Creeds, Redes, and Deeds

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There are two posts today. The first I struggled with whether or not I want to offer some sort of response. The second suggests I should.

The first ends like this,

What if the most absolute essential statement anyone could make about Christianity was that we love people? That how we loved was the only thing we really cared about or ever evaluated, and we stopped asking about how “theologically sound” someone is, or how “biblically based”? What if love were our North Star, instead of do you affirm the deity of Christ and his virgin birth?

This post in particular touches me because, as you know, I am a former fundamentalist like the author. I do not know where she is in her journey; therefore, I do not wish to come off sounding like an arse. However, while I struggled with the stranglehold of doctrine during my transition, I have come to better appreciate the important role in plays in how I speak and act as a Christian. For instance, when we are addressing Christian love and the role it must play either in doctrine or action, I cannot help but turn to St. Athanasius’s On the Incarnation. Because of this doctrinal treatise, I have a better grasp on  what love and redemption means in a Christian setting.

Yesterday in Sunday School, we happened upon the discussion of the Filioque. Who, we have to ask, has the power to change a creed. But, it is deeper than this. Does the Creed matter? I believe it does. Not only does the Creed organize us into a corporate body, but it helps us to replicate the Gospel’s message each time we say it. This doctrinal foothold is what then helps us to fully grasp, or to attempt to fully grasp, what Christian love is supposed to be about.

Our particular doctrines as Wesleyans is also part of that over all Gospel message. I am not Calvinist, by God. I am one who believes in Grace for all. It is not merely that I love others like myself, which is the basis of ethical humanity, but that I believe God loves his Creation, all of it, in such a way as I can never fully appreciate or express.

Anyway, my thoughts.

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Post By Joel L. Watts (10,051 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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8 thoughts on Creeds, Redes, and Deeds

  1. Apart from our understanding of the economy of salvation, we don’t even know what we mean when we use the term “love.”

    • Agreed — which is part of the issue I see with people’s expectations of God. We often define our expectations of God by our definitions (including expectations and lack of expectations) for ourselves.

  2. I would very much like you to expand on why a particular understanding of the Trinity is so vital. I’ve yet to hear a Trinity Sunday sermon which doesn’t at least flirt with modalism, for instance…

  3. As Marcus Borg says: “But credo does not mean ‘I hereby agree to the literal-factual truth of the following statements.’ Rather, its Latin roots combine to mean ‘I give my heart to.’

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