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5 Stars Out Of 5
Creeds that we need
July 2, 2012
Why Do We Have Creeds
The pluralist society is wrong! Everyone's beliefs are not equally valid - truth is not down to who is the biggest bully! Creeds give direction, unity, and fellowship - and show the world what we believe.
This was a quick read booklet that details why and how Creeds are beneficial. The author goes into detail of how this unifies and keeps the church on their focus of Christ. Burk Parsons also makes clear they do not replace scripture but help the Believer flush out the specifics of what they believe in a brief statement. This is done every time a person defends their faith. It is challenging to summarize the entire Bible if one is not prepared to when asked on a moment's notice and that is where creeds are most helpful. As society changes in the past and present creeds are the one thing that cannot change since the Bible does not change.
I would like to thank Net Galley and P & R Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
If someone were to ask you that question, how would you respond? What beliefs would you first profess? The truth is, as Burk Parsons notes, "everyone believes in something." And it is because of this simple truth that we have creeds.
Living in a day where creeds are often looked upon with skepticism, or altogether dismissed and forgotten, Parsons has provided a timely volume defending the legitimacy and importance of the historic creeds of the Christian faith. Why Do We Have Creeds?, a recent addition to P&R Publishing's "Basics of the Faith" series, provides readers with a clear and concise defense of the importance of creeds within the life and practice of the church. And while some may say "My only creed is Christ" or "The Bible is my only creed", Parsons' brief volume respectfully shows why it is not enough to simply believe in something_it's what you believe about that something that makes all the difference.
After discussing the nature of belief and Christian religious belief in particular, Parsons lays the foundation for his examination of the role creedal and confessional statements by demonstrating the absolute sufficiency, authority, and infallibility of Holy Scripture. While some today, fearing that creeds may be viewed by believers as authoritative over or equal to the Scriptures, thereby objecting to the import and use of historic creeds and confession within the church, Parsons points out that "the church's historic creeds affirm that Scripture alone is our final authority." Further, "the church's creeds and confessions do not stand as authorities over Scripture but rather serve as affirmations of Scripture's authority for all of faith and life." Thus, Parsons notes, "Creeds themselves are authoritative only in that they are subordinate to and derivative from the only divine authority, namely, the inspired and inerrant Word of God."
Moving forward, Parsons helps believers understand the necessity of creeds within the church by examining the usefulness, foundation for, and purpose of creeds and confessional statements. Dispensing with the notion that doctrine merely is divisive, Parsons plainly states that creedal statements guard against heresy, provide sound doctrinal summary and instruction, and give Christians a rallying point of unity around the truth of Scripture.
The strength of this book lies in it mixture of brevity, substance, and engagement with historic and contemporary scholarly voices. While targeted at the person unfamiliar or relatively new to the creeds of the Christian faith, Parsons' God-given ability to write clearly will serve as a helpful primer for those desiring to understand and appreciate the historic confessions of the faith, but will also give the person familiar with the subject a framework for clear and practical explanation. I highly recommend it!
*The publisher, at no charge, for the purpose of review, provided a copy of the aforementioned title. I was under no obligation to write a favorable review.
Why Do We Have Creeds is one of a series of over twenty booklets on various aspects of the Christian faith. It is only a short book (42 pages) but it contains some profound statements about the nature of belief. Parsons states that our doctrine is the basis for the way we live (whether that doctrine or belief or faith is conscious or unconscious) and that we cannot be effective Christians if we try to isolate our doctrine from our intellect.
While the basis of our faith is our relationship with God, Parsons calls the outworking of that faith 'religion' and points out that real faith, real religion affects the way we deal with others. This was an interesting idea to me, because many Christians I know take great care to point out that Christianity is a relationship, not a religion. Parsons effectively points out that one cannot exist without the other.
We all believe something (even atheists and agnostics). Our creeds are simply statements of those beliefs. Quoting C.S. Lewis and St. Paul, Parsons makes the point that while an open mind is a useful thing, as Christians we believe in an ultimate foundation, and that to be open-minded about these basics can lead us astray.
Although short, this is not simplistic. The ideas are complex, as is some of the vocabulary (thank goodness for the Kindle dictionary - except that this book is not available on Kindle and it should be). One point I would make - Parsons clearly beleives in the primacy of the Bible, which is classic Protestant theology. Those who do not agree with this may object to some of what this book says. Personally, I found it excellent.
Thanks to P&R Publishing and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.