Ask Your Preacher
It seems like there's a tendency to make concise statements of important beliefs such as "speak where the Bible speaks; be silent were the Bible is silent," "No creed but the Bible," or "To be saved one must hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized and remain faithful." It seems like sayings such as the Apostle's Creed or the Nicene Creed can be tweaked a little, so that they agree with Scripture as much as these shorter sayings do. What's fundamentally different about saying, "We are a church that accepts this modified version of the Apostle's Creed" versus "We are a church that speaks where the Bible speaks and is silent where the Bible is silent?"
Dear Catch Phrase,
The difference between a creed and a concise statement of beliefs is often subtle, but it is also important. Creeds often start out as simple statements meant as “sermonettes” on Bible topics, but eventually, they take on a life of their own. A creed is defined by the dictionary as ‘a set of beliefs or aims that guide someone’s life’. A creed is created when someone takes a commentary on the Bible and turns that commentary into a stand-alone doctrine. There is a difference between saying, “To be saved one must hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized and remain faithful… here let me show you in the Bible where it says that” and simply stating something as doctrine without Biblical proof. Creeds are created when a statement becomes authorized as a specific standard for a church. A creed is a statement of belief that is treated as an accepted authoritative standard separate and apart from the Bible. There is nothing wrong with making concise statements about important beliefs… we just better be ready to back them up with the authority of the Scriptures. Otherwise, we will be guilty of going beyond what God wrote (1 Cor 4:6). SB