Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Thursday, September 18, 2008

    Church Membership, Communion and Accountability

    In reading about Ray Boltz, I came across a church website which in it's welcome stated:

    You will find a warm welcome whoever you are -- straight or gay, white or black, Asian or Hispanic, conservative or liberal, old or young, rich or poor, deaf or hearing, married or single, transgender or any gender identity. Like the early Church, we are a rainbow congregation!


    and under it's beliefs in a section entitled "CREEDS" stated:

    "...Our denominational Statement of Faith is tied to the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, which have served as the basic creeds of Christianity since the early days of the Church. Beyond these basics, however, we leave it to each individual to work out the details of his or her faith in accordance with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures. Unlike many churches, we do not feel it is healthy or wise to try to compel each individual to believe exactly alike. We respect our congregants and treat them like adults who have both the responsibility and capacity to discern God's will.


    The question I have is: Does the Bible suggest the Church can only go so far as to affirm the teaching taught in the historic creeds, but is not to declare truth beyond those summarized in the creeds especially in areas of ethics and morality? Beyond this, is the church to refrain from any accountability in keeping with those truths?

    (Any mature reader can see where I'm going already, so I'll be brief.)

    1. In order for people to affirm the teaching of the creeds and confess their sin, sin must first be declared and defined for them.
    2. Neither Jesus nor the apostles limited their teaching to the subjects found in the creeds, but openly and often pointed out areas of sin and called for repentance. (This includes areas involving homosexuality).
    3. Not only does the Bible speak to the issue and necessity of discipline, but the apostles and the church exercised discipline holding Christians accountable.

    Summary: While slogans like "No creed but Christ" and "Our denominational Statement of Faith is tied to the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, which have served as the basic creeds of Christianity since the early days of the Church" may sound good to some, even simple inquiry brings their supposed fortress of high mindedness and self justified relevance to come crumbling down in a moment.

    3 comments:

    jazzycat said...

    Sword,
    Good points. They think guidance by the Holy Spirit as well as Scripture is a loop hole! IOW, a personal revelation from the HS can trump Scripture. However, they are forgetting that Scripture was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Scripture is thus infallible and any revelation that contridicts Scripture is not from the Holy Spirit. Thus, no loop hole exists for imagination theology to trump Scripture!

    Kris said...

    i am a member of the Christian Church (Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ)

    we do have some logo's if you will such as 'no creed but
    Christ', 'where the Bible speaks we speak, where the Bible is silent we are silent', 'we are not the only Christians but Christians only'

    we are, however, a very conservative group (unlike our Disciples of Christ brothers who are liberal in theology)

    kw

    swordbearer said...

    kris,

    Nothing wrong with creeds, but the issue here is - Does the Bible speak (beyond the matter of the creeds) to issues pertaining to morality and ethics. The church(es) in question act as though the church is to remain silent in these areas because the Bible doesn't speak in these areas, which is false.