Creeds Are Unavoidable

Christianity is a creedal religion. You cannot separate Christianity from its ancient creeds. In fact, every true Christian adheres to the ancient creeds of the church, whether he knows it or not. We all have creeds. Whether formal or informal—whether written or unwritten—in one way or another, we all have creeds in which our beliefs are expressed. Many Christians have formal, written creeds to which they adhere. Other professing Christians have informal, unwritten, and unorthodox creeds that can easily change and often do change according to the whims of the individual or his pastor.

—Burk Parsons, “Which Christ?

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  1. “…and often do change according to the whims of the individual or his pastor”.

    Protestants are encouraged to think for themselves. What about the opposite danger to the one mentioned above, that of giving creeds functional canonicity?

    • Rob,

      In Reformed churches, the confessions themselves as well as the church orders contain either implicit or explicit provision for their revision.

      The formal principle of the Reformation was “according to Scripture alone.” In other words, we confess what we do because we understand scripture to teach what it teaches. Scripture alone is the un-normed norm. Every other document is a secondary standard subject to revision.

      That said, as a practical matter, I have seen very few instances where a confession has functioned as a “paper pope.”

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