Tuesday, September 11, 2012

All of both mind and heart

Free today from Amazon as a Kindle book, Primal Credo by Derek Vreeland, a member of a tradition that does not regularly recite the Creed. I just "bought" it, downloaded it to my Kindle, and started reading. From his "Introduction":
I recently had a conversation with a well-known retired pastor and theology professor. I asked him about whether or not we need to teach theology to people in our churches. He initially said, "No. People need the stones." I challenged his reply, by appealing to his love for the doctrine of the Trinity. In his writings, he repeatedly returns to images of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit so I asked him how people could worship God as the Trinity without some understanding of Christian doctrine. He recanted a bit. "Well I guess a little doctrine is necessary. Really, the creed is the best way to teach theology."

We do need an experiential encounter with God. I believe in the need for experience today just as much as I did in my college years.... Experiential approaches to the Christian faith can quickly sink into sentimentality or "feel good" forms of religion. Our deep need as followers of Jesus in these modem times is to think seriously about our faith and to love the Lord our God with all of our minds in addition to loving him with all our hearts. I believe the creed can help us think clearly and seriously about following Jesus in a growing world of secular and religious hostility. In thinking clearly, we gain access into God's story, the story of redemption recorded in Scripture.

I have written this book to explore the Apostles' Creed so followers of Jesus Christ can reflect on what it means to believe in God as revealed in Jesus by the Holy Spirit. To those in creedal traditions, which emphasize the creed in worship and Christian education, I want to extend my appreciation. Thank you for keeping the Apostles' Creed alive in the life of the church. I hope my reflections on the creed help you read the creed with new eyes. To those in non-creedal traditions who either ignore the creed or scoff at its presence in the life of the church. I want to invite you to join me in exploring the contents of this ancient confession of faith. Many Christian traditions still abide by the "no creed but the Bible" mantra, fearing the Apostles' Creed will somehow replace the teachings of the Bible. Set aside your fear for a moment. A quick, cursory overview of the creed will reveal the creed's harmony with the Bible and the ability of the creed to usher us into the biblical story. While the creed does predate the official formation of the Bible, the two work together. ....
Primal Credo by Derek Vreeland