At my local church, we’re looking at revising our statement of faith. We want to clarify some of what’s there, and maybe address some additional issues & practices. So I’ve been having a few conversations with people about the general subject of statements of faith, and have some thoughts, as well as a question:
Do you know of any additional ways to handle these concerns? Do you know any churches that handle these concerns particularly well?
What Does It Mean? What Does It Do?
A statement of faith is something around which the church unites. It says, “This is what we believe”–but how does that work out?
In churches with member rolls, becoming a member typically includes agreeing to the statement of faith. But my church doesn’t have member rolls. So what are we saying? Are we still saying, “We expect that if you make Hope your church, then you agree with this doctrine”? Are we saying, “We expect that you will not try to lead people away from these beliefs, even if you disagree”?
Should someone be put out from the church if they reject the statement of faith? If they disagree on the nature of the gospel? If they disagree on the authority of Scripture? If they disagree on the role of spiritual gifts? If they disagree on the destiny of the unevangelized? If they disagree with the church’s stance on the Rapture? Which of these should be included, and what should be the nature of our commitment to it?