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While taking an ecclesiology class at college, I became familiar with the "Young, Restless, Reformed" concept that seems to be taking the young people of the church by storm. (I, being in my 20's, would like to include myself in that group.)

This drastic paradigm shift is happening for what appears to be 2 reasons:

1. Young adults are sick of Postmodernism.

Viewing postmodernity as "the denial of the metanarrative of life" leaves too many holes in a person's life. There is no point of reference, and therefore, no foundation to their life. But young people of today have argued that accepting a postmodernistic worldview is accepting a relativistic mindset that leaves society defunct and leaves each individual to wander the world in obliviousness.

2. Young adults want a strong foundation in God.

This explains why many young people of the church, through many denominations, are looking for truth in Scripture, and take a low view of creeds and confessions. This movement is related to the "Jesus Movement" of the '70's. Instead of "Don't give me the Bible, just give me Jesus"  it has become, "Don't give me tradition, Just give me the Bible." This leads to the great problem of why young people are leaving established denominations and are joining non-denominational churches.

Non-denom's are popular, because they have no hierarchical structure to answer to. Scripture talks about a "church," but not a "denomination." Each church in the greater part of the New Testament (except for Galatians) is referenced to as an individual church that wourks in cooperation with others, but not over others. 

So, my question comes down to this: is there a way we can show how the creeds and confessions are backed by Scripture, without watering it down? If the original writers wrote something in the creed or confession, why take it out if it is taught by Scripture?


In the context you are indicating, I wonder if perhaps the biggest benefit of the confessions, is to use them as a way of teaching about scripture.  In other words, the confessions are really about scripture;  they do not exist unto themselves.   Often we seem to go the other way around, to use scripture as a way of justifying or defending the confessions;  many people would want to bypass this approach, since ultimately the confessions themselves are not the issue.   They want to get directly to what scripture says about God, about Jesus, and about their relationship to God.  The confessions help in this, but are not an end in themselves.  

Truth is not relative, but our recognition and interprtation is relative due to our finiteness and fallenness.  John Leith has said "The creeds [and confessions] are the record of the Church's interpretation of the Bible in the past and the authoritative guide to hermeneutics in the present.'   Denominations unify around the ecumenical creeds and the confessions of their past.  We would do well to do more preaching of the confessions emphasising their basis in Scripture.  The Heidelberg has footnotes to scripture and the Canons of Dort reference Biiblical sources in the body of the text.  The Belgic Confessionn unfortunatly does not include such references.
We do well to interpret and analyze the confesssions in the light of current understandings of scriptural guidance.  For instance we have pulled back from such references to "detested Anabaptists" and the "idolatrous Mass" as arising from the contentious spirit of the period following the Reformation.  However we must guard against reinterpretation of the confessional standards which may arise from the spirit of the times which reflects only the world or worldliness in any interpretation of Scripture.

Correction: A full printing of the Belgic Confession does furnish footnotes referencing Scripture.

A good book on this topic is Donald Van Dyken's "Rediscovering Catechism."  I had to read it for a chatechetics class this past week and I am very appreciative of the perspective he gives, and the reasoning for why we do catechism, or why we should be doing catechism.

I appreciate the book version of the Heidelberg Catechism that includes the Scripture texts along with the Q&A's making it very easy to study the catechism and the scripture side-by-side. I wish I had more insight to offer regarding the millennial generation (that's what I came here looking for) but thought I'd share this recommendation. The specific book I'm talking about is available from Faith Alive: .

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