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  • Writer's pictureBrian Fuller

Cade Talks: Let's Memorize an Old Creed

Cade Talks: A few years ago I realized I needed some sort of post-sermon analytic to test how clear I had been in my preaching. I was looking for something a little better than asking my Bride, "Well, how did you think that went?" I didn't have to look far. My 11-year-old son at the time, Cade, was perfect. I had already noticed that on the way home from church if I asked him about the sermon, I could find out immediately how clear, fuzzy, or confusing I had been. He was never shy in his evaluation. :-/ It was either, "I didn't understand a word you were saying," or he would give some specific takeaways. It began to be so helpful that I started using the "Cade Test" during my sermon preparation, asking myself as I constructed the message: "will Cade understand this?" So, it's in the spirit of the "Cade Test" that I present this series of blog posts entitled, Cade Talks. My main goal is that these posts will encourage my son as I talk to him on a variety of important topics.  And, obviously, by posting them, I'm hopeful they will help others too.

Son, I suggest we memorize the 110 words of the Apostle's Creed together. Hear me out.

It's called the Apostle's Creed because there is evidence it goes back nearly 2000 years to the time of the apostles, just after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Now, the twelve apostles probably didn't write the creed themselves. There was an old legend that each of them (including Matthias who took Judas' place) wrote a couple of the lines of the creed. More likely, the statements of the creed were based on the Apostles' teaching. And the lines were probably used as questions for believers before they were baptized. You'll notice that "I believe" is used three times in this short creed. That is sort of a play on words. The word "creed" comes from the Latin credo which means "I believe." So, a creed is a statement of things we believe. Here's the Apostle's Creed:

Apostle’s Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, (that's the whole universal church, not the Roman Catholic Church. "catholic" means "universal.) the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. AMEN.

Here's three great reasons for us to memorize the Apostle's Creed

A creed helps us pass on the baton of the faith. Cade, all the essential things you must believe to be a Christian are called "the faith." (Jude 1:3) So, of all the things I want you to know, this is the most important. Imagine the faith as a baton in an Olympic relay race. I'm talking about that smooth, hollow tube, made of wood or metal, that measures about a foot long and is passed off from one runner to the next. The exchange is critical. And, our last few American relay teams have, unfortunately, been known for their mishaps during the handoff. The space for the exchange is only a little over 20 yards. Relatively small. Everything has to be timed perfectly.

Confessions and creeds, like the Apostle's Creed, are similar to a baton handoff. For sure, that creeds do not take the place of the Bible. They're not on the same level of authority as the Bible either. Creeds are summary statements of what the Bible means. Son, I have only 20 years with you in our home (give or take a year!) By memorizing this and other creeds together, I'm hoping it helps in handing off "the faith" (baton) from me to you.

A creed helps us focus on the big stuff. Christians believe much more than just what is included in the Apostle's Creed, but not less. Bud, you need to know something about the Bible: all Scripture is equally inspired, but not all Scripture is equally important. (I Corinthians 15:3; Matthew 23:23) I hope you read through the Bible completely, more than once, in your life. But, when you find yourself bogged down in the leprosy cleansings of Leviticus, or the genealogies of Chronicles, don't be discouraged when you hurry to a passage of Scripture that is more gospel explicit (clear). That's not a problem. At some point, you will hopefully be able to read even those challenging verses with some "gospel goggles."

Creeds and confessions include the BIG THINGS. For instance, you will notice that the three "I believe" statements in the Apostle's Creed are divided for each Person of the Trinity. Also, more lines are given to the work of Jesus than to the Father or the Holy Spirit. Why? Because creeds focus on the main things. Cade, while disciples are supposed to be taught "all things Jesus commanded us," there are some most important things. Creeds outline those most important things. You may never adopt and apply your Christianity culturally exactly like Mom and I. That's ok. But, to be a Christian, you must believe the same things theologically outlined in the Apostle's Creed.

"You may never adopt and apply your Christianity culturally exactly like Mom and I. That's ok. But, to be a Christian, you must believe the same things theologically outlined in the Apostle's Creed."

A creed helps us guard against bad teaching. Son, I think a lot about whether you will be able to recognize false teaching when you read it or hear it from a pulpit, or a video reel you watch. Here's what is needed, Cade. You must know the truth so well that you can spot the lie. Creeds help us detect false teaching. Creeds are like getting a vaccine shot. As we have recently been reminded, vaccine shots don't promise 100% immunity. (that you won't get sick) But, they do promise some degree of protection.

So, here we go!

Son, I have no greater joy than to hear that you are walking in truth.



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