The Bible is the Church’s Only Creed

The word “creed” comes from the Latin word “credo” meaning “I believe.” According to Webster, it means “a brief statement of religious belief, esp. one accepted as authoritative by a church.” A creed can come from one of two sources: God or man. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17).

The Bible is the only creed for the New Testament church. It is also called the Faith, the Gospel or Good News, the doctrine of Christ, the Word of God, the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42), etc. It is the apostle’s doctrine because it came to them as they were guided by the Holy Spirit sent by Christ. Jesus promised the apostles: “when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (Jn. 16:13-14; 14:26). It came by the authority of Christ. Paul said, “But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11-12).

Denominations have their creed books which authorize their leaders to teach certain doctrines and state what their members are to believe. The Catholics have their catechisms, oral and written traditions, councils, and the pontiff. The Lutherans have their Catechisms and the Augsburg Confession of Faith. The Methodists have their Discipline. The Baptist have their Manuals. The Confession of Faith is the creed of the Presbyterians. The Mormons have three sources of authority for what they believe and practice: Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Peril of Great Price. The Jehovah Witnesses have the Watch Tower publications.

The above creed books of men are the wrong source of authority for man’s faith for several reasons. The most obvious reason is that they are not from God but the product of the mind of men. Man cannot direct his own footsteps. Jeremiah realized this when he said, “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jer. 10:23).

The traditions and philosophies of men are condemned (Col. 2:8; Matt. 15:7-10). Creeds are additions to and subtractions from the Word of God. The Bible close with this warning: “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev. 22:18-19; also see 2 John 9). Any creed book which has more than what is found in the Bible has added to what God has said. Any creed book which has less than what God has given in His Word has subtracted.

Creeds divide men religiously. “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10).

The Church of Christ found in the New Testament did not have a creed apart from the Bible. There is no such thing as “Church of Christ” doctrine, baptism, denomination, etc. The sinner simply obeyed the Gospel and was added to the body of Christ, the church. Just as there is one God and one body, there is one faith or system of belief. In other words, Christ has only one set of teaching for His one body. This system of belief is found nowhere else except in God’s Word. It is the doctrine of Christ which formed the New Testament church.

The Seed is the Creed

“The seed is the Word of God” (Lk. 8:1) in the parable of the sower. The seed of God is planted in the hearts of men. “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:22-23). Those who received the good news grew into fruitful Christians. Therefore, it is the Word of God that makes Christians, not the ideas and opinions of men.

On the day of Pentecost, the seed was sown by the apostles, and it brought forth the New Testament church. Today, if this seed is sown, it will bring forth a church exactly like the New Testament church. For God had established in the laws of nature that every plant or seed would reproduce after its kind (Gen. 1:11,12; Gal. 6:7).

No one ever became anything other than a Christian when following only the Bible. Those who call themselves Mormons did not become so by following the Bible or a Methodist Discipline, but they became such by following the Book of Mormon. No one ever became a Methodist by following a Presbyterian Confession of Faith or the Bible. Foremost, no one ever became a Christian by following the Methodist Discipline, Presbyterian Confession of Faith, or the Book of Mormon. For God never told anyone to do anything which would put him into any denomination. But all those who will read and follow the Word of God, will be added by God to the church, not a denomination (Ac. 2:47).

Using the New Testament as their blueprint, true Christians established in the 21st century the church belonging to Christ. Just as the oak is in the acorn, the church is in the seed of God. “For whatever the Gospel is said to do, the church is said to be. The gospel saves, purifies, and washes away sins, therefore the church is the sanctified, the saved, the purified, and the ones washed of their sins.”

In this cold, dark world of sin, spiritual carelessness, apathy, denominations, and deception, there is a pure light that shines. For Christ promised, “I will build my church, and the gates of hades will not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18). The church belonging to Christ, or the church of Christ is here, today. It is available for all those, who are willing to sincerely accept the seed of God into their heart, lay all human labels and creeds aside, and put on the name of Christ.

In Time Magazine’s section on religion a few decades ago it called members of the Church of Christ “the most Bible-bound of all religionists.” May it be true of this generation of New Testament Christians.

– Daniel R. Vess

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