A creed is a capsule of truth somewhat like a capsule of medicine; one is filled with a chemical formula that will make one physically healthy and the other is filled with truth that will make one spiritually healthy. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines creed as “a brief authoritative formula of religious belief”. What do you believe?
Many of our Protestant churches do not regularly recite creeds in their worship. Creeds are usually recited in more of the liturgical (formal) churches on a weekly basis. Churches much like my own, who are more informal, tend to lean away from creeds because they sound a little stuffy after a while.
In teaching about this subject, I used the analogy of our Pledge of Allegiance which everyone can recite at the “drop of a hat”. Why? Because, we recited it every morning for twelve years in school. We have a brain crease that is labeled, “Pledge of Allegiance”.
I would like to encourage the use of creeds again so that our children and even older folks will have a brain crease and prayerfully a heart crease that is labeled, “What I Believe!”
One of these Bible creeds is found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 (NKJV) and more specifically verses 3b-5 (in bold print).
(3) For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
(4) and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
(5) and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.
(6) After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.
(7) After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.
The interesting thing about this creed is the dating. The Apostle Paul through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit penned the words of this epistle. It is believed he wrote 1 Corinthians somewhere around 50-60 AD yet many biblical scholars and church historians note that the creed, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve, was being used in the early church around 35-40 AD (2-6 years) after the resurrection of Jesus and 15-20 years before the writing of 1 Corinthians. Evidently, Paul was prompted by the Holy Spirit to include this creed in his apostolic letter.
On the day of Pentecost after three thousand souls were added to the roll as Christians, it says “they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42 NKJV). I believe this creed eventually became part of the apostles’ doctrine. It was important to recite these truths over and over because at that time there was no New Testament and many of the people were probably illiterate. These creedal truths became part of their worship and part of their lives. No doubt at home they repeated them to their children and grandchildren.
Today we are highly educated and via the internet highly informed with information at our fingertips. But, do we have scriptural truths that we can recite at the “drop of a hat”? Do we have scriptural truths that have influenced our lives in Christian living by the power of the Holy Spirit? Church leaders bemoan that our young people and older folks alike are quite biblical illiterate. I believe, we who are believers in the One Who Was Resurrected—Jesus Christ, we need to resurrect creeds in our family worship and corporate worship in the church. We can start with 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.
What I Believe
What I believe will determine how I live.
How I live reveals what I really believe.
What I believe is what I need to speak.
What I Believe
What I hear, I will understand.
What I understand, I will believe.
What I believe, I will become.
What I Believe
What I believe will be what my children believe.
What I believe is what my community will embrace.
What I believe is the direction my country will go.
Yours on the Journey,
Harry L. Whitt
2 Replies to “What I Believe (Creeds)”
A much deserved Amen is in order. I hope you don’t take this sarcastically but I feel I have been instructed and we have ignored these creeds much too long.
Thank you for bringing them to my attention.
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Thanks Steven for your encouraging comment. No sarcasm detected. Blessings to you.