*Below you will find what some blog readers (and others) have requested–a model Statement of Faith of a Christian community. I wrote this for the seminary where I taught for 22 years–at the request of the then seminary dean. The faculty voted to approve it as the official Statement of Faith of the seminary. I make no claims about this statement of faith other than it is an example of one. This follows the previous blog post here about the importance of doctrines. No member of the seminary community was ever asked to sign or swear allegiance to this statement. Rather it is used to show inquirers what the seminary faculty generally believes (consensus). Potential faculty member are asked to read it and respond as to whether they are in general agreement with it or not (and if not, why). So it is not a creed; a creed is a statement of faith that is authoritative and (normally) not open to question or revision. In a Christian community a creed is binding on members, especially leaders. A creed is more than a consensus statement of a community’s common beliefs. Another seminary requires every faculty member to sign the Baptist Faith and Message annually, even publicly. That makes it a creed. The difference between a creed and a confession statement of faith, a “consensus statement,” is subtle but definite. It has to do with how it is used.
*If you choose to respond, do so in a civil and respectful manner and stay on topic and strictly avoid ‘flaming’.” This blog is a safe space for dialogue, not a discussion board where “anything goes.”
A Statement of the Common Faith of the Seminary
This statement of faith reflects the consensus of the faculty and administration of George W. Truett Theological Seminary; it is not a creed or instrument of doctrinal accountability but an expression of general doctrinal agreement.
We believe that Jesus Christ is God, Savior and Lord of all creation; he is the perfect revelation of God as well as God incarnate, the only mediator between God and humanity.
We believe in the omnipotent God who eternally exists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit: three divine persons sharing one eternal divine life and being. God is the creator of all whose rule knows no end.
We believe that human persons are created in God=s image and likeness but that all persons (except Jesus Christ) come into the world under the curse of sin and need redemption when they attain the age of accountability.
We believe the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ provide the only redemption from sin and that Christ died for all people; reconciliation and new life connected to God are possible only through his death and resurrection.
Salvation by Grace
We believe that salvation is by God’s grace alone through faith and that people cannot save themselves by works of righteousness but that works of righteousness are products of the Holy Spirit who indwells believers by faith.
We believe that authentic Christian life begins with conversion to Christ which involves repentance and faith in him; conversion to Christ results in justification (forgiveness) and regeneration (new birth). These are gifts that cannot be earned or inherited.
Scripture and Creeds
We believe that the sixty-six books of Holy Scripture are inspired by God’s Spirit and are the sole supreme authority under God for Christian believing and living; Jesus Christ is the norm by which we interpret Scripture. Creeds and confessional statements are not instruments of doctrinal accountability but expressions of common faith under the authority of Christ and Scripture.
We believe that the church was instituted by Jesus Christ to be the people of God and is made up of all true believers regardless of race, gender, age or station in life; the church visible is the local congregation of believers.
The Lord’s Return and Last Things
We believe that Jesus Christ will return to raise all the dead, judge people and nations, consign Satan and his followers to hell and bring into heaven all who believe in him by faith.
Sexuality and Marriage
We believe, on the basis of biblical teaching and together with the vast majority of Christians throughout the ages, that sex is intended by God solely for marriage between one man and one woman.
We believe in the autonomy of the local congregation, separation of church and state and voluntary cooperation between congregations for evangelism and education.
We believe in freedom of conscience from government domination or control and in the liberty and competency of every Christian believer to interpret Scripture and go directly to God in prayer.
We believe in two ordinances instituted by Christ to be observed by his people until he returns: water baptism of believers by immersion and the Lord’s Supper.