by Dick Ward
Did you know your denomination most likely has a formal CREED BOOK? Yes, the United Methodists have "The Book of Discipline", the Catholics have their many "catechisms", the Episcopal Church has "The Book of Common Prayer", and "The Confession of Faith" is used by the Presbyterians. Many of the Pentecostal groups have Manuals, Disciplines and their Articles of Faith.
What Does A Creed Book Contain?
The preface of the Baptist manual by E.T. Hiscox gives us an understanding of Creed Books:
"The purpose of this manual was to give a concise view of those distinctive features which mark the difference between Baptists and other denominations, espeically as to the ordinances and church order."
The United Methodist creed book, The Book of Discipline, begins with the "Episcopal Greetings",
"The Discipline is the book of law of the United Methodist church. ...The Discipline as the instrument for the setting forth the laws, plan, policiy, and process by which United Methodists govern themselves remains constant."
Chapter 12 of Hiscox's Standard Baptist Manual for Baptist Churches is entitled, "INFANT BAPTISM" and therein we are given the Baptists' concise view on the subject.
"One of the customs and upheld by Pedobaptist churches, which Baptists seriously condemn, is infant baptism. ...Baptist utterly reject and condemn the custom, as not simply useless and without authority, but as a most pernicious and hurtful usage; that it is injurious both to the child that receives it, and to the church which allows it, can be easily shown."
- Hiscox's Manual, page 129
As we turn to the United Methodist creed book, The Book of Discipline, we see their views on "Infant Baptism"
"...the pastor of each charge shall earnestly exhort all Christian parents or guardians to present their children to the Lord in baptism at an early age."
The Book of Discipline shows the United Methodists can be just as critical of other religoius people as the Baptists are critical of them.
"The Romish doctrin concerning purgatory, pardon, worshiping, and adoration, as well of images as of relics, and also invocation of saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warrant of Scripture, but repugnant to the Word of God."
- The Book of Discipline - page 58
A study of a Catholic Catechism (A Catechism of Christian Doctrine) revelas their contention that all must belong to the Catholic church to be saved: "All are obligated to belong to the Catholic Church, in some way, in order to be saved." (Page 13). Also, the Catholic Church claims to be the Church established by Christ: "The one true Church established by Christ is the Catholic Church." (Page 13).
As we see, the Creed Books of various denominations not only set forth their formula of beliefs, but also set forth areas of strong opposition to doctrines held by other religious groups. In a major way, CREED BOOKS show why the religious people in a community are divided. Paul expresses God's demands as to religious differences, "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same things, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." ( I Cor. 1:10, KJV).
A BOOK BURNING
Acts 19:17-20 illustrates what needs to be done today with Denominational Creed Books - a good old fashion "book-burning". Those Ephesians, who, in their past, used curious arts burned their books and as a result, the Word of God mightily grew and prevailed! Friends, we must get back to the Bible and free ourselves from the influence of CREED BOOKS written by men. - Dick Ward
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Dick Ward for the article! He can be reached at 18 El Dorado East, Tuscaloosa, AL 35405; (205) 556-2407).
Email the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
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