Thursday, July 7, 2016

"We believe..."

.... Plenty of well-meaning Christians hesitate to learn, know, and even recite the traditional Church creeds. Often they insist “We believe the Bible!” rather than mindlessly repeat man-based creeds, which is understandable.

Yet Bird reveals that sooner or later, even if you stand alone on the Word of God, you’ll have to outline what you believe about what the Bible says. And when you do that, you’re constructing a creed. Which makes them standard.
What does the Bible…say about God, Jesus, salvation, and the life of the age to come? When you set out the biblical teaching in some formal sense, like in a church doctrinal statement, then you are creating a creed. You are saying: this is what the Bible teaches about X, Y, and Z.
And that’s how the traditional Church creeds function in the first place.

Consider this: The Bible itself is filled with creedal statements outlining beliefs about God, Jesus, and salvation. Bird draws our attention to several of these creedal formulas:
  • “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
  • “For we believe that Jesus died and rose again.” (1 Thessalonians 4:14)
  • “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Romans 4:25)
One of the clearest creedal statements is the so-called “Christ Hymn” in Philippians 2:5-11. “Whether sung, read, or recited, it certainly lends itself to a creedal function,” Bird explains, “as it sets out what Christians believe about where Jesus came from, why he died, and why he should be worshiped.” ....