is that
when you have such a perimeter of fences, such a regimen of enforced labor, and such strong links to hold you together, you are enslaved in the confining prison of religion, and no longer free to participate in the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ.

http://www.christinyou.net/pages/pdfs/GalatiansEbook.pdf

 2016/1/25 0:44
twayneb
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Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2012
Joplin, Missouri

 Re:

I agree that we should not need statements of faith...in a perfect world. The problem is that we do not live in that perfect world. When I read a statement of faith, I can see that the group in question at least claims to be on the same page as my where the essentials of the Christian faith are concerned. It is a helpful tool. It also gives a newcomer to my church an idea of where we stand on these issues and hopefully prevents some strife over doctrine from ever rearing its head in the church. He sees that we believe in the virgin birth...an absolutely non-negotiable tenet of the Christian faith. If he has problems with that, he knows he will either have to keep quiet or fellowship somewhere else.

Oracio, Agreed brother. These statements are often tools that are used to wave the banner of my unique fine point of doctrine that I want to use to differentiate myself from others. I am totally with you on that one...and it is NOT what a statement of faith should be used for.

This brings up the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed. These were meetings in which an attempt was made to codify the essential doctrines of the faith that are totally universal to all believers. That is why many groups simply say, "We abide by the Apostles Creed."

There are some legal reasons why, if your church is incorporated legally, that a statement of faith is absolutely critical and required. For Example, many churches are having to write their definition of Biblical marriage into their statements of faith for legal protection against someone suing for a homosexual marriage. Of course, you do not have to incorporate or have any official status to meet and to BE THE church. In fact, many feel it is better to have no official status, and that is OK as well.


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Travis

 2016/1/25 11:43Profile









 Re:

I don't see any indication in the Early Church that "statements of faith" were kept or presented (like a business card) to newcomers.

Our fellowship does not have a statement of faith and we learn about each other the old fashion way - relationship.

I am not aware of any strife in our fellowship for lack of a statement of faith. There is certainly no lack of love for the Lord or the brethren.

I think probably this is how they did it in the Early Church, too.

A statement of faith really does not tell you much about the "Life" of the fellowship.

What we really need is Faith, not a statement of Faith and love, not a statement of all the "good things" a church does.

Four churches on the same corner. All have 4 slightly different statements of faith. On all the core beliefs they agree, yet these four congregations are divided from one another and have no inter-congregational fellowship. What is wrong with this picture? What is wrong, is the foundation of their congregation is a business model and they can't handle competition in order to protect their own (financial) existence. If they met together, they may find out they only need to be one church which means a lot of people are out of a job.

So, statements of faith and other things such as this, are really only individual business charters that keep fellowships distinct and separated on purpose.

 2016/1/25 14:42





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