From Your Pastors’ Desk
On January 15th during worship, our elected Elders vowed to:
“Sincerely receive and adopt the essential tenets of the Reformed faith as expressed in the confessions of our church as authentic and reliable expositions of what Scripture leads us to believe and do, and [they vowed to be] instructed and led by those confessions as [they] lead the people of God.”
So, what does “confessions of the church,” mean exactly. Usually when we think of confession, we think of confession of sins. But this ordination vow is referring to something different—it is referring to the historical confessions of faith. Throughout our Christian history, men and women have sought to articulate what they believe. Many know of the Apostles Creed or the Nicene Creed but there are many others, all written in different time periods. The Presbyterian Church (USA) actually has 12 confessions of faith, which we follow.
Through the generations these confessions of faith have helped educate new believers, while also helping to create common ground for believers. Some people might wonder why these confessions matter, especially some of them that are so long and have hard to understand theological language? Well first of all, these confessions connect us to our Christian roots and the saints who walked this earth before us. Secondly, these confessions confront and negotiate hard theological debates that help unify us in what we believe. We don’t have to rethink the wheel so to speak. We have faithful people who have read scripture and sought God’s holy word to help lead us. It is important to note that the confessions always have and always will play a secondary role to the Bible. Scripture is our ultimate authority as people of faith; confessions simply help us to understand scripture.
Since these confessions are so important to our tradition as Presbyterians, we feel it is important for all of us to become more familiar with them. Therefore starting in February, we will begin reciting a confession or a part of a confession in worship. The confession will be said in unison following the sermon, as a confession of faith is a good response to the hearing of God’s word. It is our sincerest hope this will help us become more familiar with the confessions. But more than that, it will nurture all of us in faith as we proclaim what we believe, confirming our connection with our beautiful history.
Pastor Bala & Pastor Cheryl Khyllep