Credo -- By: Charles C. Ryrie

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 105:419 (Jul 1948)
Article: Credo
Author: Charles C. Ryrie


Charles C. Ryrie

Creeds have not only aided but also plagued the church throughout her history. As problems arose men gathered in councils to decide what were often important issues. The results of their deliberations took the form of creeds, and have come down to us today in what are known as the Apostles’ Creed, Athanasian Creed, Westminster Confession, etc. Each was the outgrowth of a period of decision in the church, and met an impelling need of the time.

Today the church, and we speak of all Christendom, finds herself in a time of crisis. The need of our time is a true discernment of Christian essentials. Organized Christianity has become lost in a maze of non-essentials. These trappings must be stripped off in order that we may have a clear-cut message to give to a needy world. We need a creed of the essentials of our faith. Some have asserted, “The Bible is our creed,” implying that this is a sufficient answer. Without question a belief in the verbal and plenary inspiration of the Scriptures is basic and essential, but it does not answer the question which we raise.

When you have the opportunity to deal with a new Christian, about which of the many “things of the Lord” would you first talk to him? Or if you are a Sunday School teacher or a pastor assuming a new responsibility, what truth would you first present to those waiting hearts? In other words, what should be emphasized first in our ministry? One assumes, of course, that the gospel must be presented first, for it alone is the power of God unto salvation. But the question is, What teaching should follow? Our churches are filled

with undernourished Christians. Can we find a formula for these babes in Christ?

If we could find in the Scriptures the account of one of God’s servants who after preaching the gospel in power spent only a short time with the new converts, and if we could discover what general lines of truth he taught them, we should feel that this would be a divine answer to the question, yea, a divine creed for dealing with young believers.

Indeed, we have such a situation in the early history of the church. The Apostle Paul on his second missionary journey visited the city of Thessalonica and according to the record in the book of Acts was there only three or four weeks (Acts 17:2). Although Paul did not know when he entered the city how long he would be allowed to remain, we may believe that the Holy Spirit guided him to teach the new converts those things which would be essential to their faith. Thus we may discover from a study of the first epistle to the Thessalonians, written shortly after his vis...

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