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Those who understand the place of creeds and confessions understand how helpful they are to the church. My concern is for those who don’t know the creeds and the historic Reformed confessions and thus don’t refer to them or use them on a regular basis. Often, if they’re not using them, are not aware of them, or haven’t studied them, typically they are basing their faith on a very short confessional statement that either their church or some organization has made up.

All churches have to have some sort of basic confessional statement to some degree. But if they don’t have a significant, formulated, historic, attested-to creed or confession, then the likelihood is that their creed or confession is changing quite frequently, sometimes even based on the moods and whims of their own pastors, elders, or congregation.

Creeds and confessions help to ground us and to guard us. They become a perimeter to help us know where we can go and where we can’t go.

They also serve us as maps or guides for us. I like to hunt. I love to hike and backpack and fish. Especially here in Florida when you’re backcountry fishing, you need maps. You need to know where you’re going so you don’t run aground and so you can find your way back. You use maps, looking at where people have gone before you. You’re saying, “They have gone here and have told us: ‘Don’t go this way because you’ll run aground there. You’ll run aground into heresy there, into false teaching there, and into error there, so steer clear of this way and that way and steer a straight path.’”

Creeds and confessions help us to do that. They help us to train up our children. And they help our teachers, our pastors, and our elders to remain steadfastly orthodox in the faith.

This transcript is from a live Ask Ligonier event with Burk Parsons and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, email ask@ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.