What are creeds?

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Timely words from J. Gresham Machen, "The Creeds and Doctrinal Advance," in God Transcendent, ed. Ned B. Stonehouse (Eerdmans, 1949), 145:

That is often forgotten by those who today undertake to write confessional statements. Let us give expression to our Christian experience, they say, in forms better suited to the times in which we are living than are the older creeds of the church. So they sit down and concoct various forms of words, which they represent as being on a plane with the great creeds of Christendom.

When they do that, they are simply forgetting what the creeds of Christendom are. The creeds of Christendom are not expressions of Christian experience. They are summary statements of what God has told us in His Word. Far from the subject matter of the creeds being derived from Christian experience, it is Christian experience which is based upon the truth contained in the creeds; and the truth contained in the creeds is derived from the Bible, which is the Word of God. Groups of people that undertake to write a creed without believing in the full truthfulness of the Bible, and without taking the subject-matter of their creed from that inspired Word of God, are not at all taking an additional sep on the pathway on which the great Christian creeds moved; rather, they are moving in an exactly opposite direction.

 

Posted May 28, 2008 @ 10:11 AM by Sean Lucas
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