Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Let me clarify creeds, and what they are. If Christianity is the true religion (big IF, I know) then there will be A) clearly indentifiable, consistent teachings, and B) clear irrefutable evidence of those beliefs in practice. Core teachings are those that survive, and transcend the various disagreements between those who claim Christianity as their faith. The Reformation (whether viewed in a positive or negative light) shows how this works. If you are a member of a Bible church in the backwoods of Kentucky, your Scriptural exegesis will never go beyond, or violate, the basic creedal confessions of the early church. Because they represent the battle for the most crucial aspects of Christianity. (Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed, Chalcedon) You can't be on the wrong side of these, and still be a Christian. Even among those who reject creeds, the core doctrines are safely within those bounds. The reason is that the Protestant impulse is to reaffirm the core doctrines with Scripture itself. At best, you end up back where you started. When challenged, faithful teaching and preaching showed itself in the clarity of those confessions. All minor conflicts give way, because it's black and white, bare bones Christianity. That is not to say that we defer to creeds. Rather, that faithful exegesis leads to a clear confessional history that can be observed. I'm not even sure I understand what I just said.

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