“What you see is what you get!”–Geraldine

Why are confessions of faith so important? Why can’t we just say that the Bible is our creed? Isn’t that sufficient? One would think that saying, “I just believe the Bible,” would answer all of the questions about what is believed by that particular person or group. The problem is that I have several friends who would ALL say, “I just believe the Bible,” but they have very different theologies. I have Presbyterian friends, Baptist friends (I think they are still my friends), Church of Christ friends, charismatic friends, and other friends of various backgrounds (and the “beat goes on” [a little Sonny and Cher lingo there]), who claim to believe the written Word of God, yet have very different views about what the Bible says.

It is good to be able to point to a piece of paper and say, “This is what we believe the Bible says,” and these doctrines will be preached and taught in this particular church. For example, we have people who are members of our church, who we love and minister to, who don’t believe every jot and tittle of the Westminster Confession of Faith (We only require a credible profession of faith to become a member of RPC), yet they know what they will hear from the pulpit Sunday in and Sunday out.

Of course, we know our theology is not perfect, but as R. C. Sproul once said, “Our problem is that we don’t know where we are wrong. If we did, we would repent and change.” (Loose paraphrase from memory of his statement) But, this is what we sincerely believe is the testimony of the Holy Scriptures. That is why we have a confession, catechisms, and a Book of Church Order (BOCO) to follow. As it says in our BOCO:

The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America, which is subject to and subordinate to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the inerrant Word Of God, consists of its doctrinal standards set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith, together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, and the Book of Church Order comprising the Form of Government, the Rules of Discipline and the Directory for Worship; all as adopted by the Church.

Sadly, people are not always honest when they vow to uphold standards. At Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, professors once joked about “crossing their fingers” when they were asked to sign the Abstract of Principles (I am glad those days are over, I think), but it is the best that we can do in this fallen world in which we live. Therefore, I have no qualms whatsoever vowing to teach the doctrines of the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, because I believe that they contain “the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scripture.”

So, as people who love, serve, and have been redeemed by a God “who cannot lie,” we should concur with what Geraldine once said (Google “Flip Wilson” if you are younger than 40), “What you see is what you get!”

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