Christians Without Creeds
Some Christian denominations, and particularly those descending from the Radical Reformation, do not profess a creed. The Quakers, also known as the Religious Society of Friends, believe that they have no need for creedal formulations of faith. The Church of the Brethren also espouses no creed, referring to the New Testament, as their "rule of faith and practice." Jehovah's Witnesses contrast "memorizing or repeating creeds" with acting to "do what Jesus said". Unitarian Universalists, who practice probably the most liberal of all religions, do not share a creed.
Many evangelical Protestants similarly reject creeds as definitive statements of faith, even while agreeing with some creeds' substance. The Baptists have been non-creedal "in that they have not sought to establish binding authoritative confessions of faith on one another". While many Baptists are not opposed to the ancient creeds, they regard them as "not so final that they cannot be revised and re-expressed. At best, creeds have a penultimacy about them and, of themselves, could never be the basis of Christian fellowship". Moreover, Baptist "confessions of faith" have often had a clause such as this from the First London (Particular) Baptist Confession (Revised edition, 1646):Also we confess that we now know but in part and that are ignorant of many things which we desire to and seek to know: and if any shall do us that friendly part to show us from the Word of God that we see not, we shall have cause to be thankful to God and to them.
Similar reservations about the use of creeds can be found in the Restoration Movement and its descendants, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Churches of Christ, and the Christian churches and churches of Christ.
Some religious leaders in traditional creedal Churches have also come to question the utility of creeds. Bishop John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark, has written that dogmas and creeds were merely "a stage in our development" and "part of our religious childhood." In his book, Sins of the Scripture, Spong claims that "Jesus seemed to understand that no one can finally fit the holy God into his or her creeds or doctrines. That is idolatry."Many people said (the Apostles Creed), but they understood what it was saying and what they meant by that quite differently. No matter how hard they tried, they could not close out this perennial debate. They cannot establish a consensus and they could not agree on the meaning of that phrase which had been once "delivered to the saints." It did not occur to these people that the task they were trying to accomplish was not a human possibility, that the mystery of God, including the God they believed they had met in Jesus, could not be reduced to human words and human concepts or captured inside human creeds. Nor did they understand that the tighter and more specific their words became, the less they would achieve the task of unifying the church. All creeds have ever done is to define those who are outside, who were not true believers; and thus their primarily achievement has been to set up eternal conflict between the "ins" and the "outs," a conflict that has repeatedly degenerated into the darkest sort of Christian behavior, including imperialism, torture, persecution, death and war.
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... Some Christian denominations, and particularly those descending from the Radical Reformation, do not profess a creed ... The Church of the Brethren also espouses no creed, referring to the New Testament, as their "rule of faith and practice." Jehovah's Witnesses contrast "memorizing or repeating creeds ... probably the most liberal of all religions, do not share a creed ...
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