From the beginning of the New Testament church there have been efforts to set in order the things we believe. Here in our opening text we see that the Apostle, Luke, was inspired of God to do that very thing. He desired to not only tell us what the church believed, but also rank them as the most important things believed. He also wanted to set them in an understandable, easy to follow format. We can follow Luke as he begins with Jesus's lineage, His birth, His youth, His ministry, His miracles, His death, and His resurection and ascension into heaven. Since this time men have worked to continue this effort. The biggest differnce between the Apostle Luke's effort and the rest is simple. Luke was inspired of God, and is therefore flawless and is part of Scripture itself. The rest are works of men. Most all of these are very good and do a good job, but are not Scripture. We will discuss this point in more detail in coming posts.
These efforts of men have taken many differnt forms. They have been done by many different denominations, and many different styles. Among the Baptist, we have many to look to. One format has been in confessions of faith. These are very detailed expressions of the points most surely believed. Some of the most well known are the: 1644 First London Baptist Confession - revised in 1646, 1689 Second London Baptist Confession - originally written in 1677, and the 1900 Fulton Confession of Faith. These works were used to explain in great detail the things the historical Baptist have held to be true in Scripture. The other main format has been Articles of Faith. The Articles of Faith are a simplified summary of these same truths. Every church historically has had articles they were founded on as believing. They have been used as a way to quickly answer the question, "What do you believe?" They have been used also to defend against false teachings that have, from the first century, tried to come into the church. They have also been used as a litmus test for men who feel the call to preach. While they were not ever intended to take the place of Scripture, and never should be, they did make the job of sharing our faith easier.
The reality is that God, thru His infinite goodness and wisdom, has given us the perfect laying out of those things we believe. It is called the Holy Bible. Every word of it is pefect and breathed by the mouth of God. However, it would seem vague and be overwhelming to answer the big question, "What do you believe?", with just handing them a bible. It would be true, but every church could answer the same way and never really answer the question. This was the purpose that was on the mind, and in the heart of the church, in taking the time to write these confessions and articles. These works have stood the test of time and we still hold them in high regard today.
I would like to over the next few weeks begin going thru our Articles of Faith here on our website. I do this in hopes that it gives you the tools to quickly share those things we believe. I also do so in hopes to answer the question some have of: Who are the Primitive Baptist and what do they believe? Please be in prayer for this effort and share these efforts with those that need answers.
God bless you all is my prayer.
Elder John Staten, Pastor