Or at least, shouldn’t it be obvious? Every church website has a section telling you what they believe. But aren’t there certain things a church has to believe to be a church? You’d think so, but a dizzying variety of groups claim to be the church, all professing different beliefs.
Some assure you they’re so broad that they aren’t sure about anything except that they’re not sure about anything and that anyone who is sure about anything is sure to be wrong.
Others want you to know that they alone remain on the rock, which has become so narrow that there’s only space for themselves, and, worryingly, it’s shrinking all the time, so most of them may soon fall off.
Having assumed that all churches would believe in God, Jesus Christ, and salvation for all who believe, you could be forgiven for feeling despair. One thing is sure, we all believe something. Even to claim not to believe is a creed of sorts.
As far as we’re concerned, the church’s convictions were settled long ago. Our job is to restate them. Given the competing claims of various groups to be the church that might sound like a tricky task, but it’s not so bad. That’s because throughout history there have always been people who departed from the church’s teaching while claiming to be still part of it.
When that happened, the church met in councils and assemblies to restate what the church believed. That’s why we have creeds and confessions, stretching right back to the early centuries of Christianity.
Our convictions are stated in a confession that is catholic, Reformed, and biblical, and which states the historic convictions of the Church of Scotland—The Westminster Confession of Faith. That’s why we hold to it. But what do we mean by catholic, Reformed, and biblical?
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