f The Wittenberg Door: The Necessity of Creeds By Rev. Robert Grossmann

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Necessity of Creeds By Rev. Robert Grossmann

The Word of God calls upon believers to confess their faith. Jesus said, Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven (Matt. 10:32). The apostle Paul concurs: If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Rom. 10:9). To assure a purity of confession, the church has written various creeds over the years. Creeds are universal as summaries of the truth of the gospel.

Even those who proclaim "No Creed but Christ" have a list of propositions that defines the Christ they believe in. The problem is that they are not willing to publish this list since it might change. There should be no fear to publish the teachings of Scripture, though: the Lord got his doctrines right the first time! Nevertheless, as Christians we must agree that, if our creedal summary is in error, we will change it.

The Bible teaches that man's conscience should be bound only by the Word of God (Mark 7:9). This does not lead to anarchy, as one might suppose, because the Bible also teaches the unity of the true faith and separation from those who do not hold to the clear teaching of God's Word (2 Cor. 6:14ff.; 1 Tim. 6:3-5; 1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 10).

Basic Christian unity is confessed by Reformed Christians with all who sincerely hold to the teachings of the Apostles' Creed (see Heidelberg catechism, Questions 22 and 54). Historic confessions have generally used the Apostles' Creed, the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer to structure their more specific doctrinal statements.

Reformed churches, along with other churches descending from the Reformation, have followed the ancient church tradition of writing expository creeds which state Biblical teaching in a way that separates believers from unbelievers (cf. the Nicene Creed, which declares that all Christians must believe in the Trinity). Reformed confessions include the Heidelberg catechism, the Belgic Confession of Faith, the Canons of Dort, the Second Helvetic Confession and the Westminster Standards (the first three creeds constitute the confessional base of the RCUS). These expository creeds serve as the skin and bones for the church as an organization on earth. As bones, they give it a unifying structure, since all members and officers confess the truth of the doctrines they set forth; as skin, they separate those of a particular denomination from others outside the church structure.

Because Reformed churches hold that unity in truth is the basis of all other unity (2 John 10), they form close-knit denominational fellowships and establish ecumenical connections with other Reformed bodies holding similar creeds. Such fraternal relations should not be confused with the modern tendency of church unionism.



Blogger Mr. Mcgranor said...

I abstain from the continual reciting of creeds myself. Depending on the denomination i am at, i only then recite them.
When it comes to the part universal and apostolic church, i say: Protestant faith; which is in effect the universal church.
I do not prescribe to catholicity; because i believe it is lacking and odd in usage.
I do this at a Episcopalian and Lutheran Missouri Synod congregation...I am not loud with it, mainly barely uttering such.
The pastor at the Lutheran church received my clarification...and understood.
As for catechisms; i think that if one has to be reminded of faith; then they may not have any.

3:03 PM  
Blogger The Catechizer said...

Greetings, Mr. Mcgranor. Question regarding your catechism comment.

As for catechisms; i think that if one has to be reminded of faith; then they may not have any.

Catechesis is a method of teaching a person the faith using questions and answers. It’s a method that traces its history back to Scripture (Mat. 16:13, 22:42). Is your point that true Christians need no such instruction?

8:21 AM  
Anonymous John said...

I like saying the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds as a means of uniting a congregation in each others' presence. I miss their use in the Reformed congregation where I am now a member.

9:32 PM  

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