Editor’s Ink -- By: William David Spencer
PP 20:2 (Spring 2006) p. 2
Inside the back cover of every issue of Priscilla Papers, we publish Christians for Biblical Equality’s “Statement of Faith.”
We do that so that everyone, including potential authors, will know what we affirm and, therefore, what topics and treatments of topics will be acceptable within our doctrinal borders.
The very first entry one encounters in our statement is this: “We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, is reliable, and is the final authority for faith and practice.”
What exactly do we mean by that?
“I believe” in Latin is credo, which morphed from the Anglo-Saxon creda to Middle English’s crede to become the basis of the English word “creed.” In my fundamentalist youth, my birth church was suspicious of “creeping creedalism,” by which we imagined the faith of Jesus Christ was pinned to a dusty page like a hapless butterfly, struggling and then dying into a moribund neo-orthodoxy. In those days we knew nothing about the Nicaean Creed of a.d. 325, the Chalcedonian Definition of the Faith of a.d. 451, the Westminster Confession, or any of the other great historic declarations of Christian dogma (what it is exactly all Christians must believe to be true Christians). However, we unwittingly built our belief systems on these creeds’ interpretations of the gospel. For example, the word “Trinity” was not in the Bible, but the concept had been explicated in the creeds from the disciples of the disciples’ careful analysis of Scripture, and, having received the teaching as truth, we affirmed it. In fact, our church developed its own statement of what we believed as a church. None of us knew such a declaration, such a statement, was in reality a “creed.” But we knew it was what we believed. So, no matter how “independent” of all other Christians we imagined ourselves to be, just as all other Christians do, we made our creed, too—our “this is what we believe.” And, like all Christians, we based our beliefs on the Bible. We at CBE, of course, do not imagine ourselves as independent from the body of Christ, but as a central part of it. So, too, very consciously, then, we at CBE have made our “creed,” and we recognize the same basis and authority for our faith as do all Christians independent and interdependent: We believe in the Bible.
And what we believe about it is: “the Bible is the inspired Word of God.” The word “inspire” (this time contributed from the Latin inspirare through the Old French inspirer on through Middle English’s inspiren), as a theological term, means “God-breathed,” as God breathed life into the first hu...
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