Home > Uncategorized > Creeds are Not Biblical! Oh, Really? Use This Next Time You Hear That

Creeds are Not Biblical! Oh, Really? Use This Next Time You Hear That

May 30th, 2012
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Great example of how non-creedal churches misrepresent creeds.

Every Christian has a creed, either formal or informal, we all have something which we would say, “This is what I believe.” And this is precisely what “Creed” means, from the Latin word “credo” or “I believe.” I thought you would enjoy something I’ve been, literally, carrying around with me for over ten years. It is a page I photocopied out of a very old Lutheran theology book. Shame on me, I did not write down from whence this page came, but it is old. From the early 17th century. It is a phrase-by-phrase presentation of the Apostles’ Creed with corresponding Bible texts both from the Old Testament and New Testament. It cites verses we may be familiar with as “proof texts” for the Creed, but interestingly, it also cites texts we might not first think of as proof passages for the various phrases in the Creed. It does reveal the nature of how the Bible was understood in Lutheran Orthodoxy, and to this day among genuinely confessional Lutheran churches. Wisdom 6:6 is “For mercy will soon pardon the meanest: but mighty men shall be mightily tormented.”

I believe (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 4:5)

In God (Deut. 6:4 1 Cor. 8:6)

The Father (Psalm 89:27; Matthew 7:11)

Almighty (Genesis 7:1; 2 Cor. 6:18)

Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 33:6; John 5:17)

And in Jesus ( Zech 9:9; Matthew 1:21)

Christ (Daniel 9:24; John 3:34)

His only (Zechariah 13:7; John 1:14)

Son (Psalm 2:7; Matthew 16:16)

Our Lord ( Jeremiah 23:6; John 20:28)

Who was conceived (Jeremiah 31:22; Luke 1:31)

By the Holy Spirit (Daniel 2:45; Matthew 1:20)

Born ( Isaiah 9:6; John 1:14)

Of the Virgin Mary (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:43)

Suffered (Isaiah 50:6; Luke 23:25)

Under Pontius Pilate (Psalm 2:2; Luke 18:32)

Was crucified (Psalm 22:17; John 3:14)

Died (Daniel 9:26; Rom. 5:8)

And was buried ( Isaiah 53:9; John 12:24)

Descended into hell (Psalm 16:10; Ephesians 4:9)

And on the third day (Hosea 6:2; Matthew 26:32; Acts 10:40-41)

He rose again from the dead (Isaiah 63:1; 2 Timothy 2:8)

Ascended into heaven (Psalm 68:19; Col. 2:15)

And sits at the right hand of the God the Father Almighty (Psalm 110:1; Mark 16:19)

From thence he will come (Isaiah 66:15; Acts 1:11)

To judge (Wisdom of Solomon 6:6; Acts 17:31)

The living and the dead (Daniel 12:2; 1 Cor. 15:51)

I believe in the Holy Spirit (Zechariah 12:10; John 15:26)

The holy (Psalm 45:14; Ephesians 5:26)

Christian Church (Psalm 22:26; Matthew 16:18)

The communion of saints (Exodus 19:5; Ephesians 4:3)

The forgiveness of sins (Psalm 32:1; Acts 10:43)

The resurrection of the body (Isaiah 66:14; John 5:28)

And the life everlasting (Psalm 16:11; 1 Peter 1:4)

Amen! (Psalm 72:19; 2 Cor. 1:20)

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. May 30th, 2012 at 08:03 | #1

    Coolness!

  2. May 30th, 2012 at 09:55 | #2

    Thank you for this. Now I can show my non-denominational friends what they miss.

  3. Gary Wright
    May 30th, 2012 at 10:41 | #3

    Thanks Paul. I saw this almost word for word on a Roman Catholic website some time ago, but when I wanted to use it, I couldn’t relocate it! I appreciate your reproducing it here.

    • May 30th, 2012 at 10:51 | #4

      Interesting, what I posted came straight out of an Orthodox Lutheran book from the early 17th century!

      : )

  4. May 30th, 2012 at 10:54 | #5

    Excellent! There have been many people in my life that needed this…

  5. Carlos Muller Jr
    May 30th, 2012 at 11:21 | #6

    I believe that other part can be used to explain the “Descended into hell” part, besides Psalm 16:10 and Ephesians 4:9: 1 Peter 3:19 – in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison.

  6. Jonathan Trost
    May 30th, 2012 at 11:34 | #7

    Thanks for all of those scriptural citations in support of the several affirmations made in the Creed, Pastor!

    Additionally, I’m reminded of verses of scripture which, within themsleves, contain the substance of the most ancient creed: “Jesus is Lord”. Among them:

    Romans 10:9 — “because, if you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

    Philippians 2:11 — “and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

    Both of those lines of scripture are creedal statements. Who, then, can say creeds are non-biblical?

    Surely, “Credo (Credemus) Jesus (Christus) Dominus est” is as ancient, creedal, and scriptural as it gets!

  7. May 30th, 2012 at 11:44 | #8

    Thanks for this excellent resource!

  8. Rev. Allen Bergstrazer
    May 30th, 2012 at 11:57 | #9

    ‘Every Christian has a creed, whether formal or informal.’ Well said, even ‘deeds not creeds’ is a creed. I never quite understood the predellection to reject the ecumenical creeds because they were man made, and yet in the same theological camps the Our Father is not prayed regularly though it is thoroughly scriptural (the words are in RED!) in favor of ex corde prayers. To put it another way, why are the expressions of what is in my heart in public worship not considered base and human whilst what has been drawn from scripture and has been confessed and stuided for centuries wholly human and therefore rejected? Glossolalia is welcomed, but what can be known and confessed by everyone is not.

  9. Daniel Broaddus
    May 30th, 2012 at 11:57 | #10

    Thank you.

  10. Tony Pittenger
    May 30th, 2012 at 12:23 | #11

    Thanks for posting this again. I used this for summer Bible study last year, just listing the passages and had our members write out what the passages taught. After the first few, they realized that the creed they know so well is nothing but Scripture.

  11. Rev. Allen Bergstrazer
    May 30th, 2012 at 14:41 | #12

    @Jonathan Trost
    I’d add Ephesians 4:5-6 as well. It is also to see what you get when you enter “We Believe” into a Biblical search engine.

  12. Rev. Allen Bergstrazer
    May 30th, 2012 at 14:42 | #13

    @Rev. Allen Bergstrazer
    That should be ‘it is also interesting to see what you get when you enter ‘we believe.’ (reverting back to my native tongue again).

  13. Rev. Mathew Andersen
    May 30th, 2012 at 14:48 | #14

    Thanks for the posting. I think I will use a modified form of this list as a handout this next Sunday (especially appropriate tool to give out on Trinity Sunday, I think, even though we will be using the Athenasian Creed instead of the Apostles Creed)

    One of the points adult confirmands are most surprised to learn about the creeds is that one of their purposes was to defend Biblical doctrine. At a time when few people could afford a copy of even one book of the Bible, having the creed memorized was a powerful defense against heresy, especially the early gnostic heresies against the person of Christ. It is, perhaps, no coincidence that we see some of these same ancient heresies sneaking back into the evangelical Church today when our people no longer have the creed firmly in mind as they listen to popular false teachers in the media today.

  14. Sandra
    May 30th, 2012 at 20:41 | #15

    This is very helpful. Thank you for the post.

  15. Hunn
    May 30th, 2012 at 21:21 | #16

    “It does reveal the nature of how the Bible was understood in Lutheran Orthodoxy, and to this day among genuinely confessional Lutheran churches.”

    Could you explain what you mean by that? Or at least point me in the right direction? Thanks.

  16. Kelly
    May 30th, 2012 at 22:56 | #17

    I agree with presenting the creeds as biblical expressions of the faith. It should be noted, however, that while this may convince those with the crass understanding that this picture demonstrates, it doesn’t quite address all the concerns of other anti-creedal believers. It’s not the content of the creeds (usually) that they consider to be the problem. They know that what they’re hearing in the creed is Scriptural. What they object to is “subscribing” to the creed as if it were penned by St. Paul himself. IOW, because it’s not “the Bible,” they don’t want it to have authority over them. Because it appears later in Christian history and is used as a test for orthdoxy, they are afraid of a human document or human councils having the power to call them anathema. It’s tied in with the soul liberty and individual autonomy that they value.

  17. Solveig
    May 31st, 2012 at 00:31 | #18

    Thank you very, very much. I need this.

  18. Rev. Allen Bergstrazer
    May 31st, 2012 at 10:39 | #19

    @Kelly
    I’m sorry but I don’t understand. I don’t mean to quarrel with you, but the ecumenical creeds and especially the Lutheran confessions are intended to free us from being bound to the councils and the opinions of men. The freedom of the Christian is at the heart of the work of the reformers. If one reads a statment of belief, and it is fully in agreement with scripture than what is there to fear from it? How does stating what scritpure says about the Triune God clearly and accurately threaten one’s liberty and personal autonomy? As Pastor McCain stated, every Christian has a creed, and I think every church has a creed, even Joel Osteen has one (though he’d never admit it). Even the non-denominational churches have bullet statements that are their so called “non-negotiables’ about the faith which are creeds by default. And if a church says ‘we believe that Jesus Christ saves us from sin death and hell,’ and you agree with that statement whose authority are you under? Does that cause you to lose liberty and personal autonomy?

  19. Kelly
    June 1st, 2012 at 11:48 | #20

    I’m not defending their position, I’m just explaining why merely pointing out the Bible references to the creed will not “fix the problem” that many of these believers see with creeds. Certainly all have creeds, all have things of which they will say “I believe” (including “no creed but the Bible”). Yet many of these Christians will refuse to officially subscribe to even their own church’s statements of faith, or make that subscription a condition for joining the church, for example. This is why you have so many different Baptist splinter groups. A member of a Baptist church often need not consider himself in full agreement with even his own pastor. It is very “just me and Jesus alone,” nothing else that could be considered to be a “mediator” or even a means of grace.

  20. Robert F
    June 2nd, 2012 at 06:49 | #21

    Recently, I read a statement of doctrines held by the Evangelical Free Church which included belief in premillennialism as a position equal in importance to belief in the Trinity. When churches dispense with the ecumenical creeds, they inevitably assume doctrinal positions which identify matters of secondary importance, which are not central to orthodoxy, as central to the faith. Isn’t it practically heretical to do this? How is it theologically legitimate to make premillennialism equal in value to the Trinity, even if it is true? But this kind of thing goes on all the time in churches that ignore or disavow the ecumenical creeds.

  21. Jonathan Trost
    June 2nd, 2012 at 07:03 | #22

    @Rev. Allen Bergstrazer

    It isn’t just creeds that many of these folks don’t want to “subscribe” to. They seem also to have an aversion to any one or more of the following: 1) membership in the “one holy, catholic and apostolic Church”; 2) the “communion of saints”; 3) the sacraments; 4) an educated and ordained clergy; and 5) catechisms. In short, they don’t want or need the Church. It becomes a matter of “me and Thee, God”, so much so that, in addition to one’s relationship with God being personal, his faith is private (unshared with others), as well.
    It’s all very reflective of American individualism and “terminal uniqueness”, with an emphasis on “me” rather than “we”.

    So, for many of them. “Faith of our Fathers, living still”? Not really. For, it’s “my faith” rather than “the faith”, and it all begins with me.

  22. Lori Johansen
    June 6th, 2012 at 20:59 | #23

    I wonder if it is a rejection of the Catholic church, not the catholic church.

    • June 7th, 2012 at 03:00 | #24

      There are many other churches that use the Church’s historic creeds, that are not Roman Catholic. It is an uninformed and woefully misguided opinion.

  23. Nicholas
    June 8th, 2012 at 00:05 | #25

    bible.ca is a Campbellite website. Those cultists actually think they have no creed and “just go by the Bible.” Another deception is their claim to be the only true church.

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