Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Apostolic Axis in Clearcreek Chapel's Statement of Faith

By Max Strange

Clearcreek Chapel has a bedrock doctrinal statement of faith* built upon Christ and sturdy apostolic doctrine. There appears to be no blatant cultural accommodation since the Word of God is written across every page. Though it is laden with Scripture references, this does not qualify it to be apostolic no more than the Jehovah Witness Bible is full of Scripture and yet a false record. The following confirm that Clearcreek Chapel’s doctrinal statement is indeed apostolic and strong at its very core.

First, it is written. Clearcreek Chapel’s Treasured Truths are open to the public for study, examination, and for scrutiny. It is a document meant to be compared against and tested by the Scripture. It is written so that it can transcend its current audience and be passed down and reproducible for future generations (1 Cor. 10:11; Rom. 15:4). It also creates a standard and promotes unity. The local Church can gather believers around these treasured truths and have these truths as a rally point when the Church is bombarded against enemy assault on the outside or from within (Rom. 6:17). It submits to God’s people a standard of doctrine that must be believed and understood. It commits itself to the people for a unified front against opposing views, divisions, and encourages a “one mindedness” in fellowship as seen in 1 Cor. 1:10. It also appears to have a cross-cultural nature. By its numerous passages, it has Biblical muscle, enabling it to flex across culture and time. It is also historical. The truths listed are those that have been emphasized by the Church over the past 2,000 years. The doctrines of God, Scripture, depravity, Salvation, election, faith, etc…are core tenets of the Christian faith. The treasured truths follow after the timeless and historical Creeds embedded within Christian history. So then we see not a list of isolated beliefs apart from Christians throughout history. It follows a historical precedent. Moreover, the T.W.T contains a mountain of indicatives. The ‘Truths We Treasure’ is not an imperative document. It does not invite a moralistic Christianity or an ethical approach to a historical Jesus. It simply requires belief, reflection, and study. One will find absent an imperative grocery list or a Didache manual on behavior. Furthermore, it is Theocentric and Christocentric. Every point is about God’s work, His actions, His will, His creation, His redemption, His Son, His electing work, His Church, His restoration, His people, His incarnation, etc. It sees God as the focal point of all that a Church ought to believe in and Christ as the center of the Universe in which all doctrines revolve. It is also objective. These are not mere opinions based upon human wisdom, philosophy, or traditions of men. These truths are found in the Scripture. We can say even with Jesus in John 7:16-17 that this teaching is not our own but from God. Its source is from heaven downward and rests not on the wisdom of the world or a cultured concoction of the time. It is the objective standard, outside of human intelligence and fabrication. Lastly, it raises questions and invites critique. Good doctrine statement ought to raise questions. The Pharisees questioned Jesus’ standard of teaching. A list of doctrines that a Church teaches is just one inch of the ocean’s surface, a portal for inquiry; a foundation for further learning. The Truths will be comprehensible and at the same time cause questions and critique because of the depth at which God unsearchable wisdom runs (Jn. 18:19).

The Truths Treasured may lack a few things. Perhaps a heading entitled General Warnings that instruct believers to be careful, watch out, and beware of those who teach false doctrine as noted in multiple passages of Scripture (Rom. 16:17; Heb 13:9; 2 John 1:9-10). The only cultural influence to the T.W.T. is perhaps the statements about a literal and historical six day creation. Since macro evolution has permeated the culture, the Church abroad has seen the foundational attack on Genesis, and has responded rightly by adding clarity in its doctrinal statement about the Genesis record.

*Below is a link to see a detailed summary of the teachings of Clearcreek Chapel:

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