Free In Christ

Finding Freedom in the Churches of Christ

Free In Christ: Our Creed

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In this chapter of Cecil Hook’s “Free In Christ”, he talks about the church of Christ’s insistence that we have no creed but the Scriptures.  Although this sounds good, we end up having an unwritten creed of all of our interpretations of the Scriptures that we bind on people and use against those who disagree with us.

Cecil than points out that when we baptized the convert, we only asked them one question:

“Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God?” No inquiry was made of his convictions or practices relating to eating meats, the use of God’s name as a by-word, present-day demon possession and exorcism, praying for healing, killing in self-defense, midweek communion, or any other of the many issues listed in Chapter One which may relate to his faithful practice of the Christian life. Do the convictions and practices of such issues matter? Some, like days and meats (Romans 14) and circumcision (Gal. 5:6), do not. Some may be sinful, though their status is debated by sincere and studious disciples. Different convictions on debatable issues can be held without disrupting fellowship.

This is true.  We never ask people what their beliefs on doctrine are before accepting them into the Church.  We only ask if they believe in Jesus.  This is right.  Isn’t it strange that we let people into the Church who have no opinion on doctrine but think they can be kicked out for having a wrong opinion?  Doesn’t make sense to me.  The basis by which you enter the body (faith in Christ) is the way that you stay in the body.

Cecil than tackles an idea that has become common in church of Christ thought.  This thought is that if two people disagree than one must be right and the other wrong or they must both be wrong.  It is not possible that both of them are right.  To the legalist, they cannot both be right but to Paul they could.  In Romans 14 Paul clearly states that those who eat meat sacrificed to idols and those that don’t can both be accepted by God.  He also applies this to keeping holy days.  Both those that keep them and those that don’t can both be acceptable to God.

This shows that legalism and patternism were not what Jesus had in mind for the Church.  If there were a pattern, you could not have this variation and have both parties be right, but this is exactly what Paul says is the case.

Next, Cecil talks about Jesus as our creed.  This is one of the most important things that I have ever learned.  We don’t actually follow the Bible, we follow Christ.  The Bible teaches us about Christ so that we can follow Him.  We don’t follow a legal code.  We follow Jesus.

The last thing that Cecil mentions is the practice of giving incoming preachers a questionnaire to determine what their beliefs are but still insisting that we don’t use creeds.  It is quite ridiculous when you think about it.  Also, how are we ever supposed to learn anything new if the preachers we hire all say the same things.  I am more than ok with feeling a little uncomfortable sometimes in order to learn something about God that I didn’t know before.  The important thing, is that our teachers have faith in Christ and point the congregation to Him (and not to their own agenda).  A good teacher does what the Bible does: points us to Jesus.

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Written by freeinchrist

May 21, 2010 at 8:00 am

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