We are living in an anti-confessional age. Our society and its reigning academic culture are committed to individual autonomy and expression, as well as to an increasingly relativistic conception of truth…But, among us, a confession of faith must be seen as a gift and covenant. It is a sacred trust that guards revealed truths. A confession of faith never stands above the Bible, but the Bible itself mandates concern for the pattern of sound words.
We must look to a new generation of teachers who will gladly teach in accordance with and not contrary to all that is affirmed in our confession of faith, without hesitation or mental reservation. We must pray for an army of theological teachers ready to do battle with the spirit of the age and, at the same time, to offer a glad defense of the hope that is in us, with gentleness and respect.
… Faithfulness will be found in the stewardship of words, in the pattern of sound words revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and in the teaching that accords with godliness. There can be no lasting fidelity without confessional integrity.
The ultimate purpose of confessional integrity is indeed doxological—to make certain that we rightly worship and love God. The confession guards the sound words of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and is thus essential to missions and evangelism.
In the end, theological education–and preaching–is all about the stewardship of words. So it was when Paul commissioned Timothy. So is it now.
“Follow the pattern of sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” [2 Timothy 1:13-14]
(Image courtesy of Apolonia at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)