Our congregational creed is a Revised New Hampshire Baptist Confession of 1853. As I prepare to teach this on Saturday, together with the other pastor in our congregation, the words of B. F. Carroll (1843-1914) come to mind:
“There never was a man in the world without a creed. What is a creed? A creed is what you believe. What is a confession? It is a declaration of what you believe. That declaration may be oral or it may be committed to writing but the creed is there, either expressed or implied” (quoted from The Reformed Reader).
There is no such thing as a person without a creed. It may not be a well-thought out creed. It may not be a creed that is inherently consistent with itself or that is held consistently. But there is no such thing as a person without a creed or a mental framework for believing, speaking and living. Everyone has beliefs that guide and govern their lives.
You may have noticed that I added the word “living.” This is because a creed is not just about believing but also about living. Sound living is founded upon sound believing. As William Perkins once said, “Theologie is the science of living blessedly forever” (quoted by Richard Muller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena to Theology, p. 155). What you believe will inevitably influence how you live.
So as a congregation, we are going to be examining what our formal creed is and why we believe the Scripture directs us to these blessed convictions for a blessed life. I look forward to seeing you there!