Confessing Our Faith Today Contemporary Testimony: Our World

Confessing Our Faith Today
Contemporary Testimony: Our
World Belongs to God
Michael Goheen
Starting Point: The gospel is
the power of God to bring
The Need for Confessions
▪ Enable members to take hold of it in a
living way
▪ Enable members to understand the
meaning of the gospel for their lives today
▪ Protect the gospel against errors that
threaten it
Confessions in Scripture and History
▪ ‘The Lord, One God, The Lord, Our God’
(Deut. 6:4)
▪ ‘Jesus is Lord’ (Rom.10:9; I Cor.12:3)
▪ ‘Jesus is one substance with the Father’
(Early creeds)
▪ Reformed creeds of post-reformation period
Creeds in Scripture and history . . .
▪ Enabled people of God to take hold of faith
in living way in their time
▪ Enabled people of God to understand what it
meant to be people of God at that time
▪ Protected Biblical faith from error that
threatened it
‘If you preach the gospel in all aspects
with the exception of the issues which
deal specifically with your time you are
not preaching the gospel at all.’
- Martin Luther
Need for Contemporary Confessions
‘The responsibility of the church [is] to declare to
each generation what is the faith . . . This is
always a fresh task in every generation, for
thought is never still. The words in which the
Church states its message in one generation have
changed their meaning by the time the next has
grown up. No verbal statement can be produced
which relieves the Church of the responsibility
continually to re-think and re- state its message.
Quote continued . . .
. . . No appeal [to creeds and confessions] can
alter the fact that the Church has to state in every
new generation how it interprets the historic faith,
and how it relates it to the new thought and
experience of its time. . . Nothing can remove
from the Church the responsibility for stating
now what is the faith. It belongs to the essence of
a living Church that it should be able and willing
to do so’
- Lesslie Newbigin
Need for Contemporary Confession
‘ . . . it is not enough for the church to go on
repeating in different cultural situations the same
words and phrases. New ways have to be found
of stating the essential Trinitarian faith, and for
this the church in each new cultural situation has
to go back to the original biblical sources of this
faith in order to lay hold on it afresh and to state
it afresh in contemporary terms’
- Lesslie Newbigin
▪ Enable church to take hold of faith
▪ Enable church to understand what it
means to follow Christ today
▪ Challenge current cultural idols that
threaten faith today
Dominant spirit of our time
‘The dominant spirit of our times has various
names, such as secularism, atheism, humanism, or
practical atheism. Together these forces form a
real culturally formative power which restricts and
opposes God’s people as they try to live obediently
in the world. If it takes a crisis to move the church
to write confessional statements, these secular
spirit of our times has moved us to write the
Contemporary Testimony.’
Why can the Contemporary Testimony
do this?
▪ Narrative structure
▪ Missional emphasis
▪ Doxological tone
▪ Understandable language
▪ Counters contemporary threat(s)
▪ Important theological issues
▪ Current issues and relevant discipleship
▪ Reformed, Kuyperian accent
My Own Use
▪ Family worship
▪ First year biblical theology class
▪ Church
▸ Teaching series
▸ Catechetical training
▸ Profession of faith for new members

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