Theological Scribbles: In Defence of the Creed, part 1 (from "Deep Church Rising")
Creeds often take a fair amount of flack. In the minds of many people they are lifeless sets of “things to believe” that substitute for authentic heart-felt faith; they epitomize outward “religion” obsessed with form and ritual, as opposed to inward devotion. For some they are seen to foster a propositional approach to faith that focuses on the primacy of assent to certain claimed facts. Others see them as a source of oppression, the top-down imposition by powerful ecclesiastical hierarchies of what Christians are compelled to affirm. Framed in those terms creeds do not resonate with the modern world, with its focus on the individual’s authority to determine what she or he chooses to believe.
We wish to present creeds differently. The great ecumenical Creed of Nicea is, we suggest, an instrument of the Holy Spirit to help keep the church focused on key aspects of the gospel message. A few points of orientation are in order.