Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Westminster Confession of Faith

I was raised in the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. This and a few other denominations hold the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) as their basis. I just read through the thing online. Its longer than I remember from my youth.

And I certainly don't base my faith on it anymore.

I went to the document with an agenda. I have been listening a lot lately to teaching from The Meeting House church in Canada. They are an Anabaptist church and consider themselves neither Catholic nor Protestant. They have a different perspective. And I must say, the more I hear, the more closely aligned to my perspective their views seem (except the actual baptism issue, but maybe we'll get there in the end). Anyway, they as Christians point primarily to the teachings of Christ as a basis for faith and lifestyle. They had previously pointed out (and I blogged about) that many of the Creeds of the church jump straight from the (virgin) birth of Jesus directly to his death and resurrection, completely missing the things that he said during his ministry. I wanted to see if the WCoF did the same thing.

It does. As far as this confession of faith is concerned, Jesus may as well not have had a ministry at all. His only role on this planet was to die.

I can't subscribe to that. The message of the gospels is that the one eternal God somehow incarnated himself as a man and walked among us for years. He had a 'gospel' to share - good news for all men.

Wow. Just think about that. This wasn't some prophet bringing the message of God to us second-hand. This was God himself speaking. And we have four different accounts of the things he said and did - a pretty good account of his teaching. Should we not listen primarily to what he had to say? Apparently not, for many who claim to follow him, his words have become something secondary. Indeed, if the WCoF is to be taken at face value then the words of Paul carry so much more weight than the words of Jesus - the majority of citations in there are from the epistles, not from the gospels.

A Christian should follow Christ... right? That's what the word means. So why don't we follow his teachings?

There were plenty of other issues raied by my reading of the WCoF, but I'll hold the rest back for another posting. That's enough for now.


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