When it comes to confessing or affirming ones faith it is often said, that few of us are able. Asked simply what do you believe, how does one begin? It is often a question asked to those who are thinking about joining the Church or are in the rows of becoming a member after many years in the Sunday School. But have you ever tried to write down what you actually believe and the question where do you begin?
We often begin with I believe in God or I believe in Jesus Christ our Lord and I am sure if you are a Professor of theology you would either write a treaties or give a short brief answer like I believe in God the father almighty maker of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Like all confessions of faith, however, the Westminster Confession of faith is no different from our personal testimonies of what we believe, as if being asked, 'what do you believe?'. Like our own confessions it is a hard soul searching exercise, yet this one has bite and background.
The Creeds of any church for example, the Nicene Creed and the Apostles Creed come by way of self-examination of the church itself, where they have a history and are biblical based. The Apostles Creed for instance is a strange one where it was not written off hand by the Apostles themselves but refers to the many statements they give over the course of the teaching of the New Testament. Where in the course of its history the church slowly gathered these statements together to formulate a proper and true assessment of its faith.
So the church over the years came up with a thing called the 'credo' which is Latin for 'I believe'. In which the creed, the believer confesses his faith within the fellowship of the church. However, it is much more than a purely personal confession, It is basically a confession of the whole church. To put it into definition : A creed is a short, comprehensive formula of the Christian faith, expressed in language of the first person and dignified enough for frequent us in public worship.
It is a short formula, which does not elaborate on any point, and yet is comprehensive enough to summarize the essential beliefs of the Christian faith where we might not all agree upon every point, but given the whole, we can agree providing the whole of that message is wholly the message of the bible.
So If you have kept up with my blog so far then my question to you is simply grab a pen and paper, or your laptop, ask yourself 'what do I believe?' and then perhaps, later we can move on and realize at least a bit of why the Westminster Confession of faith is there, and why it is in place for apparently there are many who do not know.