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Christian Reformed Church
The reality of truth presupposes the existence of error.
In the present age, however, we find a generation, perhaps for the first time, that objects to the existence of truth. The church, however, has understood since its founding that heresy and false teaching exist and that these are horrible dangers to the people of God. Indeed, no error presents a greater danger to the church and the world than theological error. Heresy, the denial of a doctrine central to Christianity, departs from the truth and thus has eternal consequences.
The church needs the creeds not only to teach the truth but to guard against error. Indeed, the creeds protect teachers from stumbling into error by providing a rule to follow and boundaries for healthy theological discussion and development. It naturally ushers our souls into heartfelt worship and praise of God.
The creeds, therefore, guide the church in worship and contain the most precious truths through which we can worship God and rightly praise his name. In corporate worship, voices converge so that I believe becomes we believe, joining together all believers, both the living and those already with Christ.
We have a blood-bought relationship with our brothers and sisters who went before us. We joyfully desire to stand in the same faith with them—all the way back to the apostles. No creed or statement of faith can replace the Scriptures. What is to prevent my being baptized?
Believers have proclaimed their belief over the centuries, and when they did this, they were proclaiming short creeds ; short statements of truth. The writers of scripture and the first leaders of the church valued these statements enough to document them for all time, and they understood their value to the Christian community.
The writers of scripture believed it was not only important for believers to have faith, but to place that faith in the God accurately described in the scriptures. The Biblical authors understood that a saving faith must be placed in the God specifically and uniquely described in the scriptures. The Biblical authors were also concerned their young converts might stray from the truth of God described in the scriptures, and as a result, walk away from the correct object of their faith.
These writers repeatedly warned the faithful not to confuse the truth of the world with the truth of the Christian Worldview:. Hebrews Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings. As important as it was for individual believers to understand and hold on to the truth, the Biblical authors were even more concerned that teachers would retain the truth passed on to them.
List of Christian creeds - Wikipedia
Titus …hold fast the faithful word which is in accord with the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. Paul makes this request of Timothy and Titus because he knew how important it was for them to make sure the truth he taught them was not corrupted over time. But how was this to be accomplished?
One good way to maintain the truth was simply to 1 State it as clearly as possible, and then 2 Restate it as often as possible:. Paul, for example, took the time to delineate some of the doctrinal truths of our faith as he wrote to the Corinthian church who apparently struggled to resist the outside influences of their culture :. The Biblical authors, in an effort to help young believers maintain the truth, did their best to state this truth in the pages of scripture. The earliest Christian communities also developed the habit of repeating these truths in the form of recited creeds.
It even appears some of these creeds are recorded in the scriptures themselves. In the following two passages, Paul wrote to Timothy and then to the church in Philippi and recorded two early confessions of faith. These were, in essence, simple creeds familiar or about to be familiar to the early readers of scripture. They were or were about to be recited and practiced by the early church:.
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He was manifested in the flesh, Vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory. Philippians Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:.
Who, being in very nature God, Did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, But made himself nothing, Taking the very nature of a servant, Being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself And became obedient to death — Even death on a cross.
Origins and functions of creeds
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place And gave him the name that is above every name, That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, In heaven and on earth and under the earth, And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, To the glory of God the Father. If you open your own personal Bible and look at these two passages, you will find the modern translators have formatted the creeds in a manner that isolates them within the larger passage they are usually indented.
This is because these two passages are perhaps the earliest of creeds statements of belief. Scholars and historians believe these creeds were either introduced to readers so they could recite them in the context of their group meetings, or were recorded by Paul because they were already being used. In either case, it is clear creeds were an early part of the Christian faith and an early part of the practice of the Christian Church.
One such Council is described in the Book of Acts, Chapter In this passage of scripture, a council of Church leaders is called to settle the debate about whether or not new believers should be circumcised according to the custom of Moses.
Paul and Barnabas joined the Apostles in Jerusalem, and with James overseeing the Council, they formulated a creed related to this issue and sent it out to the local congregations:.