Yes, You Do Have A Creed

  One major thesis in Carl Trueman’s new book, The Creedal Imperative, is that all Christians have creeds.  He argues well that no Christian or church simply believes the Bible.  In other words, no Christian, when asked what they believe, is going to start reading Genesis 1:1 and end at the last verse of Revelation.  Every church and Christian will give a summary of what they believe when asked.  That is essentially their creed or confession. 

Trueman tells the story of a man who once told him that he had “no creed but the Bible.”   He then writes, “What he [this man] really should have said was: I have a creed but I am not going to write it down, so you cannot critique it; and I am going to identify my creed so closely with the Bible that I am not going to be able to critique it either” (p. 160).

“There are numerous obvious ironies here, not least that last point.  It is probably this person objected to creeds on the grounds that they represent a man-made framework which was imposed upon the Bible by the church and thus distorted how the Bible was read.  In fact, by refusing to acknowledge even the existence of his own framework, he removed any possibility of assessing that framework in the light of Scripture.  Thus, he invested more absolute authority in his private creed and his tradition than even the Roman Catholic Church or the Eastern Orthodox, who at least have the decency to put their confessional standards into the public domain.”

“The standard evangelical objection to creeds and confessions is simply not sustainable in the light of its own self-referential incoherence, the Bible’s own teaching, and the history of the church.  I argued in an earlier chapter that creeds and confessions actually fulfill a vital role in the function that Paul makes an imperative for the church and her leadership, that of the stable transmission of the gospel from one generation to another.  Thus, if you take the Bible seriously, you will either have a creed or confession or something that fulfills the same basic role, such as a statement of faith.”

“Here, I want to make the point that those who repudiate such ideas are being unintentionally disingenuous: they still have their creed or confession; they just will not write it down and allow you to look at it and scrutinize it in the light of Scripture.  They are in a sense more authoritarian than the papacy” (p. 160-161).”

Again, I highly recommend this book to our readers: Carl Trueman, The Creedal Imperative.  It’ll really help you understand the beauty, necessity, and importance of creeds and confessions. 

shane lems

6 comments on “Yes, You Do Have A Creed

  1. Looking forward to reading that book!

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  2. Alan Beagley says:

    One of my professors said, “No matter what a church says it believes, you can tell what they really believe by the hymnal they use.” My own further modification of that is: “You can tell what they really believe by which hymns they sing out of that hymnal.”

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  3. CW says:

    This one has been on my list as well.

    The increasing amount of equivocation occurring – not just by cults, but by supposed mainstream Christian organizations – demonstrates the ongoing importance of strong confessional subscription. They utilize familiar terms like God, Jesus, sin, atonement, justification, and a host of other lofty theological concepts, yet without a clear, confessional definition these words and claims are meaningless and often times horribly misleading.

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  4. Celal says:

    I don’t particularly welcome a book like this. Did the Jews in the OT have creeds ? No, they didn’t because they learned and grew in their spirituality through (a) the words of the prophets and (b) through God’s acts in Israel’s history. Israel’s history is also for the benefit of the Christian as it was for the Jew (as Paul states to the Corinthians). Paul’s creeds were historical “died, buried and rose on the 3rd day” not philosophical “summaries of scripture”. Bottom line, i am not necessarily opposed to creeds or to philosophy or to theology and believe they make good and necessary scaffolding for the believer’s (and the church’s) study of the Bible. But to go on a crusade about creeds by writing a book about it is lopsided. Churches and Christians today have greater spiritual needs than to be preached the message “go back to the creeds”. Just a load of strawy pharisaism.

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  5. […] Yes, You Do Have A Creed (reformedreader.wordpress.com) One major thesis in Carl Trueman’s new book, The Creedal Imperative, is that all Christians have creeds.  He argues well that no Christian or church simply believes the Bible.  In other words, no Christian, when asked what they believe, is going to start reading Genesis 1:1 and end at the last verse of Revelation.  Every church and Christian will give a summary of what they believe when asked.  That is essentially their creed or confession. Rate this:Share this:TwitterFacebookPinterestTumblrStumbleUponRedditLinkedInDiggEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in Archaeology, Bible or Holy Scriptures, Bible Reading, Bible Study, God (English articles), History and tagged Bible, Charles Marston, Concordance, Correction, Dictionary, Discipline, Evangelism, Evidence, God, God's Wisdom, Inspiration, Reliability, Religious text, Scholar, Truth, Wisdom, Word, Yahshua, Yahweh. Bookmark the permalink. […]

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