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Creeds, Confessions and Catechisms

The word "creed" comes from the Latin credo meaning "I believe".  The bible authors do not lay out the various doctrines in a systematic formula, thus the reader is left (with the illumination of the Holy Spirit of course) to piece together the various doctrines from a wide variety of literary type writings such as historical narratives, poetic illustrations, parables, letters and other genres.  So, Creeds, Confessions and Catechisms, as summary statements of Christian doctrine and principle articles of faith, can be very valuable to us in helping explain the Scriptures and safeguarding against serious misinterpretations of the Bible.  Some may cover the entire ground of Christian doctrine, while other may concentrate only on only certain disagreements or controversies arising from of a dogmatic dispute.  It is important to note that these documents, produced by the Christian Church and other bodies of believers over the centuries, are not inspired additions to Scripture, nor intended to be replacements for the Scriptures.  The Bible Scriptures themselves are the only authoritative, infallible rule of faith and practice.  The creeds carry only an ecclesiastical and relative authority, and are always subordinate to the Word.

That said, I believe that, next to the Bible, these documents are some of the most important and profitable texts that a person can study.  I personally think it is a tragedy that these documents, once required teaching within the Church, are now mostly ignored.  Many have argued that since the documents were produced by man, they should be totally ignored in favor of Scripture. If this is the case, should we then ignore all sermons, Bible commentaries, theological books and all other Christian writings? I think not! Is it not valuable for Christians to consider how the Holy Spirit has spoken to our brothers and sisters over the millennia as they prayed and consulted the scriptures when they struggled with similar issues that we face today?

As the great preacher Charles H Spurgeon used to tell his students, "you are not such wiseacres as to think or say that you can expound the Scripture without the assistance from the works of divine and learned men who have labored before you in the field of exposition [explaining scripture in a way that it can be clearly understood] ... It seems odd that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what he has revealed to others."

Contents

Ancient

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Reformed

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Lutheran

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Anglican

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BAPTIST

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Methodist

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Modern

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Current Statements of Faith

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