Machen, J. Gresham
This brief, accessible invitation to the historic creeds and confessions makes a biblical and historical case for their necessity and shows why they are essential for Christian faith and practice today.
J. V. Fesko, a leading Reformed theologian with a broad readership in the academy and the church, demonstrates that creeds are not just any human documents but biblically commended resources for the well-being of the church, as long as they remain subordinate to biblical authority. Fesko also explains how the current skepticism and even hostility toward creeds and confessions came about.
Professors and students in courses on Reformed theology, church history, and Reformed confessions will value this work. It will also be of interest to pastors and lay readers in confessional Reformed churches.
Table of Contents
1. Biblical Arguments for Confessions
2. Reformed Confessions (1500-1700)
3. Causes of Deconfessionalization
4. Benefits of Confessions
5. Confessions and Piety
J. V. Fesko (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is professor of systematic and historical theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. He previously taught at Westminster Seminary California. A minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, he served in church planting and pastoral ministry for more than ten years and is the author of numerous books
"To an American Christianity caught in the grip of a rapidly spreading virus of individualism and materialism, Fesko issues a call to repent. He pleads for a turn back to the historical confessions of the faith. His argument centers on his own Reformed confessional heritage, but his words ring true for those committed to the Lutheran confessions and other historical traditions of the Christian message. This volume is a significant contribution to our understanding of the role these confessions from the past can play in the twenty-first century and of the formidable challenges confessing Christians face in countering the cultural commandeering of the church." - Robert Kolb, emeritus professor of systematic theology, Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis
"I am an advocate for confessionalism. What is that, you ask? Confessionalism is the belief in the usefulness, importance, and indeed necessity of a full and unambiguous public statement of and adherence to the church's official doctrinal belief, founded upon the Scriptures. Those who are confessional believe that interpretations of Scripture and doctrinal understandings that contradict the core teaching of the church's doctrinal affirmations cannot be accommodated within a particular church or denomination without compromising its peace, purity, unity, witness, and mission. Because of the importance of confessionalism in the life of the church, I am always looking for good resources to make a case for it. Samuel Miller's The Utility and Importance of Creeds and Confessions and Carl Trueman's The Creedal Imperative are books that I have heretofore happily turned to for help. I am glad to now add John Fesko's The Need for Creeds Today. Dr. Fesko offers explanatory background that provides a framework for understanding why many Christians in our own time have undervalued creeds and confessions and why we need to recover a churchly, confessional Christianity in Protestantism today." - Ligon Duncan, chancellor, CEO, and John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary
"'No creed but the Bible!' has long been a core belief among evangelicals, especially in the United States. Although those who repeat this phrase certainly mean well, they often fail to notice that it is a self-contradictory statement, given the fact that it is itself a creed--a statement of what they believe. Ironically, then, the statement 'No creed but the Bible!' itself manifests the unavoidability of creeds. J. V. Fesko's The Need for Creeds Today addresses the confusion in the contemporary church with a brief but persuasive case for the necessity and importance of creeds and confessions. His case is biblically grounded and historically informed. It should be required reading in every seminary." - Keith Mathison, professor of systematic theology, Reformation Bible College