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I pray that you are an advocate of Jude’s idea that there was a faith once delivered to the saints.

I also pray that you want that very faith to become so much the center of your confession that you will not bypass the Apostles’ Creed, saying, “No, thanks. I have written my own more reasonable doctrine.”

For those who want to be sure the exact teachings of Christ never die, it seems to me to demand this confession: Behind the historical church, there is a great body of nonnegotiables.

To privatize your creed is to confess you are syncretizing your way into a gnostic conversation; you’ve snuggled into a Procrustean bed.

Remember Procrustes? He was the Greek host who always kept a bed, affording hospitality to his guests. But for Procrustes, he had a bed of only one size. So if his guests were too short for his bed, he put them on the rack and stretched them out to fit it. If they were too tall, he chopped them off to fit it. He tailored his guests to fit the bed.

Let us label the myth. The bed is privatized doctrine. The guests are searchers after amendment to Jude’s faith once delivered. Once the guest has agreed to spend the night, he has joined a new kind of conformity. He is deconstructed and made ready for a new kind of congeniality. He does not believe quite as much, but he fits into the meandering borders of faith a lot better.

I have chosen. You must too.

Confess what the centuries have labeled the historical faith, or, well … follow the crowd of those “new kind of Christians” who arrive at the old kind of nothing yet still believe themselves faithful.

– Calvin Miller, from Letters to a Young Pastor

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Privatize Your Creed”

  1. Dan Keefe says:

    Thanks for sharing this Trevin. I think it is a matter of authority. As Protestants, and especially American Protestants, have a problem submitting to anyone or anything outside ourselves.

  2. Simon says:

    Grace to You, Mars Hill Church Seattle and a myriad of other Reformed institutions all compose their own “statement of faith”. So now we are told not to privatize our creed and to go to the historic creeds? I don’t think the historic creeds support Calvinism and Protestantism in general – that is the main reason as to why the creeds have been replaced by “statements of faith”. The most glaring example of the problems Calvinists in being consistent with the Creeds is the “descent in Hades (Hell)” mentioned in the Apostle’s Creed. Some Calvinists, like Grudem for instance, simply can’t deal with this historic dogma. The general conclusion is that Reformed theology has no continuity with the faith professed in the Creeds. Study of the Creeds, of the Fathers and ultimately of Scripture would lead us away from Reformed theology, practise and worship. This is the inescapable conclusion we must reach if we take Church history seriously.

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Trevin Wax

​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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