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What We Believe

What We Believe

The Institute for Religious Research (IRR) is an evangelical Christian organization. As such we affirm, confess, teach, and defend the doctrines of classical Christian orthodoxy articulated in the church’s earliest creeds and reaffirmed in the historic confessions of the Protestant Reformation. We also affirm, confess, teach, and defend the basic distinctive doctrines of the Reformation that Scripture is alone the written word of God and the final court of appeal for Christian doctrine (sola scriptura) and that justification is a gift of God’s grace alone (sola gratia) received through faith in Jesus Christ alone (sola fide).

The following texts represent the consensus of the faith of evangelical Christians who uphold classical Christian orthodox theology and the basic teachings of the Reformation. IRR endorses the doctrine and values taught in these creeds, confessions, and statements.

The Early Creeds

The early church produced three principal creeds. The earliest of these was the Apostles’ Creed, which though not composed by the apostles was an expansion of early apostolic creeds as reflected in 1 Corinthians 8:6 and 15:3-5. Later, the Apostles’ Creed was expanded in the Nicene Creed, issued by the Council of Nicaea in 325 and revised at the First Council of Constantinople in 381. The Nicene Creed articulates orthodox doctrine, especially concerning the deity of Christ, in response to the fourth-century Arian heresy. The Definition of Chalcedon (451) set forth the church’s understanding of Jesus Christ as one person in whom were permanently united divine nature and human nature. You can find all of these creeds with biblical citations supporting them in our article on the biblical basis of the creeds.

International Evangelical Confessions of Faith

IRR strongly advocates an international, interdenominational view of the Christian church. We affirm the World Evangelical Alliance Statement of Faith (1951), which represents a network of evangelical denominations and associations in 143 nations throughout the world, representing over 600 million members. Likewise, we subscribe to the Lausanne Covenant (1974), a detailed, biblically rich statement regarding the church’s foundation and mission produced by the International Congress on World Evangelization at Lausanne, Switzerland, which drew participants from 150 nations.

In the late 1970s and 1980s, three conferences of evangelical scholars in Chicago sponsored by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy produced three statements on the inerrancy, interpretation, and application of the Bible. One can find all three statements and links to the books containing the papers presented at the conferences on the ICBI Records page on the Dallas Theological Seminary website. Although these statements are not formal confessions of church bodies, they are admirable, helpful explanations of the way evangelicals generally understand the Bible, and we recommend them for that purpose.

IRR’s Statement of Faith

Early in its history, IRR’s staff and board of directors produced a formal statement of faith representing the basic evangelical Christian beliefs of the organization. IRR continues to adhere to this Statement of Faith, which was last revised (mainly for style) in 2011.