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A Doctrineless Christianity

Albert Mohler on the necessity of creeds and confessions:


The Apostles’ Creed was not written by the apostles, but it does reflect the early church’s effort to express and summarize the faith given by Christ to the apostles. Early Christians called the creed “the rule of faith” and turned to it as they worshipped and taught the faithful. But the question arises: Why today, do we need a book on the Apostles’ Creed? What relevance could it have and what benefit can come from examining it? Some object to the very idea of accountability to old words. Still others claim that Christians are to hold no creed but the Bible and to have “no creed but Christ.” The problem is, of course, that we all need a summary of what the Bible teaches, and the church needs a strong standard for recognizing true Christianity and rejecting false doctrines.

What is more, behind some objections to the Apostles’ Creed is something exceedingly dangerous: a desire for a doctrineless faith. Some argue for a Christianity that requires no formal doctrines or doctrinal mandates. The history of Christianity, however, is littered with the debris of many such movements, each of which left behind shattered lives of people whose faith dissolved without the structure of doctrine.

The idea of a doctrineless Christianity stands at odds with the words of Christ, who revealed himself to the apostles in explicitly doctrinal terms. Jesus revealed himself in truth claims. He identified himself as the Son of Man and demonstrated his deity, even referring to himself as “I am” repeatedly in the gospel of John—bearing the name God had given himself from the burning bush as he spoke to Moses (Ex. 3:13–16). A doctrineless Christianity also stands in contradiction with what Christ commissioned his apostles to do—to make disciples of all nations and to teach them to obey all that Christ commanded (Matt. 28:18–20). This command requires doctrine.

Here we have to remember simply that doctrine, as a great historian of Christianity explained it, is “what the church believes, teaches, and confesses on the basis of the word of God.” Any church that believes, teaches, and worships has some doctrine. The question is: Are they the right doctrines, the right teachings?

—Albert Mohler, The Apostles’ Creed (Crossway, 2019), xviii–xvix.

The Apostles’ Creed does not contain a complete confession of every necessary Christian doctrine. But, for more than a millennium, the greatest theologians of the church have affirmed the biblical doctrines of this creed. We would be foolish to cast it aside now.

Posted 2020·01·29 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Albert Mohler · The Apostles’ Creed (Mohler)

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