This fall we will resume a study emphasis, along with corporate prayer, as part of our midweek gatherings of the church. Our focus will be the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith.
Each week we will tackle one of the thirty-two chapters of this grand document covering everything from the Scriptures (chapter one) to the Last Judgment (chapter 32). A rotation of facilitators will take us through the paragraphs of each chapter followed by group discussion.
This direction begs the question. Why study our confession of faith?
Answer? Because of the ultimate identity of the church of Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul stated this reality in 1 Timothy 3:14-15.
14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
A pillar and buttress of truth. This word picture would have connected well with the Ephesians given the temple of Artemis and its towering pillars. John Stott explains:
Regarded as one of the seven wonders of the world, it boasted 100 Ionic columns, each over 18 meters high, which together lifted its massive, shining, marble roof. Just so, the church holds the truth aloft, so that it is seen and admired by the world. Indeed, as pillars lift a building high while remaining themselves unseen, so the church’s function is not to advertise itself but to advertise and display the truth.
The word "buttress" is also translated "foundation" where the additional idea comes into play that along with pillar and holding high the truth, the church must buttress or hold firm the truth seeing that it doesn’t collapse under the burden of false teaching.
And so Paul exhorts Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:3 to "charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine" and in 1 Timothy 4:13 "to devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching."
Hold firm the truth; hold high the truth. That’s the cause. That’s the mission. This defines our ultimate identity--promote and protect the truth.
Historically the church has sought to accomplish this strategic mission by publishing confessions of faith. It is not enough to say we believe the Bible. For a variety of reasons--not the least of which is the church's ultimate identity--we must articulate what we believe the Bible says about all that it reveals.
Please prayerfully consider joining us this September as we embark on this study to sharpen our knowledge of the truth which we are charged to hold high and hold firm in the Clearwater Valley.