After almost a year of discussion, prayer, and study the elders of Providence Church have voted to adopt the 1853 New Hampshire Confession of Faith as our official statement of faith. We recently shared this news with the congregation at our most recent Member Gathering on August 27, 2023. As elders, we desire to share our heart, our hope, and our journey toward making this change.
When a change is made to something as central as a statement of faith there is an obvious and glaring question: Have we changed our theology or our beliefs? The answer to that question is no. The 1853 New Hampshire Confession of Faith is a historic reformed Baptist confession that aligns with our previous statement of faith. So why make the change?
The impetus behind this change has come from our reflection as elders on our sacred responsibility to faithfully lead and shepherd Providence Church. We know that we must one day give an account to the Chief Shepherd and Head of the church, the Lord Jesus (Heb. 13:17). This has been an exercise of both looking back to the past and ahead to the future. In looking at the past we believe that affirming a historic confession communicates something significant. We humbly recognize that we are part of something much bigger and more enduring than one local church in Frisco, Texas. From the time that the Lord Jesus entered into history in his incarnation and established his church by purchasing it by his blood, there have been faithful men and women carrying forward the message of the gospel.
Our message is not new but it is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” (Rom. 1:16). Since the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) the church of Christ has moved forward holding onto Jesus’ promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18), and that our Savior and King is reigning at the right hand of the Father until all his enemies have been put under his feet (1 Cor. 15:25). We as Christians today are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who have gone before (Heb. 12:1).
In affirming this historic confession we are recognizing our connection to the past as followers of Christ, and specifically our reformed Protestant heritage. The New Hampshire Confession is rooted in and stands in line with multiple historic Christian confessions going back to the Reformation. We owe much to those who sparked the Reformation and boldly stood for the authority of God’s word over the tradition of man. Our prayer as elders is that we continue to boldly proclaim that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of our Sovereign God alone!
We also believe that adopting this confession has an impact on looking toward the future.
As Christians, we are not always good at playing the long game. What I mean is that many of us never actually live as if we will have great-grandchildren. We live in a culture that is obsessed with the here and now and instant gratification. By contrast, the cathedral in Cologne, Germany was begun in 1248 AD and took 632 years to complete. Could you imagine being a Christian involved in the building of that cathedral? You would have been contributing to something that would not see completion for generations.
The people of Providence have seen the Lord do tremendous things over the past eighteen years. As elders, we have begun to ask, “What will Providence Church look like in twenty to thirty years? What kind of church will we leave to our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren?” We pray that as God continues to raise up new generations of leaders, Providence will remain a place that is missional, making disciples, and uncompromisingly faithful to God’s word and sound doctrine.
We’ve also asked, “Are there steps we can take now that will be helpful to future elders and leaders? Steps that will encourage future faithfulness?” While we know that God is sovereign and ultimately the faithfulness and purity of the church are in his hands, we also know that God uses means. We see affirming a historic confession as a doctrinal line in the sand to push back against cultural pressure—not only for our current cultural moment but for future generations. Being confessional means agreeing to a statement that is settled at a point in time. While the Bible alone is our final guide and authority, we believe this confession to be an accurate summary of what the Scripture teaches on major areas of doctrine. We hope this confession will be a bulwark and guide for the future generations at Providence Church.
It is also our prayer that holding to a common confession will promote unity within the body. Another wonderful aspect of adopting this confession is that we now join The Trails Church, and Christ Redeemer Church (both planted from Providence) in affirming the New Hampshire Confession. I would encourage you to read the confession of faith which is now available here. Along with the confession we also have listed other important historical creeds and statements concerning biblical inerrancy, human sexuality, and biblical manhood and womanhood. As always, if you have any questions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.