Are creeds, confessions, and theological language important?

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UnitedWithChrist

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2019
567
309
63
#1
Are creeds, confessions, and theological language important?

Suppose you live in an area with a lot of crime. Would you leave your door open?

NO.

Yet, that's exactly what many professing Christians are doing with regards to their spiritual lives, their doctrinal understanding, and those of their children.

This sort of thinking finds its roots in the early 1800's and the New School movement, which included men like Charles Finney. The New School had some legitimate criticisms, but in effect, they threw the baby out with the bath water.

This movement sought to promote emotionalism over an academic, solidly biblical approach toward understanding Christianity. This emotionalism appealed more to the ignorant populace in the frontiers, rather than a straightforward explanation of the Gospel. Unfortunately, this philosophy continues today amongst various sects. There is a strong discouragement against studying doctrine and church history, for example.

However, here's the issue.....the Church formulated it's doctrinal statements in order to protect against heretics. They crafted the language so that thieves and robbers couldn't enter in and claim ungodly things, such as denying the deity of Christ or the Trinity.

These doctrines are fundamental to the personal and mission of Jesus Christ. And, they are perpetuated today through creeds, confessions, and catechisms.

Some today want to allow such a flexible definition of core Christian concepts that thieves and robbers can enter into the fold, and ultimately pollute the faith. Their re-definitions would ultimately lead to this.

Such individuals despise creeds, confessions and catechisms. Their churches, members, and children are not reflecting sound doctrine as a result. And, sound doctrine is what nourishes the soul, and leads to proper worship.

You should study the Bible first and foremost. But, studying the creeds, confessions, and catechisms are important, too. It is not "Roman Catholic" to use these tools. This is a distortion which began with this "New School" group.

The carnal mind is also fiercely independent and thinks it is the ultimate authority on truth. It does not give the proper respect to church history. Many real Christians continue to exhibit this fierce independence and don't acknowledge that the church is built upon a history of godly men who extend into the past. This is part of the fleshly thinking we have inherited from our father Adam.

I would strongly encourage reading some of the creeds, confessions, and catechisms of the Church. You may not agree with every point, but you will definitely know what some of the groups believe if you read them.

For beginners, you might try the 1689 London Baptist Confession or the Westminister Confession. I don't agree with every single point of these confessions, but the way that they lay out their belief system is solid. General Baptists have one called Baptist Faith and Message, too.

In Reformed churches, some children know more about Scripture than adults in other congregations today. It really should humiliate adults who think they understand a lot about the Bible.

Some might think it's a form of brainwashing, but apparently they are perfectly OK with allowing the world to program the brains of their children. Disgusting in my mind. I know that if I had children, I would use a tool like the New City Catechism, or I would consider myself to be a very poor Christian parent.

Here is an account by Tim Keller concerning his son, Jonathan, and the New City Catechism:

When my son Jonathan was a young child, my wife, Kathy, and I started teaching him a children’s catechism. In the beginning we worked on just the first three questions:

Question 1. Who made you?
Answer. God

Question 2. What else did God make?
Answer. God made all things.

Question 3. Why did God make you and all things?
Answer. For his own glory.

One day Kathy dropped Jonathan off at a babysitter’s. At one point the babysitter discovered Jonathan looking out the window. “What are you thinking about?” she asked him. “God,” he said. Surprised, she responded, “What are you thinking about God?” He looked at her and replied, “How he made all things for his own glory.” She thought she had a spiritual giant on her hands! A little boy looking out the window, contemplating the glory of God in creation!

What had actually happened, obviously, was that her question had triggered the question/answer response in him. He answered with the catechism. He certainly did not have the slightest idea what the “glory of God” meant. But the concept was in his mind and heart, waiting to be connected with new insights, teaching, and experiences.

Such instruction, Princeton theologian Archibald Alexander said, is like firewood in a fireplace. Without the fire—the Spirit of God—firewood will not in itself produce a warming flame. But without fuel there can be no fire either, and that is what catechetical instruction is.

Advance warning: I don't care what cultists claim concerning their denial of the creeds, confessions, and catechisms of Christianity. Your agenda is obvious. You don't want biblical truth to shine through the darkness.
 

Grandpa

Senior Member
Jun 24, 2011
9,284
1,619
113
#2
Nicene Creed;

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,



And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God
the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.



I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Christian Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
 

Melach

Well-known member
Mar 28, 2019
684
441
63
#3
if creeds are biblical i got no problem with them. its a way to put something in compact form.
 

TheDivineWatermark

Well-known member
Aug 3, 2018
2,750
579
113
#4
One CC Member on here told me that the following wasn't in the "original creed" but was changed at some later date to thereafter reflect what is shown below (I forget what "year" he said this changed... I just hope the readers of creeds, and this one in particular, know! :D ) :


[quoting Gaebelein on 1 Peter 3]

"The chief question is: Did our Lord go to Hades in a disembodied state? In fact, all depends on the question of what is the true meaning of the sentence, “quickened by the Spirit.” Now, according to the interpretations of the men who teach that the Lord visited Hades, the spirits in prison, during the interval between His death and the morning of the third day, He descended into these regions while His dead body was still in the grave. Therefore, these teachers claim that His human spirit was quickened, which necessitates that the spirit which the dying Christ commended into the Father’s hands had also died. This is not only incorrect doctrine, but it is an unsound and evil doctrine. Was the holy humanity of our Lord, body, soul and spirit dead? A thousands times No! Only His body died; that is the only part of Him which could die. The text makes this clear: “He was put to death in flesh,” that is, His body. There could be no quickening of His spirit, for His spirit was alive. Furthermore, the word quickening, as we learn from Ephesians 1:20 and Ephesians 2:5-6, by comparing the two passages, applies to His physical resurrection, it is the quickening of His body. To teach that the Lord Jesus was made alive before His resurrection is unscriptural. The “quickened by the Spirit” means the raising up of His body. His human spirit needed no quickening; it was His body and only His body. And the Spirit who did the quickening is not His own spirit, that is, His human spirit, but the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:11 speaks of the Spirit as raising Jesus from among the dead.

"We have shown that it was an impossibility that Christ was in any way quickened while His body was not yet raised, hence a visit to Hades is positively excluded between His death and resurrection. There is only another alternative. If it is true that He descended into these regions, then it must have been after His resurrection. But that is equally untenable. The so-called “Apostle’s Creed” puts the descent between His death and resurrection and all the other theorists follow this view. We have shown what the passage does not mean. It cannot mean a visit of the disembodied Christ to Hades, for it speaks of the quickening by the Spirit, and that means His physical resurrection."

--Gaebelein, Commentary on 1 Peter 3 [source: BibleHub]

https://biblehub.com/commentaries/gaebelein/1_peter/3.htm

[end quoting; bold and underline mine]
 

TheDivineWatermark

Well-known member
Aug 3, 2018
2,750
579
113
#5
if creeds are biblical i got no problem with them.
A very important point. Agreed.

One just needs to know whether a particular "creed" or "confession" is indeed biblical or it isn't. ;)

For example...

I disagree with John Calvin, here (that is, I believe this is NOT what Scripture says):


John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion -

"Those, therefore, whom God passes by, he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines to his children.

"But if all whom the Lord predestines to death, are naturally liable to sentence of death, of what injustice, pray, do they complain because by his eternal providence they were before their birth doomed to perpetual destruction, what will they be able to mutter against this defence? Of this, no other cause can be adduced than reprobation, which is hidden in the secret counsel of God.

"Now since the arrangement of all things is in the hand of God, He arranges that individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction. God, according to the good pleasure of his will, without any regard to merit, elects those whom he chooses for sons, while he rejects and reprobates others.

"It is right for him to show by punishing that he is a just judge. Here the words of Augustine most admirably apply. When other vessels are made unto dishonour, it must be imputed not to injustice, but to judgment."

--John Calvin

____________

...and from what I can tell, the "1689 LBC" uses the above language [esp the bold] (I could be mistaken, here, but don't think so). :)


Melach, you and I covered this in past posts, recall?
 

lastofall

Senior Member
Aug 26, 2014
581
29
28
#6
Act 16:4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.

1Jn 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.

1Pe 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God;..
 

Grandpa

Senior Member
Jun 24, 2011
9,284
1,619
113
#7
One CC Member on here told me that the following wasn't in the "original creed" but was changed at some later date to thereafter reflect what is shown below (I forget what "year" he said this changed... I just hope the readers of creeds, and this one in particular, know! :D ) :


[quoting Gaebelein on 1 Peter 3]

"The chief question is: Did our Lord go to Hades in a disembodied state? In fact, all depends on the question of what is the true meaning of the sentence, “quickened by the Spirit.” Now, according to the interpretations of the men who teach that the Lord visited Hades, the spirits in prison, during the interval between His death and the morning of the third day, He descended into these regions while His dead body was still in the grave. Therefore, these teachers claim that His human spirit was quickened, which necessitates that the spirit which the dying Christ commended into the Father’s hands had also died. This is not only incorrect doctrine, but it is an unsound and evil doctrine. Was the holy humanity of our Lord, body, soul and spirit dead? A thousands times No! Only His body died; that is the only part of Him which could die. The text makes this clear: “He was put to death in flesh,” that is, His body. There could be no quickening of His spirit, for His spirit was alive. Furthermore, the word quickening, as we learn from Ephesians 1:20 and Ephesians 2:5-6, by comparing the two passages, applies to His physical resurrection, it is the quickening of His body. To teach that the Lord Jesus was made alive before His resurrection is unscriptural. The “quickened by the Spirit” means the raising up of His body. His human spirit needed no quickening; it was His body and only His body. And the Spirit who did the quickening is not His own spirit, that is, His human spirit, but the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:11 speaks of the Spirit as raising Jesus from among the dead.

"We have shown that it was an impossibility that Christ was in any way quickened while His body was not yet raised, hence a visit to Hades is positively excluded between His death and resurrection. There is only another alternative. If it is true that He descended into these regions, then it must have been after His resurrection. But that is equally untenable. The so-called “Apostle’s Creed” puts the descent between His death and resurrection and all the other theorists follow this view. We have shown what the passage does not mean. It cannot mean a visit of the disembodied Christ to Hades, for it speaks of the quickening by the Spirit, and that means His physical resurrection."

--Gaebelein, Commentary on 1 Peter 3 [source: BibleHub]

https://biblehub.com/commentaries/gaebelein/1_peter/3.htm

[end quoting; bold and underline mine]
This makes no sense.

The Lords body died.

His Spirit didn't die. His Spirit went to hades and freed the spiritual prisoners there.


When He resurrected it wasn't His Spirit that resurrected it was His Body with His Spirit inside.


Why is this some sort of theological problem?
 

UnitedWithChrist

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2019
567
309
63
#8
This makes no sense.

The Lords body died.

His Spirit didn't die. His Spirit went to hades and freed the spiritual prisoners there.


When He resurrected it wasn't His Spirit that resurrected it was His Body with His Spirit inside.


Why is this some sort of theological problem?
I think the reference is to the issue covered here...I agree with Grudem but I don't make a big issue out of it:

http://www.waynegrudem.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/he-did-not-descend-into-hell_JETS.pdf

Either view is better than the World of Faith guys who claim that Jesus went to hell, suffering torment, and being beat to a pulp by the demons. Joyce Meyer and Kenneth Copeland have both taught that Jesus went to hell, and had to be born again, as part of their WoF theology.

Joyce Meyer claims that she received this understanding through a "revelation".
 

oldethennew

Senior Member
Feb 28, 2016
9,123
1,632
113
#9
jm and so many of her 'cult' are all whore-mongers and a sorcerers for filthy lucre'!

may we who Love/Serve our precious Holy Saviour, being 'called, elected and chosen,
follow in His Light/Footsteps, and
NOT in the 'doctrine of the greedy$$$, devil-worshipping (false-prophets), as the
Holy Bible specifically tells us not to do...
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
8,947
2,747
113
#10
Are creeds, confessions, and theological language important?
All of these have their place and are given great importance in some denominations. But it should also be clear that the INTERPRETATION of some portions of those creeds has been incorrect. For example "the holy Catholic Church" has been interpreted as the Catholic Church within Christendom by the RCC.

But that is obviously incorrect. If the word Catholic is taken in its original sense (meaning universal or general) then it can only mean the Church which is the Body of Christ (and which is not visible) which extends across all denominations.

Another example is the use of the word "hell" for Hades. Christ descended into Hades for three days and three nights before His resurrection. He never entered Hell (the Lake of Fire).

In the final analysis, the sole authority for Christians is the written Word of God (2 Tim 3:16,17). Whatever is supported within the creeds and confessions by Scripture is perfectly acceptable. But what is not should be rejected.

According to the Westminster Confession of Faith (practically reproduced in the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith) God has decreed whatsoever comes to pass. But there is absolutely no support for this idea in the Bible, for the simple reason that God cannot possibly decree sin and evil. (A decree is an order having the force of a rule of law, or foreordination, or predetermination by God).
 

jaybird88

Senior Member
Jan 7, 2015
5,228
417
83
#11
you have to have creeds, doctrines, dogmas and all the rest cause without them you cant accuse other Christians of not being Christian.
 

Locoponydirtman

Well-known member
Oct 9, 2018
1,208
773
113
Texas
#13
I think that it's pretty sad that churches don't teach the Creed's, and confessions. As you said, they developed these belief summaries to combat heresies that had cropped up over the years. I do believe we have the reiteration of those same heresies due to the failure to teach these ancient statements of faith. Furthermore I think that it's part of the reason people have very little understanding of what they say they believe.
 

Deade

Called of God
Dec 17, 2017
10,162
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#14
I could be wrong, I have been before - yep!
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
8,947
2,747
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#15
you have to have creeds, doctrines, dogmas and all the rest cause without them you cant accuse other Christians of not being Christian.
We don't need to be accusing other Christians of anything.

However, we have the Bible to expose the false teachings in various denominations.
 

Mii

Well-known member
Mar 23, 2019
470
285
63
#16
I recall recitation of creeds in the church of God denomination when I was young or at least hearing them in a sermon once upon a time. It's a vague memory but I think the pastor was asking if anyone knew any creeds and I think someone recited the Nicene creed and someone else some other central one.


I didn't ever pay them much mind. I think there is a danger in narrowing of focus and following a predetermined path. A relationship with the Lord is organic but there is DEFINITELY structure. So I can see the usefulness...it's just a thing of the past, as is church history for most people. That is NOT to say that some aren't led there/encouraged.

You would need a plethora of creeds to combat the attacks the church is facing these days, to the point where you most always end up back where we should be starting...from scripture. It's a decent auxiliary resource as are older theologians and stories from those that have "passed through" but in today's culture I think the Lord has to lay that on someone's heart specifically.

I'm not saying creeds/catechisms aren't scriptural...just that they are more generalized, I suppose a church "belief list" like what the AG has is similar. Just isn't common.

I do appreciate the topic though. I especially liked the New City catechism. I always called that "framing" and didn't realize it was referred to as that. I shy away from framing things and am still figuring out my opinion on it because that wasn't how I learned all my life. Everything was organic and while I did soak up tons of teaching I can't attribute it to any one thing except the living word :)
 
Feb 28, 2016
9,123
1,632
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#17
Mii,
your post is a mix-match -
seems as though you need a 'net of confirmation' - it's definitely out there,
we pray that your seeking finds fruitation, and we know that it will...
 

GaryA

Active member
Aug 10, 2019
313
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mywebsite.us
#20
Sometimes a What We Believe list can be very useful...

However, more-times-than-not these things (listed in the thread title) somehow end up becoming a replacement for the scriptures. And, if there is anything in it that is not biblical - well, that's just not good at all...

(Better to just stick with the Bible.)