committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

The Legitimacy and Function of Creeds

INTRODUCTION

 

As we approach our study of our confession of faith, we are about to spend many weeks examining one of the historic creeds of the Christian church. As we come to such a study, immediately certain questions arise: Should we even have such a creed? If so, why this creed?

Such questions are sure to arise in our day. In our day there is a tremendous anti-creedal sentiment. A number of factors enter in:

  1. In our democratic society there has been a tendency toward individualism.

  2. In our age there is less and less respect for history.

  3. We are the age of "liberation," all former ages being viewed as times of bondage.

  4. There has been a multiplication of sects and fragments of the church that can no longer agree with the creeds of the church.

  5. There is a great downplaying of doctrine. Methods, social change, experience and gifts are all considered more important.

  6. Probably the greatest fear is that creeds undermine the sufficiency of Scripture.

It is helpful that at the outset we give a definition. The Latin credo means "I believe." Hence, a creed is an exhibition in human language of those doctrines framers of creed believe to be taught in Scripture. Creeds are not laws. They are not legislative enactments in Christ's house. Rather, they are summaries of doctrine extracted from Scripture.

 

I. The Legitimacy of Creeds.

The Scriptures teach us that the church is the "pillar and ground of the truth" (I Tim. 3:15). The church is entrusted with the task of supporting, defending, and promoting the truth. As part of the means to carry out this task, churches have often published confessions of faith. But whenever the church does this, there are many voices raised against it. Three objections predominate.

A. Some argue against the legitimacy of confessions on the premise that confessions undermine the sole authority of Scripture.

1. It is naive to think that the church has wholly discharged her duty as the pillar and ground of the truth when it says it believes the Bible. Most heretics say the same:

To arrive at truth we must dismiss religious prejudices from heart to mind. We must let God speak for himself . . . To let God be true means to let God have the say as to what is the truth that sets men free. It means to accept his word, the Bible, as the truth. Our appeal is to the Bible for truth. (Quoted by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., "In Defence of Creedalism," The Banner of Truth, April 1981, p. 6.)

The problem with this statement is that it comes from Let God Be True, published by the Jehovah's Witnesses. It is a plain fact that not until we state what we believe the Bible teaches do we set ourselves apart from heresy. Samuel Miller wrote:

In the fourth century, when the Church was still more agitated by the prevalence of heresy, there was a still louder demand for accredited tests, by which the heretics were to be tried and detected. Of this demand there never was a more striking instance than in the Council of Nicea, when the heresy of Arius was under the consideration of that far-famed assembly. When the Council entered on the examination of the subject, it was found extremely difficult to obtain from Arius any satisfactory explanation of his views. He was not only as ready, as the most orthodox divine present, to profess that he believed the Bible; but he also declared himself willing to adopt, as his own, all the language of the Scriptures, in detail, concerning the person and character of the blessed Redeemer. But when the members of the Council wished to ascertain in what sense he understood this language, he discovered a disposition to evade and equivocate, and actually, for a considerable time, baffled the attempts of the most ingenious of the orthodox to specify his errors, and to bring them to light. He declared that he was perfectly willing to employ the popular language on the subject in controversy; and wished to have it believed that he differed very little from the body of the Church.

Accordingly the orthodox went over the various titles of Christ plainly expressive of Divinity such as "God," "the true God," the "express image of God," etc. to every one of which Arius and his followers most readily subscribed, claiming a right, however, to put their own construction on the scriptural titles in question. After employing much time and ingenuity in vain, in endeavoring to drag this artful chief from his lurking places, and to obtain from him an explanation of his views, the Council found it would be impossible to accomplish their object as long as they permitted him to entrench himself behind a mere general profession of belief in the Bible.

They therefore did what common sense, as well as the word of God, had taught the Church to do in all preceding times, and what alone can enable her to detect the artful advocate of error. They expressed, in their own language, what they supposed to be the doctrine of Scripture concerning the Divinity of the Savior: in other words, they drew up a confession of faith on this subject, which they called upon Arius and his disciples to subscribe. This the heretics refused; and were thus virtually brought to the acknowledgment that they did not understand the Scriptures as the rest of the Council understood them, and, of course, that the charge against them was correct. (Samuel Miller, "The Utility and Importance of Creeds and Confessions," in Doctrinal Integrity, Presbyterian Heritage Publications, 1989, pp. 21-22.)

2.  The framers of our confession were careful to subordinate the confession to the Scriptures as the only infallible standard of truth. (The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, Chapter 1, Sections 1, 4, 6, 10.)

3. Those who protest against creeds most loudly function by a creed themselves. Those most vigorous against creeds use their own unpublished creeds in their ecclesiastical proceedings. For example, Thomas and Alexander Campbell thought they could remove the evils of "sectarianism" by gathering a church together without a creed, arguing that creeds divide. And yet the "Churches of Christ" are among the most sectarian and "creedal" churches around.

4. Creeds are but interpretations of Scripture. If wrong, they invalidate all other interpretation (preaching, books).

5. The Scriptures imply the legitimacy and necessity of creeds. There is no law in Scripture, "Thou shalt frame creeds." Yet there are good and necessary inferences in Scripture which imply the duty of framing creeds (see Mark 12:26-27).

a.  The Bible calls for public affirmation of faith (Acts 1:8).

b.  There are mini-creeds in the Bible (Rom. 10:9; I Cor. 12:3; Phil. 2:11; I Tim. 3:16).

c.  In Acts 15 the church gathers to address the gospel to a new situation. In the end it formulates in written fashion a creed concerning the issue at hand. This is precisely the situation with reference to the first post-apostolic creeds. To address doctrinal issues men needed to re-cast doctrine in a new mould, in new words, and use language that precisely addressed the error of the times.

B.  Others argue against creeds on the premise that confessions of faith are inconsistent with liberty of conscience before God.

1.  Some would say this regarding all authority, whether from a creed or even Scripture itself. Samuel Miller writes:

From those, then, who have either far departed or at least begun to depart, from "the faith once delivered to the saints," almost exclusively, do we hear of the "oppression," and the "mischief" of creeds and confessions. And is it any marvel that those who maintain the innocence of error should be unwilling to raise fences for keeping it out of the Church? Is it any marvel that the Arian, the Socinian, the Pelagian, and such as are verging toward those fatal errors, should exceedingly dislike all the evangelical formularies which tend to make visible the line of distinction between the friends and the enemies of the redeemer? No; "men," as has been often well observed, "men are seldom opposed to creeds, until creeds have become opposed to them." .

. . . We shall find, with few exceptions, that whenever a group of men began to slide, with respect to orthodoxy, they generally attempted to break, if not to conceal, their fall, by declaiming against creeds and confessions. (Doc. Integ., p. 25)

2.  Others are far more sincere in raising this objection. Their concern is the authority of Scripture. The 1689 Confession addresses this issue in plain terms.

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath justify it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his Word, or not contained in it. So that to believe such doctrines, or obey such commands out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring of an implicit faith, and absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience and reason also. (Chapter 21, Section 2, p. 31)

Such an objection would have more weight if subscription to creeds were enforced by civil government, or if when one joined a church he was required to subscribe to the church's doctrine without being able to inspect its creed. Of the right to frame creeds, Samuel Miller writes:

It will not, surely, be denied by anyone, that a body of Christians have a right, in every free country, to associate and walk together upon such principles as they may choose to agree upon, not inconsistent with public order. They have a right to agree and declare how they understand the Scriptures; what articles found in Scripture they concur in considering as fundamental; and in what manner they will have their public preaching and polity conducted, for the edification of themselves and their children. They have no right, indeed, to decide or to judge for others, nor can they compel any man to join them. But it is surely their privilege to judge for themselves, to agree upon the plan of their own association, to determine upon what principles they will receive other members into their brotherhood, and to form a set of rules which will exclude from their body those with whom they cannot walk in harmony. The question is not whether they make, in all cases, a wise and scriptural use of this right to follow the dictates of conscience, but whether they possess the right at all? They are, indeed, accountable for the use which they make of it, and solemnly accountable to their Master in heaven; but to man they surely cannot, and ought not, to be compelled to give any account. It is their own concern. (Doc. Integ., p. 35)

C.  Subscription to creeds restricts and discourages free inquiry.

1.  A man in the ministry who is so unstable that he is not certain of truths he says he believes, is not qualified for the ministry.

2.  Scripture warns against those who are "ever learning and never able to come to knowledge of the truth" (II Tim. 1:7).

3.  Any time a man changes his views, he should be honest and make it known.

 

II.  Functions of Creeds.

A. Creeds serve as a clearly-defined basis for ecclesiastical fellowship.

1. Local Church Fellowship.

The Scriptures envisage a church not as a conglomerate of those who have agreed to differ, but as a body marked by unity. It is to constantly give diligence "to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3). This does not mean that it is to function by some unstated agreement by which it is understood that none of its members is ever to bring up those doctrinal issues over which Christians have been divided. Rather, it is to have one mind in doctrinal matters. Carefully note the following admonitions:

Now the God of patience and comfort grant you to be of the same mind one with another according to Jesus Christ: That with one accord ye may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 15:5, 6).

Stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel" (Phil. 1:27).

Make full my joy, that ye be of the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind" (Phil. 2:2).

Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (I Cor. 1:10).

The Scriptures also counsel against the naive notion that people can function in intimate harmony while holding to mutually exclusive convictions. "Shall two walk together, except they have agreed" (Amos 3:3)? Jesus said, "Every . . . house divided against itself shall not stand" (Matt. 12:25). When we descend to particulars all of this becomes all the more evident:

a.  The Tasks of the Church.

b.  The Members of the Church.

"We, who are many, are one body in Christ, and severally members one of another" (Rom. 12:5). If we are so intimately joined together we have a deep interest in knowing what those to whom we are joined believe. When someone applies to a church for membership both the applicant and the church have a right to know what the other party believes.

1)  The church has a right to know what an applicant for membership believes.

2)  Those who join the church have a right to know what the church believes. Every wise man, before joining a church, will want to find out what its creed is. All churches have such a creed, either written down or generally understood by its members. But those who have no published creed manifest disorderliness, if not dishonesty.

By all of this we do not mean that every member must have advanced views of Biblical doctrine in order to gain entrance into and maintain membership in a confessional church. Andrew Fuller makes this excellent observation:

If a religious community agree to specify some leading principles which they consider as derived from the word of God, and judge the belief of them to be necessary in order to any person's becoming or continuing a member with them, it does not follow that those principles should be equally understood, or that all their brethren must have the same degree of knowledge, nor yet that they should understand and believe nothing else. The powers and capacities of different persons are various; one may comprehend more of the same truth than another, and have his views more enlarged by an exceedingly great variety of kindred ideas; and yet the substance of their belief may still be the same. The object of articles is to keep at a distance, not those who are weak in the faith, but such as are its avowed enemies. (The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, Sprinkle Publications, 1988, 3:450)

c.  The Protection of the Church.

How is the church to avoid harboring within its own bosom and countenancing by its fellowship the worst of heresies? It is not enough that we agree that all our members agree that the Scriptures are our only infallible authority, for many heretics profess the same.

Professor Martin warns: "A church without a confession of faith may as well advertise that it is prepared to be a harbour for every kind of damning heresy and to be the soil for any who are given to growing the crop of novelty. A church without a confession of faith has the theological and ecclesiastical equivalent of AIDS, with no immunity against the infectious winds of false doctrine." (A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, Evangelical Press, 1989, pp. 18-19)

2. Inter-Church Fellowship.

What is true of fellowship within a local church is also true of fellowship between churches. Just as individuals are strengthened by identifying themselves with a local expression of the Body of Christ, so churches are strengthened by their association with other churches that adhere to the truth.

But what church would venture such ecclesiastical intercourse with another body which had no public statement of faith? Such a church might prove to be a source of pollution and disorder. How could we invite one of its ministers to our pulpits with confidence? One minister might prove orthodox. The next might sow the seeds of disunity and heresy!

B. Creeds serve as a public standard of church discipline.

We are to "mark them that are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which ye learned: and turn away from them" (Rom. 16:17). Those who trouble the peace of the church by false doctrine are to be dealt with decisively: "A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject" (Titus 3:10, NASV). Now it is only fair that every church member know what doctrinal standard will be employed against those who have gone astray.

For the same reason we let people who join our church know what moral standard will be expected of them. Andrew Fuller draws attention to the parallel that exists between a moral standard and a doctrinal standard of discipline:

If a Christian society have no right to judge what is truth, and to render an agreement with them in certain points a term of communion, then neither have they a right to judge what is righteousness, nor to render an agreement in matters of practical right and wrong a term of communion.

There is a great diversity of sentiment in the world concerning morality, as well as doctrine; and if it be an unscriptural imposition to agree to any articles whatever, it must be to exclude any one for immorality, or even to admonish him on that account; for it might be alleged that he only thinks for himself, and acts accordingly. Nor would it stop here: almost every species of immorality has been defended and may be disguised, and thus, under the pretence of a right of private judgment, the church of God would become like the mother of harlots "the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." (Works, 3:450)

C. Creeds serve as a teaching aid within the church.

The sheer volume of the Bible 1,189 chapters and over 773,000 words prohibits the new Christian from an immediate full comprehension of its doctrines. Nevertheless, the impartation of this truth is laid upon the church (Deut. 6:4-25; Matt. 28:19-20). The church is responsible to impart the "form of teaching," i.e., sound doctrine (Rom. 6:17; II Tim. 1:13) to those brought within its company. Creeds give us the fruit, not just of one preacher's labors, but of the combined labors of hundreds of men over hundreds of years. Spurgeon commented:

This little volume . . . is not issued as an authoritative rule, or code of faith, whereby you are to be fettered, but as an assistance to you in controversy, a confirmation in faith, and a means of edification in righteousness. Here the younger members of our church will have a body of divinity in small compass, and by means of the Scriptural proofs, will be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in them.

Be not ashamed of your faith; remember it is the ancient gospel of martyrs, confessors, reformers and saints. Above all, it is the truth of God, against which the gates of Hell cannot prevail.

Let your lives adorn your faith, let your example adorn your creed. Above all live in Christ Jesus, and walk in Him, giving credence to no teaching but that which is manifestly approved of Him, and owned by the Holy Spirit. Cleave fast to the Word of God which is here mapped out for you. (Preface, 1689 Confession, p. 8.)

D. Creeds function as a check upon new teachings arising within the church.

1.  The use of such a standard in judging new teachings is in keeping with apostolic example. I John 4:1 gives this warning: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world." Upon giving this warning, John immediately provides a doctrinal test (creed) by which such teachers are to be judged: "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that confesseth not Jesus is not of God." This credo was formulated in response to a particular heresy then threatening the church: docetism. John uses the same creed in II Jn. 10. Paul uses another creedal standard against those preaching "another gospel" in Gal. 1:8-9.

2.  The use of such a standard is in keeping with the historical continuity of the Spirit's teaching ministry throughout the history of the church. Christ promised that He would send the Spirit to the apostles in order that He might guide them into all truth (John 16:13, 14). This same Spirit is the "anointing" John says is given to every believer in order that he might be taught the truth (I Jn. 2:20, 21). He abides with the church and continues to teach it (v. 27). He has been present with the church throughout every generation of its history. Our confession of faith is the product of the Spirit's work throughout sixteen centuries. Kenneth Gentry writes:

The fact that the truth of Scripture is of no ‘private interpretation' is a foundational principle of creedal theology. No interpreter of Scripture works alone. All must build on the past labours of godly predecessors. It is not the interpreters or groups of exegetes who agree with the historic, orthodox interpretations of the past and who find themselves in the mainstream of Christian thought who are suspect. Rather it is those who present novel deviations from historic Christendom who deserve careful scrutiny. Creeds help to preserve the essential core of true Christian faith from generation to generation. ("In Defense of Creedalism," The Banner of Truth, April 1981, p. 11)

E. Creeds function as a concise standard by which to evaluate ministers.

A pastor is to be a "faithful man" (II Tim. 2:2), "holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict the gainsayers" (Tit. 1:9). How are such men to be evaluated? A confession of faith makes it relatively simple for the church to enquire about a man's convictions over a broad range of Biblical doctrines.

F. Creeds help the church fulfill her role in the world as the depository and guardian of the orthodox Christian faith.

Jude exhorts Christians: "Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). As the "pillar and ground of the truth" (I Tim. 3:5), the church must uphold the truth. Her leaders are to "hold fast" the form of sound doctrine "committed" unto them (II Tim. 1:13, 14). The whole church must "strive together for the faith of the gospel" (Phil. 1:27).

How may the church do this without drawing a clear line of demarcation between those who profess to believe the Bible but in reality deny essential scriptural doctrines and those who are faithful to the faith once delivered unto the saints? It can only be done by stating its beliefs in such unmistakable terms as to exclude error and heresy. This is exactly what we find John doing in I. Jn. 4:2, 3. James Bannerman writes:

We find the Apostle John re-casting and re-stating the doctrine of Christ's manifestation in this world; and adapting the form of words in which he re-announces the doctrine to the purpose of meeting the errors which, under the previous terms in which it had been announced, and in spite of them, had crept into the Church. That "Jesus Christ is the Son of God," and that "He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many," was a doctrine revealed before, and held by the Church as the fundamental article of its faith. But under the shelter of the language in which it had been revealed and professed, there had, even in the apostle's day, "many deceivers entered into the world, who confessed not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh." The Docetists did not deny what the entire Scriptures averred: they did not deny that, in one sense of the terms, Christ had been manifested in the world as the Saviour; but in accordance with their own speculative theories, they held that His manifestation was spiritual, and not real that His coming was not in a real body, but as a spiritual phantasm, thus subverting the essential doctrine of the Incarnation. And John felt and acted on the necessity of re-casting in other language that fundamental article of the Church, and exhibiting it in a new form of words fitted to meet the novel heresy. Both in his Gospel and his Epistles he owned the necessity of re-stating the doctrine in fresh language; and he accordingly declares in the one, that "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us;" and in the other, "Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God;" "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God." (The Church of Christ, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1974, 1:292.

In the same fashion Paul must clearly formulate the doctrine of the resurrection so as to exclude those who spoke of the resurrection but only in spiritual terms (I Tim. 1:20; II Tim. 2:17, 18). Again, when the doctrine of justification by faith was under attack by the Judaizers, the apostles and elders at Jerusalem found it necessary, not to invent a new doctrine, but to restate the old doctrine in such a way as to exclude new errors (Acts 15).

This has been the duty of the church, not only for the sake of those within, but also because of those without. Bannerman writes:

It has an office to discharge even to the unbelieving world without, and to those enemies who have separated themselves from her, because they were not of her. She has the office to discharge of being a witness and a protest for the truth against both. And in no other way can this duty be performed, except by adapting her public profession of the truth to the form and fashion of the error, and closing the bulwarks of the Church with an armed defence at every point where the enemy may threaten to enter. Had the adoption of confessions and creeds not been a duty laid upon the Church by a regard to her own members, it would have been a necessity laid upon the Church by a regard to those not her members, but her enemies. Human standards would have been needed, even if for no other reason than to repel the assaults and inroads of heresy and unbelief; when the very language of Scripture is misused to the utterance of falsehood, and the terms of God's own Word perverted so as to assail therewith God's truth. Had there been no other ground for the adoption of human language in expressing the faith of the Church, or for the introduction of human formularies of faith, there would have been ground sufficient in the fact of the existence and prevalence of unscriptural error and heresy couched in Scriptural language. . . . In no other way could the Church discharge her office as a witness and protest against the world, as well as in behalf of Christ, except by making her articles and formulas of belief counterparts to the heresies around her, and drawing out her confession of faith less upon the form and mould of truth, than upon the form and mould of falsehood. (The Church of Christ, 1:301-302)

G. Creeds offer a witness to the truth to those outside the church.

One of the ways by which the church is the "light of the world" (Matt. 5:14) is in its public declaration of the truth in a well-composed creed. Outsiders have a right to ask, "What do you believe?" Non creedal churches deem it sufficient to reply, "We believe the Bible." But we are persuaded that we must go further. We are convinced that in order to be honest we must not only say, "We believe the Bible," but also, "We have written out exactly what we believe the Bible teaches."

In presenting the Christian message in this way several ends are achieved: 1) the inquirer is furnished with a clear outline of the fundamental tenets of Christianity; 2) the gospel is defined over and against error; 3) a witness is given to the unity and order of the Christian system; 4) the rational, objective content of Christianity (as opposed to blind non-intellectual mysticism) is demonstrated; and 5) the continuity and immutability of the historic Christian faith is established.

 

III. Subscription to Creeds.

Three graces are essential to those who subscribe to a creed:

A. Honesty.

Subscription to a confession of faith is an act that ought to be regarded, not as a mere formality, but as a solemn transaction entered upon with a consciousness of the awesome ever-present gaze of the God of truth. Samuel Miller pleads for such honesty in the following manner:

It is certainly a transaction which ought to be entered upon with much deep deliberation and humble prayer; and in which, if a man be bound to be sincere in anything, he is bound to be honest to his God, honest to himself, and honest to the church which he joins. For myself, I know of no transaction in which insincerity is more justly chargeable with the dreadful sin of "lying to the Holy Ghost" than in this. It is truly humiliating and distressing to know that in some churches it has gradually become customary to consider articles of faith as merely articles of peace: in other words, as articles which he who subscribes is not considered as professing to believe, but as merely engaging not to oppose at least in any public or offensive manner. (Doc. Integ., pp. 59-60)

Such honesty must not only mark our initial engagements but also our conduct as long as we profess to adhere to a confession of faith. It is nothing less than treasonous to profess faithfulness to one set of doctrines while subtly espousing opposite views. And if it is dangerous to the peace of the church when its members are dishonest, how much more so is this the case when its ministers begin with one profession and gradually begin to introduce another. If our views change we should be honest about it. We should inform the appropriate parties and even, if necessary, withdraw and find a group with which we can join without duplicity. Samuel Miller writes:

If he should, at any time, alter his views concerning any part of the creed or order of the church in question, it will be incumbent on him to inquire whether the points, concerning which he has altered his mind, are of such a nature as that he can conscientiously be silent concerning them, and "give no offense" to the body to which he belongs. If he can reconcile this with an enlightened sense of duty, he may remain in peace. But if the points, concerning which his views have undergone a change, are of so much importance in his estimation, as that he cannot be silent, but must feel himself bound to publish, and endeavor to propagate them; then let him peaceably withdraw, and join some other branch of the visible Church, with which he can walk harmoniously. Such he may find almost everywhere, unless his views be singularly eccentric. But, at any rate, he has no more right to insist on remaining and being permitted publicly to oppose what he has solemnly vowed to receive and support than a member of any voluntary association, which he entered under certain engagements, but with which he no longer agrees, has a right obstinately to retain his connection with it, and to avail himself of the influence which his connection gives him, to endeavor to tear it in pieces. (Doc. Integ., pp. 62-63)

J. Gresham Machen confronted this problem in his battle with the liberals at the beginning of this century. In his famous book, Christianity and Liberalism, he illustrated the principle in this way:

Suppose in a political campaign in America there be formed a Democratic club for the purpose of furthering the cause of the Democratic party. Suppose there are certain other citizens who are opposed to the tenets of the Democratic club and in opposition desire to support the Republican party. What is the honest way for them to accomplish their purpose? Plainly it is simply the formation of a Republican club which shall carry on a propaganda in favor of Republican principles. But suppose, instead of pursuing this simple course of action, the advocates of Republican principles should conceive the notion of making a declaration of conformity to Democratic principles, thus gaining an entrance into the Democratic club and finally turning its resources into an anti-Democratic propaganda. That plan might be ingenious. But would it be honest? (Christianity and Liberalism, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1968, p.169)

B. Courage.

Let us play the man, stand at our post and courageously defend the faith for which others have shed their blood!

C. Self-denial.

Buy the truth and sell it not" (Prov. 23:23). The truth is so valuable that it must not be sold at any price. But the temptations the enticing "offers" to part with this precious treasure will be many. You will be tempted to part with doctrines which are unpalatable to the world for the sake of respectability. But if you have bought the truth and are determined not to sell it at any price, it will cost you something. Are you willing to pay the price?

 
 
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