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What is a Confession of Faith?: Some Quotations

“This little volume, is not issued as an authoritative rule, or code of faith, whereby you are to be fettered, but as an assistance to you in controversy, a confirmation in faith, and a means of edification in righteousness. Here the younger members of our church will have a body of divinity in small compass, and by means of Scriptural proofs, will be ready to give an account for the hope that is in them.

Be not ashamed of your faith; remember it is the ancient gospel of martyrs, confessors, reformers and saints. Above all, it is “the truth of God”, against which the gates of Hell cannot prevail.

Let your lives adorn your faith, let your example adorn your creed. Above all live in Christ Jesus, and walk in Him, giving credence to no teaching but that which is manifestly approved of Him, and owned by the Holy Spirit. Cleave fast to the Word of God which is here mapped out for you.” C. H. Spurgeon (from the preface to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith which his republished for use by his congregation).

“A confession of our loyalty to the Bible is not enough. The most radical denials of biblical truth frequently coexist with a professed regard for the authority and testimony of the Bible. When men use the very words of the Bible to promote heresy, when the Word of truth is perverted to serve error, nothing less than a confession of Faith will serve publicly to draw the lines between truth and error. . . .

The church is to “hold fast the form of sound words” (2 Tim. 1:13), to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), and to “stand fast with one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27). In the fulfilment of this task, a confession is a useful tool for discriminating truth from error and for presenting in a small compass the central doctrines of the Bible in their integrity and due proportions. . . .

Nevertheless, our confessions are not inherently sacrosanct or beyond revision and improvement; and, of course, church history did not stop in the seventeenth century. We are faced with errors today which those who drew up the great confessions were not faced with and which they did not explicitly address in the confessions, but it is a task to be undertaken with extreme caution. . . .

A confession is a useful means for the public affirmation and defence of truth . . . (it) serves as a public standard of fellowship and discipline . . . (and it) serves as a concise standard by which to evaluate ministers of the Word.” R. P. Martin in Samuel E. Waldron, A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, (Evangelical Press, 1989), p9-23.

“This may be affirmed, that no private Christian would fail to benefit largely from a deliberate and studious perusal and reperusal of the Confession of Faith or the express purpose of obtaining a clear and systematic conception of sacred truth, both as a whole, and with all its parts so arranged as to display their relative importance, and their mutual bearing upon, and illustration of each other. . .

A confession of faith is not the very voice of Divine Truth, but the echo of that Truth from souls that have heard its utterance, felt its power, and are answering to its call.” W. Hetherington (concerning the Westminster Confession of Faith).

“This unique doctrinal and practical outlook of Reformed Baptists was summarised historically in the London Confession of Faith published in 1689. For almost 300 years this has been the standard doctrinal statement of such Baptists. Most Reformed Baptists today hold to this Confession as comprehensively summarising their understanding of the Word of God”. Samuel Waldron, Baptists Roots in America, p.viii, ix)

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