No Creed but the Bible?

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Pretty much as soon as we look at a passage and say "it means A and those who say it means B are wrong," we have the beginnings of a creed. Because all creeds and confessions are is collections of important interpretations. Granted "creed" has a connotation of authority that maybe a "confession" or "statement of faith" doesn't, but that's mostly imaginary. Most churches/ministries with a statement of faith insist that you agree with it to get on board and stay on board, and they are usually willing to say that if you don't agree with it, you're into some serious error, maybe even heresy.

So it's really pretty silly to be anti-creed and pro-statement of faith. 

One caviat though: many who are pro "creed" mean "one of the historic, widely recognized creeds of the church." I can see being a non-fan of those and still being an advocate of your custom statement of faith. Those are compatible attitudes. But I like the approach David Wenkell et al. took with the 1644/46 London: seek something with a bit of historical venerability to it and update the language.

You can always supplement with a couple of statements on eschatology etc.

Bert Perry's picture

The one thing where I disagree to a significant point is where McKnight says that the creeds provide the best starting place by which to understand Scripture--some may, but which one?  

And really, as part of a team looking for a new youth pastor for my church, it's front and center as part of the interview process more or less is asking what the criteria for separation ought to be.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Some advice - if your candidate is a convergent, write him off immediately.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

I couldn't tell entirely what persuasion he was, but he was clearly probing the head pastor to figure out "the company answer."  My guess is that the FBFI would not entirely approve of him, happy to say.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Bert Perry wrote:

The one thing where I disagree to a significant point is where McKnight says that the creeds provide the best starting place by which to understand Scripture--some may, but which one?  

And really, as part of a team looking for a new youth pastor for my church, it's front and center as part of the interview process more or less is asking what the criteria for separation ought to be.

The major creeds don't disagree with one another about much. Some are just more complete than others or say it a little better. Go back far enough and it's even harder to find one to disagree with. Nicene, Apostle's. The only thing questionable in the latter is the "descended into hell" detail that some versions have and some don't. I don't personally think Jesus did that--or, more precisely, I am not confident that that happened.

Andrew K's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

 

Bert Perry wrote:

 

The one thing where I disagree to a significant point is where McKnight says that the creeds provide the best starting place by which to understand Scripture--some may, but which one?  

And really, as part of a team looking for a new youth pastor for my church, it's front and center as part of the interview process more or less is asking what the criteria for separation ought to be.

 

 

The major creeds don't disagree with one another about much. Some are just more complete than others or say it a little better. Go back far enough and it's even harder to find one to disagree with. Nicene, Apostle's. The only thing questionable in the latter is the "descended into hell" detail that some versions have and some don't. I don't personally think Jesus did that--or, more precisely, I am not confident that that happened.

R. Scott Clark argues that the original meaning of the phrase was simply that Christ was buried; that the earlier reference "was buried" was a later (6th century) addition, as the phrase came to be understood as a physical descent into hell rather than simply a descent into the grave, the terms for burial and descent being used interchangeably up until the late 4th century. 

(https://heidelblog.net/2010/12/why-do-we-confess-he-descended-into-hell/)

Bert Perry's picture

Aaron, my reluctance to endorse many creeds stems from my experiences interacting with those whose fealty to Augsburg & Westminster seems to have strongly limited their ability to understand them as they are.  Make the creed the Apostles' Creed plus the Solas, the Fundamentals, and the Trinity, and I'm with you.  Go terribly further, and I've see a few things that don't work really well. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I read a book recently where the author suggested that having the congregation recite something like the Apostles Creed helps instill some basic knowledge and fidelity to the Biblical story, much like the Pledge iof Allegiance does in schools. I think there may be something to that.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

josh p's picture

We recite the Heidelberg confession every Sunday. I really like doing so and I do think it tends to unite the congregation around the doctrine of the church.