Last week when we looked at Christology, I included the section on Jesus Christ from the Westminster Confession of Faith. Some may ask what this confession is and why does it matter? Creeds and confessions were used down through the course of church history as a way to nail down theological terms and concepts. Since theology is something that we learn from the Bible by taking the various Scriptures that deal with a particular doctrine and putting it all together to form summaries of what the Bible is saying, some may argue that a particular doctrine is not actually spelled out in the Bible. Doctrines like the Trinity sometimes deal with this argument as the word “Trinity” is not actually used in Scripture. However the information regarding the Trinity and God is one yet being three persons is spelled out for us in the Bible, though not using the term Trinity to define it. So as these doctrines were getting clarified in the early church, creeds and confessions were used to hammer out these details.
An easy, quick read to get an overview of the creeds is Justin Holcomb’s book Know the Creeds and Councils. Understanding these creeds and confessions and how they came about helps us to understand some of the struggles throughout church history to remain faithful to God’s Word and combat heresies. It also shows us the development of theology throughout the course of history. Some of the more famous creeds and confessions include the Nicene Creed, the Apostles’ Creed, the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Heidelberg Catechism.