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Page 246

Rev. A.A. Hodge once stated, "The real question is not as often pretended, between the Word of God and the creed of man, but between the tried and proved faith of the collective body of God's people, and the private judgment and unassisted wisdom of the rejector of creeds."

What did Rev. Hodge mean with this statement?

Why is it impossible for a person to claim that he loves the Bible, but dislikes doctrine? Why is it a contradiction of terms? What is "doctrine"?

or adding truths to it, the statements must be rejected. The Bible remains the foundational rule for belief and practice. God's Word is infallible, but man's interpretations of Scripture are not.

God's church has clearly expressed its beliefs of scriptural truth in the symbols listed in the chart below. While it is not possible to perfectly define or distinguish each form of creedal statement from the other, the basic characteristics of each type are also listed.

Type Characteristics

1. Creeds

  • Official "I believe..." statements
  • Concise statements containing little or no explanation
  • Statements of scriptural dogma - core doctrines
  • 2. Doctrinal Standards

  • Official explanations
  • Statements and explanations of various scriptural doctrines
  • May be written in the form of a confession, catechism, or canon
  • 3. Confessions

  • Approved, comprehensive statements and explanations of scriptural doctrine covering most or all of its major aspects
  • 4. Catechisms

  • A confession written in question-and-answer format
  • 5. Canons

  • Approved statements and explanations pertaining to certain particular scriptural doctrines
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