LAWTON CHURCH OF GOD, LAWTON OKLAHOMA

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I BELIEVE . . .

 

 

People may have their individual feelings about creeds. Many churches have no use for a creed of any kind and others routinely recite one of the Ecumenical Creeds as part of their worship services. It matters not what people think about creeds, but it does matter that people professing to be Christians believe something—and that something must be scriptural and necessary to lead people into a salvation experience through Jesus Christ. To have no belief system or to believe just anything and call one’s self a Christian is the height of folly.

The purpose of this book is not to encourage any person or church to adopt the Apostles’ Creed as a basis for worship. The purpose is to acquaint the reader with the fact of creeds and the Apostles’ Creed in particular. As Christians we are responsible to “preach the gospel to every creature, teaching all things I have commanded you.”[1] That responsibility makes each of us accountable to Christ for knowing and understanding the faith so that we can effectively communicate it to the unregenerate.

The study of theology is vitally important for those God calls to the ministry for them to be able to deal with the difficulties and the nuances of differing approaches to understanding and explaining the Bible. It is all too common that Christians in the pews rely on their ministers to do all the thinking about and explaining the doctrines of the faith. But, with the Christian faith under attack and with a flood of religious broadcasting filling the airwaves, it is of vital importance that each individual Christian be grounded in the essential doctrines of the faith so as to be able to explain it to the unregenerate and to defend themselves against false teachings that may rain down upon them from the radio or the television—or knock on their front door.

Neither this book nor the Apostles’ Creed is a deep theological work. The Creed contains simple statements founded upon the Bible about the Christian faith. It takes only a few seconds to recite the Creed, and it can be memorized quite easily. This book explores the substance behind the articles of the Creed so that the casual reader can understand why each of the articles of the Creed is important in the faith. Furthermore, the reader should understand that the articles of the Creed are not simply doctrinal statements, they are facts; facts essential in understanding salvation from sin. So, without taking a seminary course in theology, the Apostles’ Creed can help the average Christian explain the faith to someone seeking salvation or to defend his beliefs against false teachings floating through the air or knocking on the front door.

For some Christians the idea of the congregation reciting the Apostles’ Creed during a worship service may seem too formal and unspiritual. Others may feel that observing the Creed is to set a limitation on what they are supposed to believe. We certainly want our worship services to be Christ centered and our preaching to be Bible centered, but even in the most elastic ways of conducting church services, there is an element of form[2] and the preachers do not get in the pulpits and preach the entire Bible in every message. Reciting the Apostles’ Creed during the worship service would acquaint visitors with the fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith, giving them a sense that the church actually believes something and possibly urge the visitor to ask questions or seek further explanation of the beliefs.

This book is not a plea for churches to recite the Apostles’ Creed in their worship services; however, it may be an encouragement for them not to be afraid to use the Creed as a teaching tool. It is certainly valuable for the average Christian to use the Creed as an outline of what the faith is about and what the facts of the faith actually mean. Christians must believe something, a credere, and in this sense each one has a creed. It just may be that the Apostles’ Creed can be a creed for people who do not believe in creeds.



[1] Combining Mark 16:15 and Matthew 28:20.

[2] Such form may consist of opening prayer, congregational singing, receiving an offering, more prayer, more singing, and preaching perhaps with an altar-call following; or something similar.