Our Creed

Our Creed, Mark G. Johnston (P&R, 2012) I have encountered plenty of Christians who believe that creeds are divisive. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary reports approximately forty-one thousand (so-called) Christian denominations or organizations as of 2011.  But for well over fifteen-hundred years, Christians have been faithfully reciting one particular creed. Christians, what do you believe? This is a familiar question to many of us. And it is an important one. The Apostles’ Creed helps to unite believers by professing together the basics of the Christian faith. In Our Creed, Mark G. Johnston takes each line of this short creed and elaborates on the truths they convey. This is a short, concise book that is well-organized. Each chapter highlights the importance of a line from the creed, and its relevance still today. Johnston takes the reader through Scripture, showing the importance of these key doctrines in the Christian faith. Every chapter is good, but I particularly liked his chapter on the church: Glorious Body, Radiant Bride. He has some important exhortations for the church today. The opening line reveals the author’s passion for this topic: “Few things are more precious to Christ and yet more neglected by his people than the church and what the Bible has to say about it” (93). Underline. Add exclamation point. Clap my hands. I really only have good things to say. Great cover, fantastic subtitle, and definitely successful in completing the mission. I do want to point out what I think is a major accomplishment these days. One of my biggest pet peeves is underestimating the reader in the “study questions” at the end of a chapter. I am a huge fan of study questions, but not the quality that we normally get. I get insulted and annoyed when the so-called study questions are easier than my second grade son's reading comprehension questions. No, I don’t care to regurgitate line four on page 31. Johnston doesn’t do this. He even explains himself, all polite and stuff, at the beginning of the book. He sets up the study questions so that his book can be a tool that will drive the reader to Scripture for further study. But Johnston isn’t only concerned with meaning. There are good application questions that are thought-provoking and challenging. These questions are set up perfect for a group study. And Johnston even boldly asks the reader to prepare ahead of time so that they can have more to offer to the group discussion. Thank you! The Apostles’ Creed is for every culture and every generation, like the subtitle says. It unites believers on the key doctrines of the Christian faith. It encourages us to hold fast to the profession of our faith (Heb. 10:23). Johnston succeeds in demonstrating that it is far more than a rote exercise before we take communion.