O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

The Creed vs. The Scripture: Living with the Tension

As part of a New Testament seminary course I have been reading a book called Practicing Theological Interpretation by Joel Green. While I am enjoying the book and I do recommend it for its thorough discussion of various hermeneutical paradigms, one section on the "Rule of Faith" as dictated by the "Creed" (singularly referencing the collective creeds of the church throughout history) was challenging. Here is my brief response:

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Comment by John on October 30, 2012 at 1:23pm

Thanks Tami,

This is a great article that really hits the nail on the head in exposing the dangers of creedalism and people following uninspired men while ignoring the plain teaching of Christ and his Apostles.

I know the reformers constantly rail against the RCC for following the Popes and Vatican council teachings but when you break it down they are doing the same thing.

Thanks again :)

Comment by Tim Martin on October 30, 2012 at 9:18pm

Thanks, Tami. That brief article is a great example of clear-headed thinking and writing.

It seems to me that God's people need to re-learn certain lessons every few hundred years.


Tim Martin

Comment by Tami on October 30, 2012 at 9:20pm

Thanks for that affirmation, Tim and John. I think it might have freaked my professor out, haha.

Comment by Tim Martin on October 30, 2012 at 10:19pm

I had to attend my own "heresy" trial a few weeks ago with some locals. Their thought processes and logical rationale for their complaint against me was revealing.

They were really Roman Catholics all dressed up in Presbyterian skins. 

It's like they didn't have a clue. They even admitted their own exception to the Nicene regarding "baptism for the remission of sins," but then turned around and claimed that I could not make my exception regarding eschatology.

It was surreal.



Comment by jjkratt on October 30, 2012 at 11:41pm

Great job Tami :)

Comment by Doug on October 31, 2012 at 12:13pm


Sorry you were on trial. Did it have a good outcome?

Tami: You mentioned canon.... You rightly said that canon has to be accepted because of its internal agreement, plus a certain amount of faith that God sovereignly guided its formation.

Yet, the traditionally accepted process of canonization has to be questioned. Tradition says that post first century men organized and canonized the scriptures we see today. I question that assumption because if it is true, then on what basis can we accept canon and reject certain parts of the creeds? It is illogical to accept the one and reject the other, if we are rejecting the creeds, or parts of them, because they are "post early church".

It is my belief that the canon as we know it now was passed down DIRECTLY from those who wrote it. In other words, those whom God inspired to write the scriptures also told their audiences that what they had written was inspired and should be treated as such. I believe there was a certain amount of God-given authority exercised in the apostolic church, and I even believe God expected the primitive church to accept the rule and authority of the apostles (but not those after teh apostles) as the final word on such matters.

It is evident from the epistles that there were those who disagreed with this, and Paul calls them out by name and tells the members to have no association with those who would divide. If the church was simply a free association of like-minded individuals who could pick and choose what they wanted to believe and WHOM they wanted to believe, then the early scriptures would have no force either.

After the apostles died, there was a power vacuum and it was hard if not impossible for church members to know whom to follow. For this reason, I believe a major job of the apostles was the canonization of scripture. I don't believe it happened after they died.

If it was, then I would have grounds now for picking and choosing what I want to believe. Once I go down that trail, there is no reason for me to believe ANY part of scripture that I personally didn't want to believe, and I could be like Thomas Jefferson who decided on his own which parts of the bible ought to be accepted and which rejected.

So then, concerning creeds, I have to either believe they were written by the apostles themselves, and have the force of scripture, or they don't. Seeing as the creeds have internal inconsistencies and disagree with scripture, then I can only conclude they were not written under inspiration. Therefore, I can (and do) treat them as non-binding on me personally.

In short, I see scripture as canonical (binding on me) and they were canonized by the apostles themselves, not by the church that came later. I don't believe creeds were written by the apostles, and I do NOT treat them as binding.

Comment by Tami on November 5, 2012 at 9:06am

"You rightly said that canon has to be accepted because of its internal agreement,"

Hi Doug, l didn't exactly say that. I said it would be quite illogical of me to dogmatically hold to a fixed canon. :)



Comment by Tim Martin on November 5, 2012 at 7:44pm


Everything is fine. The nice thing about being in a congregational church is that you get to associate with anyone you wish, or perhaps, in this case, those who will reciprocate. If some group washes their hands from you, what can you really do?

Presbyterians have an interesting psychological disposition, generally speaking.They have their place in the kingdom, but, sometimes, they just don't "get it."

I'm Ok with that.

Moving on...


Tim Martin


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