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Charismatic Puritan

Right doctrine leads to right thinking, and right thinking leads to right living.

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Location: Gaithersburg, MD, United States

Jealous for the truth, beauty and majesty of our glorious risen Savior.

Monday, April 25, 2005

On Creeds

Rear Admiral Ann E. Rondeau, as commander of Commander, Naval Service Training Command, instituted a policy whereby each morning all students in the command, officer and enlisted, would recite the Sailor’s Creed. Some, especially some officers, have dissented, for various reasons. What I found disturbing about several of the cited opponents was a disregard or even distain for authoritative institutional values. The admiral rightly responded that people are dying every day for the things that we believe, so we ought to know what we believe.

I whole heartedly agree.

Definition of a creed:

A Creed, or Rule of Faith, or Symbol, is a confession of faith for public use, or a form of words setting forth with authority certain articles of belief, which are regarded by the framers as necessary for salvation, or at least for the well-being of the Christian Church.
John Brokhoff asks, “Why bother with the Creeds? Why not let each Christian decide what to believe?” He answers, “The Creeds have at least a three-dimensional purpose: Definition, Defense, and Declaration.”

With creeds we define our belief system, consolidating the themes and doctrines expounded upon by the sum of Scripture into concise statements of truth. They help us know what it is we say we as Christians are supposed to believe. They equip us to defend ourselves and our religion against attacks from heretics and false teachers. They are tools for fulfilling the Great Commission, giving us simple but accurate messages to communicate to the unbelieving world. They range from Peter’s simple statement, “You are the Christ” (Matt. 16.16)to the almost universally accepted Nicene Creed to the Westminster Confession.

From “The Case for Creeds,” on the website of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland:

“The need for confessions and symbols did not cease with the close of the canon of Scripture…While there would have been creeds even if there had been no doctrinal controversy, most of the historic Christian creeds and confessions were hammered out on the anvil of controversy. These creeds…were statements of doctrine in which the imperiled Church sought to express truths that were vital to her very existence… There have always been those who wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction and to that of others (2 Pet.3:16)…As summaries of biblical doctrines and aids to their understanding, creeds edify the Body of Christ. The purpose of the early creeds was that of popular instruction. The more detailed confessions of later date are also useful in the instruction of the members and prospective members of the Church and the catechisms were designed expressly for this purpose.”

I frequently use the Nicene creed as a foundation for my prayers, as I pray to and worship God for who He is in all His triune glory. It is a tool, when my mind drifts to worldly things, to remind just how awesome is the truth of Christianity, how amazing and unhuman its doctrines. It continues to convince me that men did not make this up.

These creeds are girds for our faith. I spent half my life believing most every pluralistic, relativistic, post-modernist lie. I thank God that He has blessed His church with doctrinal statements that declare firmly the truth from His word. Learn them, teach them to your children, consider them as a model for your prayers. “Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” (Titus 2.15)

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