Arguments in Favor of Creeds
Creeds and confessions defined; the need to maintain unity in the church; the Church's responsibility as a witness for the truth; the candor which each church owes to both other churches and the world; the obligation to study Christian doctrine; the historic necessity of creeds; the opponents of creeds generally latitudinarians and heretics; creeds inevitably employed by their opponents.
Answers for Objections to Creeds
The objection that creeds supercede the Bible as a standard of faith; the objection that creeds interfere with the rights of conscience; the objection that creeds discourage free inquiry; the objection that creeds fail to achieve their purpose; the objection that creeds promote discord and strife.
The Extent of Creeds
Whether the creeds of the Church may, or should, include articles other than those which are fundamen tal; the importance of doctrines respecting church government and the sacraments.
Creeds not to be feared as instruments of oppression; subscription of creeds a solemn transaction; the obligations which rest upon men who have subscribed a creed; a warning: how a single unsound minister can produce extensive harm in the Church; the duty of members, and ministers, of the Presbyterian Church to spread a knowledge of the doctrinal standards; the mistake of those who wish to abandon all creeds and confessions.
Extremes to avoid; the meaning of public subscription to the Confession of Faith; minor differences among the Westminster divines; the Calvinistic system of the Confession; the difference between the essential nature of Christian doctrine, and different modes of expounding it; the exclusion of Pelagians, Arminians, and other heretics; false subscription a solemn perjury; evasive subscription a base deception; Pelagian philosophy a dangerous and corrupting influence; the duty of church courts to guard against loose subscription.
The lack of adherence to the doctrinal standards in some presbyteries; the scriptural priority of doctrinal purity; examples of erroneous teachings: denial of original sin, denial of human depravity, belief in free will, denial of human inability, denial of sovereign grace; false subscription; Pelagian and Arminian heresies discussed and refuted; the biblical doctrine of salvation; the foolish claim that these systemic differences are merely a dispute over terminology; the Presbyterian Church a Calvinistic church; Pelagian and Arminian errors poisonous to genuine spirituality.
Doubtful practices within church judicatories: presbyteries formed upon the principle of "elective affinity," licensing candidates previously disapproved by another presbytery; the presbyterial right, and responsibility, to judge the qualifications of candidates for the ministry; fraternal relations between Presby terians and Congregationalists; Congregationalist approval of men previously disapproved by a presbytery; the impropriety of allowing fraternal delegates to vote in church judicatories; a concluding admonition to preserve truth and oppose error to maintain the confessional standards of the Presbyterian church.
Copyright © 1989, 1996 by
Presbyterian Heritage Publications
The text for this edition is based upon the following: The Utility and Importance of Creeds and Confessions by Samuel Miller (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1824, 1839 [1841 printing]. The section on "Adherence to Our Doctrinal Standards" originally composed Letters VI VIII of Letters to Presbyterians on the Present Crisis in the Presbyterian Church in the United States by Samuel Miller (Philadelphia: Anthony Finley, 1833), pp. 89-150. The letters first appeared serially in The Presbyterian magazine between January and May, 1833.
The text for this reprint has been grammatically revised to reflect greater conformity to contemporary spelling, punctuation, and usage. Words or phrases in brackets [ ] have been provided by the publisher.
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