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Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience (1 Peter 3:15b-16a ESV)

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9/22/2004

Creeds and Christianity 

There's an interesting article here about Christian private schools in Australia, and how many times the religion aspect is forgotten, or downplayed. I was going to write about THAT, and how it is happening in the US as well, until I read this sentence.

"[W]e would sing our way through the limited repertoire of hymns, and recite the incomprehensible Nicene Creed."

Now, this is the Nicene Creed:
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't find that all that difficult to understand -- certainly nnot incomprehensible.

I'm finding more and more, especially among Evangelicals, a resistance to creeds. "No creed but the Bible!" they shout -- not realizing that THAT is, in fact, a creed of sorts. Every Baptist church 've ever been a member of has had a creed -- of course, they called it a Statement of Faith, or their Articles of Faith, or something like that. Never a creed.

Even in the early days of the Baptist church in America, they had "Confessions", not "Creeds". Why?

Maybe the word creed, with it's Latin derivation, reminded too many of the Roman Church that had persecuted them -- though for Baptists, it was more often their fellow Protestant Anglicans who were doing the persecuting. Maybe a general fear of appearing Romish, or Popish, or whatever other -ish they were frightened of.

But maybe it's because they recognized that Christianity isn't just about believing (credo means to believe, after all). Maybe they saw that believing was only part of the equation. Didn't Jesus say that "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. "(Mat 10:32 KJV)? Maybe these early Baptists and Presbyterians and Congregationalists were on to something. Maybe it isn't enough to affirm that we believe something -- maybe we need to make sure we confess it as well.


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