Creed or Creedless?
Among certain Christians it has become quite the fashion to cry down creed and cry up experience as the only true test of Christianity. The expression "Not creed, but Christ" (taken, I believe, from a poem by John Oxenham) has been widely accepted as the very voice of truth and given a place alongside of the writings of prophets and apostles.
When I first heard the words they sounded good. One got from them the idea that the advocates of the no-creed creed had found a precious secret that the rest of us had missed; that they had managed to cut right through the verbiage of historic Christianity and come direct to Christ without bothering about doctrine. And the words appeared to honor our Lord more perfectly by focusing attention upon Him alone and not upon mere words. But is this true? I think not. Now I have a lot of sympathy for the no-creed creedalists for I realize that they are protesting the substitution of a dead creed for a living Christ; and in this I join them wholeheartedly. But this antithesis need not exist; there is no reason for our creeds being dead just as there is no reason for our faith being dead. James tells us that there is such a thing as dead faith, but we do not reject all faith for that reason. Now the truth is that creed is implicit in every thought, word or act of the Christian life. It is altogether impossible to come to Christ without knowing at least something about Him; and what we know about Him is what we believe about Him; and what we believe about Him is our Christian creed. Otherwise stated, since our creed is what we believe, it is impossible to believe on Christ and have no creed.
Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:16
In 1 Tim.3:16 Paul may be quoting an early creedal hymn. A Creed is intended to be a terse, succinct statement of what one believes. That statement is a basic affirmation of one's principal beliefs, not an exhaustive one. As believers can we be creedless
Father, enable me to identify eternal truth from Your Word and the application of that truth to my life. Help me to major on the majors and not the minors. In Jesus' name.