Posted by: smstrouse | March 9, 2013

Creeds: Yes or No? Discuss Among Yourselves

Creed  /krēd/
noun
1. A system of Christian or other religious belief; a faith.
2. A formal statement of Christian beliefs, esp. the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed
Synonyms
belief – credo – faith – religion – persuasion

What to do with the creeds?  That’s a big question for progressive Christianity today. There’s a wide range of opinion on this: from accepting them as a standard of orthodoxy to eliminating them altogether. In between are more moderate positions, such as accepting them as historical documents, but not necessarily required as confessions of faith. Many churches also use various ‘affirmations of faith,’ written in contemporary language. While others view even these with suspicion, seeing anything that might be perceived as a required belief as a barrier to seekers and questioners.
One odd practice that I’ve encountered is that worshippers are instructed to say only those parts of the creed they feel comfortable with. I’ve tried it, and I’m not comfortable with that. I find myself getting too caught up in thinking about how it could mean, how I could interpret it, etc., that I end up just mumbling through it anyway.
I’m not against creeds, per se. I respect the Shahada declared by Muslims: “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is God’s messenger.” Short and sweet; I like that.

I also like the Shema of Judaism, which some define as a credal statement: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.” How can I not? Jesus called it the first of all the commandments.
After that, I’m open to discussion. There are some interesting attempts. I found this creed, adopted by the United Church of Canada as a supplement to the historical creeds:

   We are not alone,
              we live in God’s world.

   We believe in God:
              who has created and is creating,
              who has come in Jesus,
              the Word made flesh,
              to reconcile and make new,
              who works in us and others
              by the Spirit.

   We trust in God.

   We are called to be the Church:
              to celebrate God’s presence,             
              to live with respect in Creation,
              to love and serve others,
              to seek justice and resist evil,
              to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
              our judge and our hope.
              In life, in death, in life beyond death,

   God is with us.

   We are not alone.

   Thanks be to God.

So – what do you think?

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Responses

  1. Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic however , I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My site discusses a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other. If you happen to be interested feel free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Fantastic blog by the way!

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  2. I like the “creed” proposed by an Anglican clergy who, asked to write a one-sentence description of the Christian faith, said: “God is; God is as he is in Jesus; therefore, we have hope.” I think it’s cheating to use even one, let alone two, semi-colons, but good insight there all the same.

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