We’ve been looking this week at emerging and orthodoxy. I stand in line with those who affirm orthodoxy, but I’m quite happy to have conversation with those who have their questions. But the importance of such conversation does not replace the importance of local churches affirming what they believe and doing so in such a way to anchor themselves in the Great Traditions of the Church. What do emerging churches do?
I’m on record that I think we should publish the historic creeds before our own doctrinal statements and see the latter as new shapings of the former. I’m interested in what you think about such a suggestion.
Well, just in case you were interested. Here’s a creed-like affirmation of Jacob’s Well, a well-known emerging church and it has a pretty nice statement. What many of us like is this: (1) affirmation of a historic expression of the Christian faith; (2) an explanation [see the last paragraph at the bottom] that creeds don’t get the whole job done. Along with this kind of statement, some local churches (see the post from Tuesday) will add their own localized statement of faith — but see it as an expression of the historic creeds.
Here’s a question: If this were the “creed” at your church, what would the impact be? Is it enough?
The Apostles’ Creed (ca. ad 215)
We believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. AMEN.
We affirm historic Christian orthodoxy and one of the earliest and most universally accepted of Christian creeds. But more than that we hold what we believe is a generous orthodoxy. We are a community in theological dialogue with the past and the present, seeking to understand and respond faithfully to the gospel in our time.
The Apostles’ Creed gives a summary of the doctrinal commitments of this community. However, we do not think the best way to know what we believe is to read it off a page. We believe the best way to determine what someone, or some group of people, believe is to watch them – or better yet, join them and discover it from the inside. When we are handed a sheet of paper or click on a link with a list of statements, we believe that something vital is short-circuited. More than that, we become a brand: ??Oh, you’re that kind of Christian/church.??We are a brand culture. We don’t want to be a brand church. We are a community of people seeking to follow Jesus in faith and freedom.