2 Timothy 1:13 – Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
On Honesty in Subscription to Creeds
“It is certainly a transaction which ought to be entered upon with much deep deliberation and humble prayer; and in which, if a man be bound to be sincere in anything, he is bound to be honest to his God, honest to himself, and honest to the church which he joins. For myself, I know of no transaction in which insincerity is more justly chargeable with the dreadful sin of “lying to the Holy Ghost” than in this. It is truly humiliating and distressing to know that in some churches it has gradually become customary to consider articles of faith as merely articles of peace: in other words, as articles which he who subscribes is not considered as professing to believe, but as merely engaging not to oppose at least in any public or offensive manner.”
–– Samuel Miller, Doc. Integ., pp. 59-60
This quote is posted on the home page of CRTA, Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics.
I am also reminded of the Bible verses,
|James 5:12||But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and [your] nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.|
|Mat 5:37||But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.|
As application to church life, I would note:
- Church elders who profess to uphold the Westminster Confession of Faith should admit that the WCF is an agreeable summary of Christian doctrine, allowable in doctrinal discussions and disputations.
- Church elders should be very careful not to *push* individual Christians into swearing to uphold church standards before the Christian has thoroughly studied the standards. It is a snare to say, “Just promise not to disagree.” This is to encourage rash oaths, implicit faith in the elders’ teaching, and an engaging not to oppose, as stated above.