We Believe

Why have a Statement of Faith? What does a Statement of Faith do? This past Sunday we began a new series teaching through our church’s Statement of Faith, and we invite you to listen to our opening class as we considered the significance and importance of the creeds and confessions of the church, and how those have led to OBC’s Statement of Faith.
Statements of Faith are important for the life of a local church. Doctrinal statements serve to guard the truth of Scripture and guide the teaching of the local church, and they are useful for discipling the church in the doctrines of the Bible.

Statements of Faith are nothing new, as they have served the church well throughout history. If you look closely, you will also see them in the New Testament. For example, here’s one early creedal statement given to the church by Paul in 1 Timothy 3:16:
Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.
As we continue into the fall, we invite you to read and study our Statement of Faith with us. Consider the following reasons:

1. For Discipleship

Be it for your own personal growth, or as an aid in discipling others, we invite you to get to know our Statement of Faith as it provides an overview of what we believe and teach here at Occoquan Bible Church. Our Statement of Faith provides a helpful overview of the faith, and can be used as a study guide to introduce new believers to the teachings of the Bible.

2. For Guarding the Truth

Our Statement of Faith is written to guard the truth, and to help guard our church family against heresy and error. Like many of the creeds of old, aspects of our Statement of Faith have been added in response to false teachings of our day. For example, while our teaching has not changed, it has become necessary to explicitly define marriage as being between a man and a woman and to define what it means to be a man and a woman according to biological sex which is God’s immutable design.

We recognize that our Statement of Faith is not a perfect document, for it is not inerrant or inspired like Holy Scripture. Because of this, we have found it helpful to make edits when there have been places where we could align our statement more closely with Scripture and bring greater clarity to how we communicate the truths of God’s Word.

3. To Guide our Teaching

There are many theological persuasions, but OBC’s Statement of Faith distills the convictions of our church family. These theological lines give clarity to agreements and differences between this local church and other local churches. Moreover, as we have taught before, these articles focus our attention on gospel truths and the way our church is ordered by the gospel.

4. For Growing in the Truth

It is important that we not only understand the gospel, but that we grow in the knowledge of the Lord and in our understanding of the truth that he has revealed to us in the Bible. We are to grow from infancy (1 Pet 2:2-3) to understand the elementary doctrines or basic principles of God’s Word and grow in maturity to consume solid food (Heb 5:12-14). While not all of us should be teachers (James 3:1), we should all grow in the knowledge of God and his Word so that we might be mature in Christ and disciple others.

5. To Root our Faith

The Church is built on Christ the Cornerstone, and on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph 2:20). The deposit of the faith has been handed down from generation to generation, and we owe a debt of gratitude for the rich theological heritage that we have received. It is good for us to see the ancient roots of our family tree, and how creeds and confessions have served to guard the gospel from the past and to the present. As we study our Statement of Faith, we will see that it was not written in a vacuum, but it descends from the creeds and confessions of the saints who have gone before us.

Creeds, confessions, and statements of faith have served the church well throughout history. Among these are the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and the Definition of Chalcedon. Going into the Protestant Reformation and forward, we continue to see our theological heritage in the work of the reformers, the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), the Westminster Confession (1647), the London Baptist Confession (1689), and the Abstract of Principles (1858). While we recognize some confessional differences, we owe a debt of gratitude for how the deposit of the gospel has been handed down to us.

6. A Rallying Point in Times of Conflict

Finally, creeds, confessions, catechisms, and statements of faith serve as a rallying point during times of difficulty, conflict, and persecution. When questions arise, they serve as a helpful point of reference. When life is difficult, they provide words of comfort: What is my only hope in life and death? That I am not my own, but belong to God (Q&A 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism). When facing decisions, they can help to guide us: What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy him forever (Q&A 1 of the Westminster Catechism). When embattled by evil, they remind us of the truth of who God is, and the centuries of our brothers and sisters who have made the good confession.

Do you remember the Palm Sunday church bombings in 2017? Dozens were killed and injured, and I distinctly remember how church members gathered outside and together recited the Nicene Creed. This confession of the deity of Christ is a battle cry of faith.

A Closing Invitation

In an age filled with unbelief and competing heresies, it is essential for the church to guard the truth and hold fast to the confession of our faith (1 Tim 6:20; 2 Tim 1:14; Heb 4:14; Heb 10:23).

We invite you to join us in the sanctuary during the Sunday School hour, and we pray that the weeks ahead will be edifying and encouraging as we walk in truth together.

Recommended Resources for Further Study

Benjamin Purves