The Dancing Puritan

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Christmas Creed

You have probably heard it said, “No creed but Christ.” Sometimes that statement is a result of the diminishing of doctrine as a whole, except for some general thoughts about Jesus. That can’t be a good way to think. For one reason, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16).

When that was written, the “All Scripture” referred to the Old Testament. It is true that the ultimate point of all Scripture is to reveal Christ (Romans 1:2ff, Luke 24:25-27).  This is certainly what Charles Spurgeon meant when he said, “I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist; I do not hesitate to take the name of Baptist; but if I am asked what is my creed, I reply, ‘It is Jesus Christ.’” Anyone who is aware of the ministry of Charles Spurgeon knows that he did more than simply posit some general thoughts about Jesus. He preached from the Old and New Testaments and expounded on many truths. Yet he always took those truths to Christ.

I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist; I do not hesitate to take the name of Baptist; but if I am asked what is my creed, I reply, ‘It is Jesus Christ.’ Charles Spurgeon

Spurgeon once gave an illustration about a young pastor who preached a poor sermon. The sermon was  "poor" because there was “no Christ in it.” Spurgeon said:

"I have never yet found a text that did not have a road to Christ in it, and if I ever do find one that has not a road to Christ in it, I will make one; I will go over hedge and ditch but I would get at my Master, for the sermon cannot do any good unless there is a savor of Christ in it."

Spurgeon was not against using creeds, confessions, or statements of faith. A Christ-centered creed is a teaching mechanism. Creeds can help a person to fix big truths to their heart in short form.  The Bible contains creedal statements.  I Timothy 3:16 may be a fragment from an early Christian hymn. It is also a creed.

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

Christians were unified around this confession. Paul said, “we confess.” That is what happenes when the church uses creeds as a part of their faith and practice. They say, “we confess.” What is it that is confessed? I Timothy 3:16 opens by confessing the Incarnation. “He was manifested in the flesh.” God became man and remained God. God took on humanity. He pitched his tent here with us.

The mystery is revealed in the coming of God to the earth. Do you want to know the secret of piety? The secret of piety is to confess with your mouth, believe in your heart, and live with by your life, the creed of I Timothy 3:16. As you celebrate during this Christmas season, make I Timothy 3:16 a part of your celebrations. It is a Christmas creed!