Creeds have long played an important part in the history of the Church. The early church met at councils to discuss important doctrinal issues directly related to the work of Christ, the Trinity and more. Since creeds have played a huge role in helping Christians and the Church to fight against heresy and define orthodoxy from the Bible it goes to reason that some people may question the role of creeds and whether they are biblical. It’s important to note an important distinction at this point that creeds are only helpful in so far as the teaching in in them is biblical. In his new book Dr. Carl Trueman one of the most respected church history professors in evangelicalism of our day has written The Creedal Imperative to argue that “creeds and confessions are vital to the present and future well-being of the church” (7). Dr. Trueman sets forth to contend that “creeds and confessions are thoroughly consistent with the belief that Scripture alone is the unique source of revelation and authority” (14).
Everyone has a creed which means the only difference is whether one is prepared to be honest and open about this fact. Dr. Trueman states that, “only once you have acknowledged this and made your creed public can you then put into place a system that connects your church’s confession to Scripture and to church’s government in a way that gives your church, her leadership, and her people a way of making sure that the confession stays subordinate to Scripture in a transparent, orderly, and public way. Ironically, it is not the confessionalists but the “no creed but the Bible” people who exalt their creeds above Scripture” (155).
Confessional Protestantism focuses itself on the Gospel and the Word of God and follows in the footsteps of the Reformers and their successors. Confessional Protestantism is Christianity as Paul would have understood it: the church, and only the church, is the divine institution, existing by the command and will of God, for the preservation and proclamation of the faith. It also meets both of those perceived lacunae in evangelicalism; it provides historical roots and seriously theology.
The Creedal Imperative is an important book that will help those who wish to follow Jesus, and to be faithful, biblical Christians to understand the importance of creeds. To take the Bible seriously means that creeds and confessions, far from being intrusions into the Christian life are actually imperatives for the church. This would be a good book for seminary students, and Bible college students, as well as office bearers in the Church to read to understand the important place creeds have had in the history of the Church and their needed place today in the life of the Church.
Title: The Creedal Imperative
Author: Carl Trueman
Publisher: Crossway (2012)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Crossway book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Dave Jenkins is happily married to Sarah Jenkins. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021) and The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.