Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | November 7, 2006

The Analogy of Faith

Today we review Article 9 of the Belgic Confession, which provides a summary of the Scriptural witness for the Trinity.  This proves a fundamental point in how we interpret the Bible, its not as simple as hanigng our hat on a few verses to support our doctrine.  We need to take into account the entire scope of revelation and let the Scripture interpret itself.  This is known as the analogy of faith and it is an essential hermaneutic that prevents us from embracing contradictions in the Scripture. 

The Trinity is a perfect example of this hermaneutic being employed.  There are other doctrines that have been developed in a similar fashion, however are not as unanimously embraced (i.e. infant baptism, cessationism, the doctrines of grace, etc).  Although it is discouraging when Christian teachers deny these doctrines by promoting confusion and contradiction within God’s word, we should not quit contending earnestly for the faith.  The faithful have done this throughout history, whether it was Irenaeous against the Gnostics, Athanasius against the Arians, Augustine against the Pelagians or the Reformers against Rome and the Anabaptists.  

And without further ado, lets review Article 9 in its entirety:  

All this we know, as well from the testimonies of holy writ, as from their operations, and chiefly by those we feel in ourselves. The testimonies of the Holy Scriptures, that teach us to believe this Holy Trinity are written in many places of the Old Testament, which are not so necessary to enumerate, as to choose them out with discretion and judgment. In Genesis, chapter 1:26, 27,God saith: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, etc. So God created man in his own image, male and female created he them. And Genesis 3:22.Behold the man is become as one of us. From this saying, let us make man in our image, it appears that there are more persons than one in the Godhead; and when he saith, God created, he signifies the unity. It is true that he doth not say how many persons there are, but that, which appears to us somewhat obscure in the Old Testament, is very plain in the New. For when our Lord was baptized in Jordan, the voice of the Father was heard, saying, This is my beloved Son: the Son was seen in the water, and the Holy Ghost appeared in the shape of a dove. This form is also instituted by Christ in the baptism of all believers. Baptize all nations, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. In the Gospel of Luke, the angel Gabriel thus addressed Mary, the mother of our Lord, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, therefore also that holy thing, which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God: likewise, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you. And there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. In all which places we are fully taught, that there are three persons in one only divine essence. And although this doctrine far surpasses all human understanding, nevertheless, we now believe it by means of the Word of God, but expect hereafter to enjoy the perfect knowledge and benefit thereof in Heaven. Moreover, we must observe the particular offices and operations of these three persons toward us. The Father is called our Creator, by his power; the Son is our Savior and Redeemer, by his blood; the Holy Ghost is our Sanctifier, by his dwelling in our hearts. This doctrine of the Holy Trinity, hath always been defended and maintained by the true Church, since the time of the apostles, to this very day, against the Jews, Mohammedans, and some false Christians and heretics, as Marcion, Manes, Praxeas, Sabellius, Samosatenus, Arius, and such like, who have been justly condemned by the orthodox fathers. Therefore, in this point, we do willingly receive the three creeds, namely, that of the Apostles, of Nice, and of Athanasius: likewise that, which, conformable thereunto, is agreed upon by the ancient fathers. 

In our next entry we would like to introduce a related topic known as the Economic Trinty. 

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Responses

  1. […] For the next few weeks, entries will continue to be sparse as the end of the semester approaches.  However, in our last entry we discussed Article 9 of the Belgic Confession (the-analogy-of-faith) that affirmed the Scriptural witness of the Trinity.  As indicated then we would like to introduce the concept of the Economic Trinity before moving on to Article 10 of the confession. […]


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