Thursday, October 13, 2005

New Christians Class #2

Last night during youth groups I had my second “New Christians” class. I used the Apostolic Creed as the basis of my teaching. I told students that Christ is our foundation but more is needed to build faith. The Apostolic Creed offers twenty “blocks of knowledge.” These truths are universally accepted in nearly all corners of Christendom. Yet despite the universal acceptance of these truths I am very aware I have opened myself to criticism by using a “creed.” One of the fundamental teachings of my church tradition is no creed is needed other than Christ. “No creed but Christ” sounds very convincing but I doubt if it has any significance to a new believer. Besides, by the time you flesh out “no creed but Christ” you essentially have an official creed on your hands.

I started the group discussion with my favorite story on baptism, Philp and the Eunice. Then we split up twenty scripture verses between eight students. Surprisingly, none of the students had a problem looking them up in the Bible (which will not happen every time). Then we went through the twenty points of the creed as students read the scripture that backed them up. I had hoped than after going through the creed, students would respond by saying like the Eunice, “Look there is water. Why can’t I be baptized?”

We flew through the creed in less than 25 minutes then I closed by watching a live performance of Rich Mullins playing the song “Creed” on DVD. Our time went by very fast. Too fast. I didn’t give students an opportunity to think about what they were learning. The best thing I did, however, was create a hand out of the creed with a scripture reference for students to take home. I challenged them to put it somewhere they would see it every day, read it out loud twice a day, and to look up the scriptures listed if they had time. If any fruit comes from the use of the creed it will be through the daily repetition as students make the effort to grow in their faith.

When I made the decision to use the creed, a thought came to me that would appear to have contradicted a statement I wrote on Oct. 6, 2005; “The five finger exercise, in all practical purposes, is a check list to agree with before being baptized.” It would appear that by introducing the Apostolic Creed, I generated a check list of twenty items that are to be agreed upon with before a believer's baptism. Did I make matters four times worse? Time will tell. But for now, I think the Apostolic Creed can help build more faith in God, Christ, the Spirit, the Bible, and the Church than the “five finger exercise.”

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