“No Creed but Christ”

While the Bible reigns as King in the library of human history and is all sufficient and authoritative, we must reject the shallow and deceitful little creed, “No creed, but Christ” that denies the importance of historic creeds and confessions and opens the door for false teachers to pervert the truths of God’s holy Word. Take your place in the long line of church history and confess the historic faith of the saints of old. Make your doctrinal positions clear and unapologetically declare the truths of Jesus Christ.

One great way of teaching the Bible is to summarize the doctrines in such a way that the complex becomes clearly visible to the common man. This was one of the main approaches of the learned theologians of the Reformation era. They were capable of teaching learned doctors of theology and at the same time proclaiming the doctrine of the atonement to farmers.

While it may seem like a helpful summary statement, “No creed, but Christ” is actually a superficial creed that provides shade to false teachers who lurk in the shadows with their false doctrine and perverted theology. We need far more than, “No creed, but Christ.”

Many groups in modern church history have embraced the “No creed, but Christ” slogan or a longer version that reads, “No creed, but Christ. No book, but the Bible.” This idea surfaces within groups such as the Church of Christ, the Disciples of Christ, Calvary Chapel, some Pentecostal groups, as well as some independent Fundamental Baptist circles. These groups claim that they don’t need anything other than the Bible and no creed is necessary other than an affirmation of faith in Christ.

Historically, creeds and confessions find their source in Scripture. No only do the historic creeds and confessions of church history emerge from the source of Scripture, they find their model of usage in the early church as recorded in the pages of the Bible. God’s people were known to recite Deuteronomy 6:4, known as the Shema every morning and evening. The practice of reciting creeds and confessions would continue in the life of the church of Jesus in the New Testament.

One of the standard confessions of the early church was Peter’s confession of Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” as recorded in Matthew 16:16. It is the widely accepted belief that what we find in Ephesians 4:4-6 is a creed that would be recited when new converts were baptized as followers of Jesus. When Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:16, he recorded what is believed to be an early Christian creed that was recited and sung as a hymn that summarized the faith once for all delivered to the saints. In other words, the use of creeds and confessions is not contra Bible.

In the fourth century, a false teacher named Arius plagued the church with his false doctrine that denied the Trinity and specifically denied the deity of Jesus. The Arian heresy centered on language found in Colossians 1:15 and John 1:14 about Jesus being the “firstborn of all creation” and “the only begotten of the Father.”

The followers of Arius would go through the streets singing a little song that said, “There was – when he was not.” The song carried the following meaning, “The Father was – when the Son was not.” God raised up a faithful soldier named Athanasius who would become a champion for truth. He refused to compromise, even when everyone else around him seemed to capitulate on matters of sound doctrine. The climate surrounding Athanasius became known as Athanasius contra mundum

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