Vol. 8, No. 12
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Our English word "creed" comes into our language from the Latin word "credo" meaning, "I believe." When we speak of one's creed we are simply referring to what he believes religiously, politically, economically or in any other area of life. The "planks" making up a political party's platform summarize its creed, or what the majority of its members believe on certain political issues such as taxes, etc. No organized body of people can exist without some sort of a creed, either written or oral. Standard dictionaries define the word as a definite summary of what is believed. Churches of Christ are no exception to this rule. While we have no manmade creed set forth by any kind of conference, council or synod, it must be freely admitted that we certainly have a creed--a statement of what we believe.
The difference between churches of Christ and other religious bodies is that the church had no part in writing her creed in any way, shape or form. We were not asked about it; we were not asked to contribute to it; we were not asked to either approve or disapprove of the things found in it. The creed was written by God, without counsel from man. God is not a man that he needs the approval of man regarding anything that he does, including the writing of his creed for the church.
From time to time we read of various churches in what is commonly called "Christendom" revising their creeds. They meet in council, conferences and other bodies to decide what they will remove from their creeds or what they will add to them. Such a thing never happens among churches of Christ, for our creed has not been revised since it was completed sometime before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. As a matter of fact, God gave a stern warning in the last book of that makes up the creed of the churches of Christ that there was to be nothing added to or removed from that book. The writer John, went on to emphasize that God would not take such a thing lightly and that he would add to those who tampered with the great book the plagues found in the book, and if people should remove from its teachings, God would remove their names from the Book of Life. If such warnings are found in this book, it is reasonable to believe God regards tampering with our creed in the same way regardless of the portion of which one speaks.
The divine creed of which we speak is, of course, the New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. From Matthew 1:1 through Revelation 22:21, we accept all the book has to say. We accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God because he is so presented in this great book. We accept his virgin birth, his resurrection from the dead, all the miracles accomplished by him because these things are found in this inspired book. We organize our congregations, our worship and all activities of the church as they were organized in apostolic times because of what we read in this book. We accept the Gospel as it is found in this book, and have experienced obedience to it just as was done in the first century because of what is written in this book. You will find no members of churches of Christ who repudiate repentance, baptism or any other holy principle taught in this book.
This creed is the most powerful one found on the face of the earth, because it contains the power of God unto salvation for all people of the world (Romans 1:14-16). This creed is a part of that of which the writer of the Book of Hebrews referred when he wrote, "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart"(Hebrews 4:12). This great creed requires us to believe in and be obedient to our gracious and loving Savior. We accept that. If anyone should ever ask you to show them a copy of our creed, hand them a copy of the New Testament.