It’s popular to say, “No creed but Christ,” as if to say we don’t need creeds, we just need Jesus. Ironically, that’s a creed, and one in need of some clarity.
Creeds and confessions are formal statements of beliefs summarizing essential or important biblical doctrines. What does your church believe about Jesus? God? Mankind? Sin? Salvation? The resurrection of the dead? Such beliefs are summed up by confessions.
So if you were to say “No creed but Christ,” which Christ? The Mormon Jesus? Of course not, you say. Ah, then there’s more to your confession than, “No creed but Christ.” And what about Jesus? Was He just a great teacher? No, He is the eternal Son of God who is worthy of our worship. Now you’re being confessional. You might say, “Well, we believe what the Bible says.” But even heretics say that. What Bible are you talking about? Is 2 Macabees in your Bible?
Some people are overly pious and like to think they’re above it all: “You simpeltons may need confessions, but not me. I just need Jesus.” Well, that’s a confession. And if there’s not more to your confession than that, you just let the oneness pentecostals in the door.
Through its history, the church has been marked by creeds and confessions, even in the New Testament. When Paul wrote, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance,” that’s a reference to a creed. 1 Timothy 3:16 says, “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness,” and what follows is a confession.
The Bible is a big book, and the study of it is vast. Creeds and confessions summarize and affirm what you and your church believe the Bible says. This is a biblical thing, when we understand the text.