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David Otten: Confessing the faith

 
By David Otten
Contributing writer
updated: 5/1/2019 10:28 AM

"Credo" -- "I believe."(Latin).

Out of this comes the word "creed." This last Sunday I read the account of Thomas, who after much doubting made the godly confession of his faith in Christ with the words, "My Lord and my God." This was his statement of faith; it was his creed broadly speaking.

Other personal or short creedal statements are found in the New Testament, such as, "Jesus is Lord" or Peter's response to Jesus's question of "Who do you say I am?" with the confession "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Christians from the start expected converts to make a confession of Christ as Christ spoke of in Matthew 10:32-33: "Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven.

"But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven."

To fail to make a confession of Christ casts doubt on what you believe. God can see the heart, but man can't.

Scripture hints at creeds being established while the New Testament was being written. Note 1 Corinthians 15:3-7: "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than 500 brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles."

Paul passes on what he "received." J.N.D. Kelly, a scholar of early Christian creeds presumes that this knowledge he received was from the church -- that is, other Christians -- and these Christians were formulating statements of belief to aid in teaching and sharing the message of Christ. Paul may have received these words from the Apostles directly.

At Baptisms a confession of faith would have been expected. Christ commanded baptism to be administered using the Trinitarian formula, "in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." Ancient documents on baptism from the first 300 years after Christ, reveal that the one being baptized was asked if he or she believed in each person of the Trinity. The Apostles' Creed, found later in history, is rightly called a baptismal creed as it has been commonly used at times of Baptisms to confess the same.

Regardless if one uses formal or personal creeds in confessing the Christian faith, it still must rest solely on Scripture. Thomas' confession rest solely on the risen Christ standing before him. I pray you stand strong and confess boldly Christ our risen savior and the faith into which you were baptized.

Easter Blessings!

• David Otten is pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Eldorado.