Objections to the lawful use of subordinate standards.

The subject of the exercise of church power to this particular department is so very important that it may be well to consider apart, and somewhat in detail, the objections that have been commonly urged against the lawfulness or use of subordinate standards. These objections may be readily reduced to one or other of the two following heads: First, subordinate standards have been objected against, as setting aside the sole and supreme authority of Scripture, as the rule of faith, and as militating against the absolute sufficiency and perfection of the sacred volume. Second, subordinate standards have been objected against, as an assumption of an authority on the part of the Church not belonging to her, and the imposition of an unlawful restriction on the Christian liberty of her members. Most if not all the arguments usually urged against the lawfulness and use of subordinate standards may be classed under one or other of these heads. To the examination of these, therefore, we shall not appreciate to direct our attention.
The first objection brought against the use and lawfulness of subordinate and human standards of faith is, that they interfere with the sole authority of the Word of God, and proceed upon the principle that that Word is not in itself perfect or sufficient for all the purposes and objects of a Christian Church. There would be force and justice in this objection, if one or other of these three things were true in regard to subordinate standards of faith: if, in the first place, they denied or superseded the sole supremacy of Scripture as the Church’s law both for doctrine and practice; or if, in the second place, they were inconsistent with the sufficiency of Scripture, as complete for all the purposes designed by it; or if, in the third place, they expressly or by implication added to the Word of God. If any or all of these things were true in regard to subordinate standards of faith, then the objection would be unanswerable; but if it can be satisfactorily shown that none of them is true, the lawfulness and expediency of the Church, adopting and employing such standards will remain untouched by such an objection.

James Bannerman “The Church of Christ” pgs 319-320