“We need a banner because of the truth…”
Throughout history people have used banners, pennants, and flags to identify themselves. Whether for an individual, a nation, an army, or even a college, a banner said, “This is who I am.” When his church reprinted The London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, Spurgeon compared the Confession to a banner. The church set its standard down, and said this is who we are. It wasn’t the only time Spurgeon used the comparison.1
“The church of Christ displays its banners for distinction’s sake...The church unfurls her ensign to the breeze that all may know whose she is and whom she serves…Every Christian church should know what it believes, and publicly avow what it maintains…Whatever the doctrines of the gospel may be to the rest of mankind, let them be your glory and boast. Display your banners, and let those banners be such as the church of old carried.”
The word standard was first a military term for a flag or object used as a rallying point “because the flag was fixed to a pole or spear and stuck in the ground to stand upright.” The word was standhard, and obviously, it combined the words stand and hard, “literally ‘stand fast or firm.'”2 Comparing a confession of faith to a banner, the standard used for a rallying point, is the best analogy I’ve ever seen. It echoes Martin Luther’s words at the Diet of Worms in 1521, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God…Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.””
In his prophecy of the coming Messiah, Isaiah says that He will be our banner and our standard. The Lord Jesus is our rallying point. A confession of faith should not be only a gathering together of doctrinal positions, but rather a confession of this is what I believe. These are not mere facts I acknowledge, but rather this is what I rest my life upon.
the Rod of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples;
the nations will rally to him.
And his place of rest will be glorious.
And assemble the banished ones of Israel,
And will gather the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth.
My Confession of Faith is taken largely from one written in 1992 for a church pastored by Mike Braun. My husband served on the committee of men who worked with Mike to compose it. I have added to it from the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith which can be found online with Scripture citations. I may edit it from time to time if I find clarity is needed. It is obviously not exhaustive. My goal was to lay out the basics of my beliefs regarding Christian faith and practice. If you’ve read many of my posts, my beliefs will soon become evident, but I decided to summarize specifics so that anyone reading would be able to understand the beliefs that undergird what I write.
The Old and New Testaments, in their entirety, are the Word of God written and are therefore inerrant in their original hand. All Scripture was given by inspiration and is fully authoritative for the Christian in all its teaching. The Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience. Whatever is taught in Scripture is to be accepted, believed in, and affirmed by all who bear the name “Christian”.
Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these:
OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, To Titus, To Philemon, The Epistle to the Hebrews, Epistle of James, The first and second Epistles of Peter, The first, second, and third Epistles of John, The Epistle of Jude, The Revelation
All of which are given by the inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.
The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men.
The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.
The Scripture teaches that there is one God, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth; eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
1. His Nature.
The Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ is true God and true man having been born of the Virgin Mary, but conceived by the Holy Spirit.
2. His Sinless Life.
The Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life and met all the demands of the law of God in perfect moral obedience. Thus he was the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world.
3. His Death.
The Scripture teaches that the death of Jesus Christ was a full and final payment for sin. The death of Christ is redemptive, and satisfies the righteous anger of God toward sin. The death of Christ provides an effective substitute for the death of helpless sinners and is acceptable to God when appropriated by faith.
4. His Resurrection.
The Scripture teaches the historic fact of Jesus Christ’s bodily resurrection from the dead as a powerful witness to his deity and man’s ultimate hope in God for personal life after death.
5. His Mediation.
The Scripture teaches the risen Christ now intercedes for his people in the presence of God. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man.
6. His Return.
The Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ will make a personal, historical return to the earth as its rightful judge and ruler and that this return is to be the object of a sanctifying “hope”. The promise of Christ’s return is to affect the way every Christian conducts his life and serves his God in this present age.
The Holy Spirit
1. His Nature.
The Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit is personal and divine; the third member of the Godhead.
2. His Witness.
The Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit bears persuasive testimony to the truth concerning Jesus Christ.
3. His Work in the World.
The Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit convicts the whole world of sin and its consequences.
4. His Work in the Believer.
The Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit brings repentance and faith to the believer; indwells the believer’s personality with the life of Jesus Christ; unites each believer in a real, personal, and spiritual union with Christ, and seals them in that relationship; produces the qualities of Christian character in the personality of every believer; gives every believer special abilities for the mutual encouragement and building up of other brothers and sisters who are in union with Christ; and guides, instructs, and empowers the believer for godly living and service. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the operation of God whereby believers are placed in saving Union with Christ. It is not to be regarded as an experience, but rather a positional fact occurring simultaneously with conversion.
The Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit indwells a believer at the moment of salvation and does not enter the believer at a time after his conversion. To receive the Holy Spirit is to be saved. The normative relationship of the believer to the Holy Spirit is that he or she is to be continually filled by the Holy Spirit. This “filling” is indicated by the “fruit of the Spirit”, which is a metaphor describing qualities of increasing maturity in the Christian’s character. Among these are moral growth that is characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
1. His Creation.
The Scripture teaches that the first human beings, male and female, were created in the image of God to enjoy a personal, loving relationship with God, and that all their descendants, male and female, share that image and purpose.
2. His Fall Into Sin.
The Scripture teaches that the first human beings fell into sin, lost their personal, loving relationship with God, and became subject to physical and spiritual death. The entire human race was likewise subjected to the same penalties of God’s law concerning sin.
The penalties of God’s law concerning sin is the loss of a personal, loving relationship with God; physical death; and eternal suffering and separation from God which is called Spiritual Death.
3. His Fallen Nature.
The Scripture teaches that as a result of the fall of Adam and Eve, all mankind became sinners by position, constitution, and choice, and that they all face the penalties of God’s law concerning sin.
4. His Regeneration.
The Scripture teaches that a personal, loving relationship with God can be restored, the threat of physical death destroyed, and the consequences of spiritual death avoided only with a regeneration of life by the Holy Spirit given freely by God through means of faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
5. His Grounds For Right Standing With God.
The Scripture teaches that the blood of Jesus Christ provides the only grounds on which a sinner can be declared righteous by God and freed from the penalties for sin in God’s law. Only those who place faith in Jesus Christ and enter into a relationship with God on the basis of the blood of Christ are freed from the penalties for sin in God’s law.
6. His Means of Grace.
The Scripture teaches that those who accept the person and payment of Jesus Christ are justified, regenerated, redeemed, and adopted into the family of God, and, along with Christ, become heirs of all the blessings of the Godhead.
7. His Salvation.
The Scripture teaches that salvation is a work of sovereign grace, and, as such, is irrevocable. Salvation reflects the irrevocable calling of God; effects a regeneration incapable of reprobation; and is maintained by a preserving work of the Holy Spirit which will be reflected in a believer’s perseverance in faith and good works.
8. His Only Hope.
The Scripture teaches that there is no other means of salvation for men save a conscious, sorrowful admission of sin and a conscious confession that Jesus Christ is Lord of all and the only one who can save a sinner from the consequence of his or her sin.
1. The Universal Church.
The Scripture teaches that all Christians in all times and in all places have been united into a single body by an operation of God. This resultant union is called the body of Christ, the universal church.
2. The Local Church.
The Scripture teaches that Christ commanded that all Christians must join together in individual assemblies for instruction, worship, service, and fellowship. These assemblies are called local churches.
3. Membership in the Church.
The Scripture teaches that only those who are members of the universal church shall be eligible for membership in the local church. Individual membership in the local church shall therefore be based upon a personal confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. The Ordinances of the Church.
The Scripture teaches that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the only two ordinances to be observed by the local church in this present age. These ordinances are not to be regarded as means of salvation, but are commanded by Christ to be participated in by all those who would be his disciples.
5. The Roles of Men and Women.
The Scripture teaches that both man and woman were created by God in his image. Further, the Scripture affirms there is neither male nor female, but that all are “one” in Christ Jesus. Men and women share essential equality before God. The Scripture teaches that in the home and in the church there are well-defined roles for both men and women.
In the home the husband is held responsible by God to be a loving leader; to love his own wife as Christ loved the church; and the wife is to respect him, and to live in biblical submission to her own husband.
In the church the responsibility of elder is to be reserved for men only. Moreover, the authoritative teaching of the word of God to the whole church is a responsibility reserved for men only. Men are to lead the church without abusing their authority. In priestly fashion as believers the men are to refrain from combativeness; lead in prayer as examples to all believers; and treat women with the respect that befits equals in the family of God. Women are to refrain from exercising authority over men while remaining full recipients of the benefits of the Gospel as joint heirs of the grace of Christ. In priestly fashion as believers the women will teach, train, and encourage younger women in their Christian duties; and behave as models of Christian behavior for the entire church as the Scripture directs.
The Scripture teaches that all men will be resurrected to give account of their lives before God. The believer in Christ will be resurrected to everlasting blessedness and joy in the presence of God. The unbeliever will be resurrected to judgment and everlasting conscious punishment.
Chi Rho: “formed by superimposing the first two (capital) letters—chi and rho (ΧΡ)—of the Greek word ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ (Christos).” (CC BY-SA 3.0).
1Banner of Truth Trust takes its name from Spurgeon’s commentary on Psalm 60 in his Treasury of David.
2Online Etymology Dictionary: standard. Retrieved 08-14-2021.
3Translation: John Calvin, Isaiah: The Crossway Classic Commentaries, Series editors, Alistair McGrath and J. I. Packer (Crossway Books, Wheaton IL: 2000) 108.
The Hebrew word, nēs, is translated as banner by Calvin in Isaiah 11:10, and as standard in the NASB 1995 update. “In the OT, nēs generally means a rallying point or standard which drew people together for some common action or for the communication of important information.” I used two translations to point out that it’s translated by various words: “signal pole, standard, ensign, banner, sign, sail.” Marvin R. Wilson, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Volume 2, R. Laird Harris, ed., Gleason L. Archer, Jr. and Bruce K Waltke, assoc. eds. (Moody Press, Chicago IL: 1980) 583.
What is a Confession of Faith?: Some Quotations
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