Thursday, September 10, 2009

THE VALUE OF CREEDS AND CATECHISMS

Growing up Southern Baptist, I was taught that creeds, confessions and catechisms were bad. That is incorrect, it turns out. Frankly, I am a little mad that these were left out of my upbringing. I spent years wondering about the answers to questions, and later, years studying the Bible to find the answers to questions. Guess what?

I'm not the only one who had those questions.

People have always had those same questions. Great theologians and students of the Bible researched these questions years ago and put the answers in their confessions and creeds. Then, they wrote catechisms to teach their people these. Baptists, in fact, had them, including Spurgeon, who wrote his own.

When our Baptist leaders decry the ignorance of their people, feel free to point this out.

Here is an example of a catechism question and answer.

The Heidleberg Catechism, question 57: What comfort does the resurrection of the body offer you?

Answer. Not only shall my soul after this life immediately be taken up to Christ, my Head,[1] but also this my flesh, raised by the power of Christ, shall be reunited with my soul and made like Christ's glorious body.[2]

[1] Luke 16:22; 23:43; Phil. 1:21-23. [2] Job 19:25, 26; I Cor. 15:20, 42-46, 54; Phil. 3:21; I John 3:2.

You can see that the old accusation, "creeds take the place of the Bible" is false. Each answer references the scripture so you can look it up and study it.

I only stumbled on these a few years ago, starting with the Westminister. The first question was the question I pondered for years. If I had known the confession and been trained in the catechism, I would have know the answer and practiced it for years.
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