The debate between complementarianism and egalitarianism has been raging on for years. But these terms are meaningless for Christians to discuss and debate unless a foundation is laid. Only after biblical anthropology is laid from Genesis 1 will Genesis 2 and the rest of Scripture make sense.
In confessional denominations, one of the most debated issues is about subscription. Here is the question at hand: To what degree should an elder or eldership subscribe to a denomination’s Confession of Faith?
A Confession of Faith serves as a tool for discipleship. Because of its robust theology – unlike most statements of faith – a confession can help a Christian understand the depth of Holy Scripture in great detail.
I think it’s fair to say the love offered by the culture is wildly confusing, and the definition of love changes with the wind. But what if we could know a love that is consistent, true, and pure? I think Holy Scripture provides a way for us to think about love that edifies and endures.
The church exists to make disciples. Got it. But Jesus did not stop at what the church is supposed to do. He told us what to do. When a person becomes a disciple of Jesus Christ, the church responds in two ways. First, the church is to baptize. Second, the church is to teach. In particular, elders teach (1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1). And Jesus is specific about what is taught to disciples of Jesus Christ. What Jesus commanded his disciples, those disciples are to teach others.
Advent means the arrival of a noble person. Other than my parents, no one was talking about the advent of Shawn Powers. So, when I arrived in the world, my mom was just grateful to survive the arrival of another set of sons. (Yes, there are two sets of twins in my family.) But the birth of Christ is different. We observe advent because the arrival of Jesus changed the world.
A Confession of Faith is not a systematic theology book. A systematic theology book has its place, but it is not a functional expression of faith for a local church. A person could study systematic theology for a lifetime and die realizing they have only scratched the surface. And there is the other end of the spectrum. A Confession of Faith cannot be summed up in a few statements on a church website.
It has become fashionable for many non-mainline Protestant churches to be vague about theology and doctrine. And the traditional mainline protestant churches have jettisoned their historic creeds and confessions. If not on paper, then with function. The reasons for the ambiguity are numerous. However, what is trendy is not historical. For most of church history, denominations and churches had robust creeds and confessions. These creeds and confessions provided clarity, which helped guard against heresy and doctrinal confusion.
God is at work in other churches. God, the Holy Spirit, is meeting the church’s needs down the street and across town. And it takes looking up and past the present circumstances to see the greater gospel mission. There are several great churches in the Des Moines metro, but I want to take a moment to highlight a few that are meaningful to me.
People are divided into classes by economics, race, ethnic background, country, and religion. At present, in America, a new class is emerging. A new division is being created. The division is between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.