Are Creeds Necessary?

Question: What is the Koine Greek word for “creed”? There isn’t one. The closest is θρησκεία which is “religion”. It occurs 4 times in the NT, never once for creed. Or “confession”? The word – as used in Reformed circles is not in Scripture. Many, especially in Reformed circles, insist that there are creeds and confessions already in the Bible.

I can see why some creedalists want to see creeds in the Bible. It implies that post-inspiration creeds and confessions are still from the same cloth. That there is a divine precedence.

I do agree that there are summations of the faith. They are convenient inspired bullet points, if I may use that term,

But, just for the sake of argument, maybe they are even creeds or confessions. If so they are inspired creeds. They do not have Bible references at the end of them or in the footnotes. They are Bible references. But do we need creeds after the closing of the canon. The answer is in Timothy.

“inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

Why do we need any more creeds or confessions? We are told that Word of God gives us all the instruction we need. For every good work. Inference – in every situation in our lives it provides us with the necessary spiritual guidance.

But what about creeds and confessions?

Would they be inspired? No.
Are they without error or differences among each other? No.
Is there an inspired admonition not to add to Scripture? Yes.

And this is what many creedalist do. They elevate creeds to such an extent that it becomes the traditional grid from which they see – and communicate – their faith. To communicate and excommunicate. And I am speaking from personal painful experience.

I personally believe that the Bible gives us all the information we need so that we can be equipped for every good work.

Creeds are not ad fontes. They are ad hoc.”created or done for a particular purpose as necessary”.

They are often created to combat a certain heresy or perceived heresy in Christianity. In order to counter Heresy Z they formulate anti-Z tenets. But in their zeal counter Heresy Z they rigidly state the opposite side – as if there were only two choices, Z or not Z.

Most of the creeds and confessions are full of beautiful summations of Biblical truth. But also they have a lot of baggage as well.

About asterisktom

I breathe, therefore I blog.
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