How Valuable are Creeds and Confessions?

What is a Creed?

A short statement of belief.  (i.e.  Apostles’ Creed,  Nicene Creed)

Seeks to identify the unifying essentials for a true church across the ages.    The fundamentals.

Deals with issues such as the deity of Christ, justification by faith alone, the trinity, etc…

What is a Confession?

A longer statement of doctrine.  (i.e. Westminster Confession, Larger & Shorter Catechism, Heidelberg Confession)

A very detailed treatment of theology.

An accurate statement of Scriptural truth as far as fallible men can discern.[1]

Deals with issues on a deeper level, including such issues as election, sacraments, worship, eschatology, etc…

What we do not believe …

That a creed or confession is inspired, inerrant, or infallible.

That a creed or confession is to be placed on the same level as Scripture.     (Look at WCF 1.10)

That to be a member, one must ascribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith.

That to be an office, one must fully ascribe to every part of the Westminster Confession of Faith (Sola Scriptura)

Why have Creeds and Confessions?

Every church has a creed / confession, whether they write it down or not.

Creeds and confessions are great teachers and instructors.

Creeds and confessions unite the church of Jesus Christ today with the church of Jesus Christ throughout the generations.

Creeds and confessions are tools that help the church guard against heresy.

Creeds and confessions accurately portray to the world and any interested observer what this church believes.  We invite all to study and examine what we believe and why we believe it.

Creeds and confessions show that we value doctrine.

Creeds and confessions aid in the memorizing and systematizing of doctrine and scriptural proofs.  They are teaching tools.


The PCA is a confessional and creedal church.   Many non-denominational churches are simply creedal.