God is evident

"....that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them...." Romans 1:19 NASB®

What is a Creed?

The word Creed comes from the Latin word, Creedo, which means "I believe". A Creed is a Doctrinal Statement of the Church. Many churches have a doctrinal statement, which allows the leaders to control who can be a member and who can teach in the church. The historic Church Creeds had a similar function - to keep the Church doctrinally pure.

Why Creeds?

The first Creed (probably) was the Apostles' Creed. It was a simple statement of faith. My understanding is that it was recited by people who were being baptized (their statement of commitment for becoming a Christian). The other two well known Creeds were adopted to counteract false teaching that was creeping into the Church.

The history of the Church shows a constant battle between Satan who is always assaulting the Church and trying to destroy it, and the true believers. From the very beginning, false doctrine abounded and tried to gain a foothold in the Church. Following are some Scriptures that show this was true even in the very early Church:

"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves." II Peter 2:1 NASB®
"But it was because of the false brethren who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage." Galatians 2:4 NASB®
"Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also." I John 2:18-23 NASB®
"And Jesus answered and said to them, 'See to it that no one misleads you.'" Matthew 24:4 NASB®
"And Jesus began to say to them, 'See to it that no one misleads you.'" Mark 13:5 NASB®
"See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." Colossians 2:8 NASB®
"But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed." Galatians 1:8-9 NASB®
"...forsaking the right way they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness..." II Peter 2:15 NASB®
"Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah." Jude 1:11 NASB®
"But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit acts of immorality." Revelations 2:14 NASB®

One of the first sets of false doctrine that the Church fought with was Gnosticism. Gnosticism had to do with "special knowledge" that only the initiates knew, which once a person attained to it, he received salvation. It believed that spirit was good and flesh was evil, therefore it denied that Christ could be both God and Man. It also stated anything we did through our flesh was evil. Several books (Colossians, 1 John, etc.) were written to counteract different forms of Gnosticism.

Another false doctrine related to the teaching that faith plus works saved you, instead of salvation by faith alone. The books of Galatians and Romans were written to counteract this false teaching.

In the early fourth century, false doctrines against the Doctrine of the Trinity, and against the Doctrine of Christ being both God and Man were rampant. The Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed were written to counteract these false doctrines.

Today, again we see many of these same false teachings creeping into the Church. Various well known churches teach some of these same false teachings. They deny the Trinity; they deny the deity and/or the humanity of Christ; they teach that one must earn their salvation through various works; they distort what God reveals about Himself in the Bible; they distort what God reveals about mankind, teaching that we are gods or may become gods, etc. Comparing what a group teaches with these three creeds will help you determine whether they are truly Christian, or a pseudo-Christian cult.

©2007, 2008 by Thomas M Crawford - All Rights Reserved

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