Confessing Theology HelpsPosted: October 18, 2010 Filed under: Reformed Confessions, Systematic Theology Leave a comment
To maintain the purity of doctrine. . .
In the course of time the church has been assaulted by damnable heresies. The church had to clearly express what she stood for. The heretics have often awakened the church and caused her to stand firm on the truth once delivered to her. Without Arius Athanasius would not have performed his life work. Without Donatus and Pelagius Augustine would not have developed to such an outstanding theologian. The church had profit even from the struggles against heretics.
The church against Arius clearly testified of Divine nature of Christ and the doctrine of the Holy Trinity as portrayed by Athanasius was made into a confession. At the council of Carthage in 418 Pelagianism was completely banished and condemned. The heretics forced the church to conduct a deep exegesis. Actually the salvation of souls was at stake. Over against deceit they had to place the truth in clear formulations. These became confessions.
To be tolerant here would have shown a lack of character. When scripture has spoken and Christ has made this message clear to the church then the church may sign no pact of tolerance but must be sharp in portraying and exposing deceit and lying.
The church used thereby the Word of God and could plead and experience and trust the promise of Christ that the Holy Spirit would lead into all truth. In clear words the church could state that she believes and confesses and condemns.
This was again the case during the reformation. Calvin wanted to maintain the purity in doctrine by also letting the children of Geneva study the truth in catechism. This catechism would lead the children to do confession of faith. The confession of the church was seen as a means to maintain the purity of doctrine.