Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Condensed Creed

I've been issued this challenge by David Ker:

"Can you write a meme in less than 140 characters, the equivalent of a Twitter “tweet,” that results in a statement that every Christian could confess?
If someone sincerely confessed this creed you would:

- Consider them to be a brother or sister in Christ.
- Believe that they are true believers and inheritors of eternal life. "

Apart from US election night, I've never used Twitter, so I've been putting this off for a few days. There are some pretty good examples on David's original post already:

"Jesus is Lord"

"Jesus Christ God's Son Saviour" (the original Ichthus acrostic)

"I try to follow Jesus"

here: "We follow Jesus, who lived, died, and rose again to save us. He tells us to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves."

here: "God created and redeemed mankind and creation through His death and resurrection, granting mercy and eternal life that we may be like Him."
"God created and Christ redeemed mankind and creation, through death, resurrection and ascension, granting mercy, justice and eternal life. (both produced by gradual filleting of the Apostles creed)"

But I'm not happy. 2 months ago I wrote this:
Last night we had an evening looking at early church history, and one thing struck me powerfully. 2nd century church worship is described thus by Pliny

“They were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and singresponsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, notto some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify theirtrust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so"

A couple of hundred years later, things have changed - the commitment to living a life of integrity and honesty has gone, and been replaced by the reciting of a creed: commitment to an intellectual version of Christianity, in place of a practical one. Subsequent church history shows how much of a mistake this was, sparking repeated attempts by monastic movements to spell out a 'rule of life', a way of living, a practical programme of Christian ethics.

What bothers me about our traditional creeds is that they are intellectual: they were developed to counter heresies, and so they focus on what facts and theology we believe, rather than on how we live. I would be looking for a creed which combined belief, experience and lifestyle, because a creed which exists purely in the mind isn't a creed of salvation. Which is just what Kouya thinks (ht also for the cartoon above).

So here's my initial stab, which I may come back to and amend, comments welcome:
"Love and worship God, trust and follow Jesus, love and serve others, make disciples."

and then a very large book of footnotes on what 'sincerely' means....

I'm not going to tag people with this: if you fancy the challenge, have a go!


  1. andy griffiths25/11/08 1:04 pm

    How about:

    One God (revealed in Scripture, incarnate in Jesus, atoning through the cross and resurrection, present by the Spirit) will put the world right: love him.

    (127 characters)

  2. I like this a lot, David. I also wonder about creeds as reactive rather than pro-active (excuse the biz speak).

    I'm remembering something called an evangelical manifesto that came out a couple of years ago.

    Thanks for playing.