The classic, historical, orthodox, spiritually incisive theological works included in the following pages represent some of the best of pious Christian scholars across the centuries and remain fully relevant and helpful in informing and guiding Christian thinking about reality.
These works were intended to function as biblically faithful, helpful summaries of things that all Christians should increasingly understand, believe, and live.
Truth, by its very nature being rigidly exclusive of anything contrary to itself, acts to establish intellectual and existential harmony with reality while refuting and guarding against hurtful, confusing distortions and errors concerning true biblical faith, i.e. those things regarding the God Who is, His character, actions, and plans, increasing the church’s love of and gratitude toward the the Triune God and benevolence toward our neighbors.
They are primarily intended as intellectual underpinnings to aid in worship, preaching, teaching, study, and devotions, helping ensure that all parts of the church are established and solidly grounded in the truths of their salvation and in the God Who has accomplished that for His church to his glory alone.
They continue to be indispensably remarkably helpful for study, research, and evaluation of theology in the light of Scripture, having a secondary level of authority (ministerial) as being fully subject to the sole, magisterial authority of Holy Scripture.
As always, God’s divine words found exclusively in Holy Scripture stand over and judge these words. His words, as faithfully studied and meditated upon, remain the court of final appeal over all confessions, creeds, canons, and all other merely human words, thoughts, actions, or traditions as helpful, illuminating, and valuable as those can be.
J Gresham Machen had this to say about creeds & confessions:
Negatively, “The creeds of Christendom are not expressions of Christian experience.” They are not positive expressions that avoid negative and controversial statements. Historic creeds and confessions are not designed to “make room in the church for just as many people and for just as many types of thought as possible.” They are not vague statements where words can mean almost anything that everyone can agree upon, liberal or conservative. They were not written by people who denied the inspiration and infallibility of Scripture. The creeds and confessions are not obscure and ambiguous statements that seek to avoid any offense. They are not meant to show “how little of truth we can get along with and still be Christians.” Creeds are not statements that get back to the “bare essentials.”
Positively, “[They] are summary statements of what God has told us in his Word. …The historic creeds were exclusive of error; they were intended to exclude error; they were intended to set forth the biblical teaching in sharp contrast with what was opposed to the biblical teaching, in order that the purity of the church might be preserved.” … [The historic creeds and confessions] are clear, concise, and precise; they also delineate truth from error. They are true – “true in the plain man’s sense of the word ‘truth.'” Finally, they contain Christian doctrine which “is just a setting forth of what the Bible teaches…they are intended to show how much of truth God has revealed to us in his Word.”
Click here for his article, “The Creeds and Doctrinal Advance“