Thursday, 8 May 2014

What do Christians believe?

What do Christians believe? It's not enough to say they believe in the Bible or they believe in God and Jesus, you have to nail it down a little further and ask what do you believe about the Bible etc.

A number of different ways of presenting the faith of the Christian have been formulated over the years from the ancient creeds - whether the Apostles', Nicene or Athanasian creeds - to various confessions put together by various denominations like the 39 Articles of Religion (Anglican) or the Catechism (Roman Catholic Church).

Actually one of my favourites is the Westminster Confession of the Presbyterian Church which can be accessed in a more modern English version here.

Take the opening Chapter on the Scriptures:

1. Although the light of nature and the works of creation and providence manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, to such an extent that men are without excuse, yet they are not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and of his will which is necessary for salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at various times and in diverse ways, to reveal himself and to declare his will to his church; and afterward—for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh and the malice of Satan and of the world—to commit this revelation wholly to writing. Therefore the Holy Scripture is most necessary, God's former ways of revealing his will to his people having ceased.

Here the confession tells us that although you can argue for the existence of some kind of a creator by looking at the order and beauty of the world in which we live, they do not contain sufficient means of knowing him personally. Which is why the Bible is God's chief means of doing this.

Great stuff and beautifully explained. We need to read and study such statements of faith as they help us grow in our understanding of God and, more importantly, help us grasp how wonderful he is and worthy of worship.

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