• CODY MILLS

Why the Creed?

The Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed, and the Athanasius creed are a part of the Lutheran tradition and are deeply connected to what we confess and believe. To make sure we understand what and why the creeds are necessary for Lutherans, we need to look at the word creed. We should be proud of the creeds in our tradition.


Many clubs and sects have creeds and are accepted widely by these communities. For some reason, when it comes to reciting the creed in the church, there are several scoffers. There is a mantra out there that goes something like the following. Deeds, not Creeds! In the most recent and bizarre move, Rick Warren from Saddleback Church is moving in the direction to remove the creedal altogether. But why? I am not here to discuss the character of Rick Warren, but I am asking why this doctrine to remove the creeds. Is it because these churches that say deeds, not creeds, are in the right direction of the new church? Is it because the removal of the creeds increases attendance? Does removing the creed create a better atmosphere? Does the removal create believers? We will explore why Lutherans should shout from the rooftop that we recite and believe the creeds.



Creed comes from the Latin “credo”[1] which means “I believe.” The creed is a credo from the compound Kerd-dhe[2]- which literally means to be PUT on one’s heart. Kerd forms cardio/kardio, meaning heart and the nativized form is creed. Do you hear it? Creed (heart) and dhe (to place on one’s heart). We also see from this word Creed or Creedo we would get creditor who is to trust in, to give credit to, I commit, consign, entrust to, and also the lender. God has lent us life, he is our creditor, and we as Christians give credence to this promise and confide in His teachings. Do you see it yet?



One can say that creed is belonging to Christ and His teachings. To say that the creed is a symbol is to remove the being to which we are created. We are in Christ and so we echo who He is and what He has taught us. Every bit of the creed is a catechesis of what has been told and revealed in scripture.


You can thank the post-modern world for the confusion of creed as a secular symbol and not foundational. In the Post-modern world, the bottom line is movable and not truth. To the current post-modern, the truth is movable and changed with culture and deconstruction. Deconstruction of any truth to create a reality that doesn’t exist is the primary goal of post-modernism. But enough of that. If you wish to really read more about post-modernism[3], you can click here.


The creed is a (1) confession of faith, (2) for the well-being of the church, (3) public, (4) faith, confidence, and devotion, (5) and it echoes what is taught in scripture ‘catechesis.’


(1) confession of faith - We confess what we believe as Christians. Confessing the faith is part of our belief to let people know where their worth is coming from. Worth comes from the creator for creation so that we have a purpose. Rick Warren should know this is important, but his book, “The Purpose Driven Life” lacks any notion that our creator has laid His laws and mercy on our hearts. The entire book leaves out any confession of the faith and lays the burden upon the reader to leave some kind of legacy. This is why one can remove the creed or say deeds, not creeds. Deeds and creeds are two separate things. The Creed drives the purpose of Christ to the confessor and the hearer.


(2) for the well-being of the church - We as Lutheran’s maintain and protect the creed as it is a confession of our faith from the very word (speaking mouth) of God. Jesus Christ is that Word that is the creation and reveals His role within the Church. He is the bridegroom (John 3:29.) We as Christians rejoice and revel in who Christ is because we are in Him.


(3) Public - Christianity is public, meaning it is not something that is to be held secret or invite-only. We confess that God is the creator and all around us. His creation is viewable everywhere around us. We believe that the organized world needs a creator and a creator that is in full communion with His creation. He has us speaking to the World and as pastors and layman, as disciples, we are called to give this fantastic news to everybody (Matthew 28:16-20, Acts 1:1-11).


(4) faith, confidence, and devotion – The creed decrees our faith in God, where the mantra “deeds not creeds” have faith in the self. As I said above, the mantra deeds, not creeds, will lay the burden upon the individual. Confessing that which is placed on our hearts by Christ we decree and echo the faith with confidence, and the creed itself is a devotion to our hearts. In fact, the creed sustains us because it feeds us precisely what God has given and revealed (Proverbs 18:21).


(5) it echoes what is taught in scripture ‘catechesis.’ – Instead of rewriting every bible reference here, I will direct you to Pastor Mark’s work at http://www.pastormark.info/Statements_of_Faith.pdf


Shout from the rooftops and give life through the creeds!


What does each article in the creed mean?

Small Catechism – a simple explanation

Large Catechism – an explanation for head of household and pastors

Credo word origin

https://etymologeek.com/lat/credo

credo | Origin and meaning of credo by Online Etymology Dictionary

https://www.etymonline.com/word/credo

Footnotes:

[1] https://etymologeek.com/lat/credo a map of the word credo

[2] Early 13c., "the Creed in the Church service," from Latin credo "I believe," the first word of the Apostles' and Nicene creeds, first person singular present indicative of credere "to believe," from PIE compound *kerd-dhe- "to believe," literally "to put one's heart" (source also of Old Irish cretim, Irish creidim, Welsh credu "I believe," Sanskrit śrad-dhā- "faith, confidence, devotion"), from PIE root *kerd- "heart." The nativized form is creed. General sense of "formula or statement of belief" is from 1580s. https://www.etymonline.com/word/credo

[3 ]In Western philosophy, a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power.


Bibliography

[1] https://etymologeek.com/lat/credo [2] early 13c., "the Creed in the Church service," from Latin credo "I believe," the first word of the Apostles' and Nicene creeds, first person singular present indicative of credere "to believe," from PIE compound *kerd-dhe- "to believe," literally "to put one's heart" (source also of Old Irish cretim, Irish creidim, Welsh credu "I believe," Sanskrit śrad-dhā- "faith, confidence, devotion"), from PIE root *kerd- "heart." The nativized form is creed. General sense of "formula or statement of belief" is from 1580s. https://www.etymonline.com/word/credo [3] in Western philosophy, a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power.

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