Affirmation of Faith worship ideas

An affirmation of faith is a public statement of what we believe to be true about God.

How do I write an affirmation of faith?

For Christians, the affirmation of faith can contain:

  • a response to the preaching of God's word
  • a statement or expression of unity
  • a witness to our individual participation in something greater than ourselves.
  • a summary of the whole gospel

Our affirmation can take different forms: it can be said, recited, acted out, or read. Through this affirmation, we can rehearse the story of our faith, keeping it fresh, alive, and on our hearts and minds.

What are the different types of affirmations of faith?

There are a variety of types of affirmations of faith, each with a different purpose and aim.

Bible-based affirmation of faith

These Bible texts show certain patterns in confessions or affirmations of faith:

  • They may center on God the Father, who is often simply called "God"; on Jesus Christ, especially as Messiah, Son of God, Savior, and Lord; or on the Holy Spirit.
  • They may unite a whole people, as Deuteronomy 6:4–5 does as it is recited morning and evening by faithful Jews to this day.
  • They may recount some of the deeds or events of God or specifically of Jesus Christ ("Christ died for our sins, . . . he was raised on the third day. . . . Then he appeared to more than five hundred" (1 Corinthians 15:3–7)).
  • The gracious, mighty acts of God elicit acclamation, which then shows up in confessions of faith ("How majestic is your name" or "Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father").
  • They may center a whole gospel, as Peter's confession of Jesus as Messiah does in Matthew and Mark (Matthew 16:16; Mark 8:29).
  • They may express the resolution of doubt, as in the case of Thomas in John 20.
  • They may refute heresy: 1 John 4:2 reveals that the early gatherings of Christians were plagued with teachings by so-called "docetists" — people who held that Jesus only appeared to be flesh and blood. But no, says John, the only godly teaching here is that Jesus was actually fully incarnate.
  • They may also be acted out, as in the case of the woman who anointed Jesus with precious ointment at Bethany (Mark 14:3–9).

These Bible-based affirmations of faith allow the congregation to respond to the preaching of the word or sermon with a scripural text connected to the theme of the sermon.

Ecumenical historic creeds

While often used on occasions such as baptism or the Lord's Supper, these creeds serve as a reminder of our faith and connect us with the church from all times and all ages. Creeds such as the Apostles' Creed or the Nicene Creed have been recited by believers for generations and affirm what it is that we believe.

Contemporary statement of faith

Contemporary statements of faith helps the congregation connect their faith with the opportunities and challenges in contemporary culture, helping the congregation connect the two and sometimes calling the church to act in contemporary culture. Sometimes these statements of faith are set to music.

"We believe that this one God in three persons, is present among us, working directly in our lives and the lives of all who are born into this world, striving to bring us back into harmony with all creation and with God: forgiving, healing, touching everyone, never rejecting any who willingly receive this freely offered gift of love and grace and eternal life."Affirmation of Faith by Lisa Frenz from re:Worship

"When we confess faith in Christ, we are essentially doing all of these things – not only confessing our sins, but acknowledging the lordship of Christ and declaring our allegiance to the kingdom of God above all other kingdoms." Scripture Meditation or Sermon by Jonathan K. Twitchell from Church of the Nazarene

"We believe in God: who has created and is creating, who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new, who works in us and others by the Spirit." Affirmation of Faith by Cynthia A. Bond Hopson from Discipleship Ministries

What does affirmation of faith mean?

To affirm faith is to join others in publicly avowing belief or trust, usually in someone divine ("I believe in God the Father, Almighty")—but not always. Jews and Christians are not alone in confessing or affirming their faith. Lower politicians confess their faith in higher ones: "He'll lead us into a shining future." The Bible regularly warns against "false teachers," or people who recommend confessions that will lead them astray. Tyrants confess faith in themselves and their movements: Hitler was fond of crowing, "God is with us." Affirmations of faith may be blasphemous, or they may be trivial: "I trust Sudsy-Wash to give me a truly whiter white."

Or they may be ritualized fantasy. Craig Barnes has observed that in contemporary American life, some of the wildest affirmations of faith come from the lips of commencement speakers: "Your life is in your hands. You are the master of your fate. So reach for the stars, work hard, and you can be whatever you want to be." Mindful of commencement clichés, a Massachusetts high school English teacher by the name of David McCullough offered an antidote to them in his now-famous commencement address. Standing before the 2012 graduating class of Wellesley High School, McCullough said to them, "You are not special. You have been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped, feted, fawned over, and called sweetie-pie. But don't get the idea that you're anybody special, because you're not." McCullough went on to say that there were 37,000 high school graduations that day, and so a minimum of 37,000 valedictorians. Not even valedictorians are special. He added that, according to astrophysics, our planet is not the center of our solar system, our solar system is not the center of our galaxy, our galaxy is not the center of the universe. In fact, astrophysicists say the universe has no center—"so you cannot be it," McCullough told the graduates.

Why do we affirm our faith?

Affirmations of faith may be fantastical, heretical, idolatrous, or trivial, but for Christians they are serious business. As Romans 10:9–10 states, it's one thing to believe in your heart and quite another to confess with your lips. Confession or affirmations of faithputfaith "out there," to be challenged, affirmed, ridiculed, praised, ignored, respected, or persecuted. Confession makes private faith public. It is so essential to the identity of a follower of Jesus that denying one's faith stains a believer's resumé forever. Peter became "the disciple who denied his Lord" (though it's majestically typical of God's redemptive grace that Peter also became the rock on whom Christ built his church—the largest and most famous Christian church in the world is St. Peter's Basilica in Rome!)

Some Christians, though perhaps comfortable with affirming their personal belief, resist creeds ("no creed but Christ"). They are properly impressed with the risk involved in summarizing difficult and disparate Scriptures into a human-made summary. But the Bible is a big book and hard to teach as a whole. Moreover, it itself contains creeds, which form the basis of the ecumenical and intramural Christian creeds. And, of course, with or without the formal Christian creeds, believers sing their confession of faith all the time. This is truein songs such as"Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty" and "There Is a Redeemer" whereboth songs put on believers lips an affirmation of faith Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Affirmations of faith are common in songs for children: "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

And they are often alive on deathbeds in songs such as "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" and statments of faith such as the Heidelberg Catechism which starts with this affirmation of faith:"My only comfort in life and in death is that I am not my own, but belong . . . to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ" (Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 1).

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