Why do we recite the historic creeds of the church in our worship services?

"...All we are doing is reading a summary of what the Bible says. Second, we believe recitation leads to memorization. It is very important that we understand the basics of Christianity...third, when we recite the creeds, we are affirming that what we believe about the teaching of Scripture is the same as what the Church has believed throughout history." - Ref21

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Jay's picture

I've thought for a while that this would be a really good practice for our churches to follow, and think that it might be good to go through the longer ones piece by piece.  I don't know about going through the Longer Westminster is a good idea, but you could go through the Shorter Westminster in less than a year, or the 1633 New Hampshire Baptist Confession instead.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Bert Perry's picture

Grew up Methodist, reciting the Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creed out of the hymnal at a lot of services, and from experience I can affirm that it is incredibly meaningful to some, and is just a vain repetition to others.  What Jay recommends in teaching through the creeds could be very helpful to some for whom it's just vain repetition.  These summaries of theology can take their rightful place besides the Solas, the Fundamentals, and such. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

josh p's picture

My church goes through the Heidelberg every Sunday and the 1689 LBCF on Wednesday’s. I don’t always agree with the theology but I think it’s an excellent practice.

Aaron Blumer's picture


In many Baptist churches I've been involved in there is very little sense of connection with the larger church of Jesus Christ around the world--and even less with the church throughout history. 

In some ways the problem is the excessive individualism of American and Evangelical culture.

But I believe it's more important than ever to convey to believers that they are part of something ancient and that affinity with Christian history is a very important part of a church's legitimacy--in doctrine and practice. We all know when individual teachers and groups of people really want to, they are capable of distorting the Bible to teach and support just about anything. Rooting doctrine in history is so important as an antidote to that. Novelty in doctrine shouldn't be seen as certainly wrong, but should always be suspect--cause for very careful evaluation. And you can't do that if you know next to nothing of the history of the church.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

mmartin's picture

Aaron makes a good point about Baptist (I'm thinking of the IFB type) having little sense of connection with the larger church of Jesus Christ.  I think you could make a somewhat similar case about other denominations, but not nearly as clear-cut as Baptist.

I would say though, that I think that isolationism has a lot to do with not wanting to associate with other groups or organizations that are non-Baptist, evangelical, or are perceived to be weak in their doctrine or associations.