hero_Our Beliefs

Our Beliefs

We hold to the historic views of Christianity as summarized by the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms.

Why Do We Need Creeds and Confessions of Faith?

Why does Providence Presbyterian Church say the Apostles’ Creed and hold to the Westminster Confession of Faith? A creed is simply a statement of faith. (The Latin word credo means “I believe.”) Longer, more detailed creeds are called Confessions of Faith. It is impossible to have no creed. Every church has certain beliefs – the difference is that some write down their beliefs and some do not. Even the most anti-creedal churches require conformity to some statement of belief before they will let a man hold a position of authority in their church. For example, a man who denies Jesus is God cannot serve as an officer in many anti-creedal churches. A creed does not undermine the sufficiency of Scripture, rather it summarizes what Scripture asserts. Creedal standards are derived from and subject to the Bible.

The Benefits of Creeds

  1. Creeds provide a basis for church fellowship and ministry. When two walk together they must be in agreement (Amos 3:3) because “a house divided against itself cannot stand” (Matthew 12:25). Public statements of faith are necessary for the unity and direction of the church. Members may not agree with a church’s creed on every point, but they know what will be taught from the pulpit. Prospective members need to know what the church believes about particular issues so that they may make a well-informed decision about joining.
  2. Creeds serve as tools for Christian Education. The church is committed to teach the Bible’s truth to others (Deuteronomy 6:4-25). Biblical truth must be organized in order for it to be taught. Creeds, such as the Westminster Confession of Faith, concisely summarize the vast content of the Scriptures into teachable subject areas. The Westminster Assembly not only wrote the Confession of Faith, but they also wrote the Larger and Shorter Catechisms as well. Catechisms are questions and answers about Scriptural truths for the purpose of effective Christian education. Historically, as churches abandoned the Catechisms, understanding of Scripture and consequently obedience to it have declined.
  3. Creeds help to preserve theological orthodoxy. Scripture often warns us to actively guard theological orthodoxy. For example, 1 John 4:1 says to be wary of false prophets, and then 1 John 4:2-3 gives us the creed “Jesus is God” as a standard which true teachers will acknowledge. The Apostle’s Creed was developed to identify true Christian beliefs in the midst of heretical teaching. Creeds, therefore, are to be one of the filters which we can use to sift through questionable doctrines.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

In 1643, the Westminster Assembly was called to guide the English Parliament in Christian doctrine, worship, and church government. The Assembly consisted of the finest church representatives of their day. They met in Westminster Abbey for five years, producing the Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, and the Book of Church Order. The doctrinal standards of the Assembly became the most widely accepted and influential body of Christian teaching in the English speaking world.

Also see this excellent article on creeds and confessions.

A short collection of resources for those new to the Reformed faith can be found on the Links page.