By Rufus R. Clifford
If you were to ask a Christian for a copy of the “creed” or “book of rules” of the church of Christ, he could only offer you a copy of the New Testament. The only written creed the church that Christ built has ever had is the New Testament. It was given by the inspiration of God and is sufficient to furnish the man of God unto all good works (2 Tim. 3:16,17). It meets the needs of the whole world (Mk. 16:15). This is the only message we are authorized to use in the conversion of sinners (1 Cor. 9:16; Matt. 28:18-20). Jesus taught that the word of God is enduring and that by it we shall be judged (Lk. 21:33; John 12:48). The authority of Christ as expressed in the New Testament is the only safe guide for the church. It is sinful for the church to submit to any other authority. The gospel is God’s power to save (Rom. 1:16). James says it is able to save (Jas. 1:21). Paul writes that it did save the Corinthians (1 Cor. 15:1,2). The curse of God rests upon the man who preaches another gospel or dares to add to or subtract from it (Gal. 1:8,9; Rev. 22:18,19).
In spite of the plain Bible teaching given above, we find good, religious people subscribing to human creeds. Even those who subscribe to man-made creeds will not claim for them any saving power. They are but the products of human opinion and stand as barriers to the unity of religious people. Man-made creeds are based upon two wicked assumptions: (1) The New Testament is not sufficient to meet the needs and govern the people of God. (2) This supposed insufficiency can be remedied by weak, fallible, erring men. Without such assumptions there is no excuse for the making of human creeds.
Human creeds are objectionable for a number of reasons. (1) They are not inspired of God. (2) They do not meet the needs of the whole world. (3) They are not perfect. (4) They must be revised every few years. (5) We shall not be judged by them. (6) They set aside and make void the Word of God. (7) They teach many things contrary to the New Testament. (8) They keep people divided on the question of religion. They should, therefore, be laid aside forever, or better still burned and forgotten. As long as a single one of them is in force anywhere, division will exist. They are subversive of divine authority and of the peace, unity, and fellowship that should characterize those who desire to please God and go to heaven.
As simple Christians we take the authority of Christ as expressed in the New Testament as our only rule of faith and practice. It is the one creed that needs no revision. We invite all people to meet with us on the New Testament in order that we may be united in work and worship.
Truth Magazine XIX: 50, p. 791
October 30, 1975