Thursday, May 31, 2007

Some Final Thoughts on Subscription....

I'll offer a few final thoughts on confessional subscription for your consideration and comments:

1. Strict subscription is the best way to preserve a denomination's doctrinal integrity, but in order for it to be a realistic option, the confession subscribed to must be restricted to those doctrines that are essential to the denomination's theological system. If the length of the creation days are essential to such a system, for example, then let the confession reflect this. If not, then don't mention it.

2. A confession that is sufficiently vague about peripheral issues will allow for theological development and fresh exegesis without posing a threat to the denomonation's doctrinal standards. So if a ministerial candidate's view of the law, for instance, reflects the developments of biblical theology introduced by men like Vos and Ridderbos, he won't need to do the confessional gymnastics necessary to prove he is within the pale.

3. To maintain our catholicity with the broader Christian church, it seems more consistent to adopt the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian creeds, rather than to restate their doctrines in our own confessional documents.

4. Candidates for church membership should be expected to subscribe to the ecumenical creeds, but only officers should be expected to subscribe to doctrines that are not essential for salvation.

OK, fire away....