In some of my posts, I have referred to the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF). I do this because as a member of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), I hold to this standard. However, for those who are not familiar with confessions and their uses, I have decided that it would be beneficial to explain what a confession of faith is and where is stands authoritatively in regards to Scripture.
What is a confession of faith? A confession of faith is a summary of the core doctrines that a particular group holds to. For Presbyterians that is the Westminster Confession of Faith along with it’s Larger and Shorter Catechisms. The purpose of the confession is to proclaim in a concise manner the doctrines found within the Scriptures. Some confessions give the Scripture references where they find the doctrine, others do not. Reformed confessions are not some doctrines that men hundreds of years ago pulled out of thin air and tagged them with Scripture. Rather, they are the result of the study of Scripture and a simple stating of what Scripture teaches. In short, confessions are a proclamation of how certain groups understand the Holy Scriptures.
As Presbyterians, we do not hold the WCF above Scripture. We also do not see the WCF as a contradiction of Scripture. Scripture is the highest authority Christians have. The WCF is simply what we understand the Scriptures to teach.
I hope this was helpful for you.
Soli Deo Gloria