Occasionally students or others will say “I don’t believe in the Creed.” My response, usually accompanied by a startle, is this: “Which line or lines in the Creed don’t you believe.” I’ve not yet had but one or two students say they actually disagreed with any lines in the Creed, and it is a simple fact that our “orthodoxy” is defined by The Creed, and this sometimes means The Apostles’ Creed or The Nicene Creed or The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. (By the way, the third title is the single-most difficult word to say in theology.) I believe in The Creed and by it we define orthodoxy. Heresy, then, is denial of The Creed.
What do you think of reciting the Creed publicly? Do you think affirming the Creed is appropriate? How often should we recite the Creed? Do you think denial of the Creed is what constitutes heresy? Or denial of any line in the Creed?
It is a downright pity that low church evangelicals ceased reciting the Creed in public. I’ll be lecturing on this at the Wheaton conference on Evangelicals and the Early Church
. But the reason I bring up the creeds is not because of that conference, but because of a brand new set from IVP about which I am more than a little enthusiastic.
A full sketch of what the early fathers thought about The Creed, and there are elegantly produced in an easy-to-read format in five volumes. This is a set that belongs in every pastor’s library (no kidding) and in every church’s library (no kidding either). I list the volumes here:
We Believe in One God (Ancient Christian Doctrine)