Timothy George: The Church, My Faith, and the Church’s Faith

Jude 3

The Faith. The Faith is the central content of the Christian kerygma.  This is what we proclaim to the world of what God is done in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  It is summarized in the Apostles’ Creed and later in the Nicene Creed. Though it is common to hear “No Creed but the Bible”, what is often meant is neither creed nor the Bible.  If the phrase means to reject creedalism, then it is appropriate.  Scripture always rules over any creeds.  Any creed should be able to be revised by the Bible.  Creeds imposed by the Civil authorities are to be rejected.

We must be careful to pass along the Faith and not to betray it.  Confessions of Faith are like guardrails to keep us on the road. We should not mistake the guardrails for the road.  But the guardrails are necessary.

My faith. There are two words in Latin for faith:  assensus and fiduciaAssensus is the Faith.  It is essential, but it is not enough.  It is the objective content of the gospel.  But more is needed for salvation.  One must possess fiducia which is the utter dependence upon God’s grace, apart from any merits of one’s self.  At conversion The Faith, becomes my faith.  As long as the Faith remains detached, as a mere system of doctrine, we are not yet regenerate.  Has the Faith become your faith?

The Church’s Faith. In the history of Christianity, the Faith and my faith taken independently of each other have resulted in some dangerous extremes.  The Faith without my faith leads to a dry rationalism.  My faith without the Faith becomes a sloppy sentimentalism.  The Church’s faith is rooted in the objectivity of God’s revelation of salvation through Jesus Christ.  Nothing will be more important in the future of Christianity, then the question of what is the church.  We must recover the confessions and catechisms of the church to see what they tell us of the Church’s faith.  The Church’s faith is meant to be sung as well as said.  It needs to be prayed as well as proclaimed.  We need to recover the great hymns of the Christian faith.  The Church’s faith is a public faith that cannot be kept to ourselves.

We must declare the Faith, which must become my faith, and which must come together to say to all the world that this is the Church’s faith.

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