Have you ever recited the Apostle’s Creed? Have you ever felt its truths reverberate throughout your soul? The Apostle’s Creed goes thusly:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty
Maker of heaven and earth
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
And born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Who was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into Hades,
And on the third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
And sits at the right hand of the Father.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The holy catholic church,
The communion of saints,
The forgiveness of sins,
The resurrection of the body,
And the life everlasting. Amen.
This is that body of belief that defines Christianity and undergirds our everyday life. While this is by no means a perfect statement, it is quite the galvanizing one. We, as Christians, may come together under the banner of the Apostolic teaching and link arms in Christian fellowship with one another. When we recite or read this creed, we stand in a long line of Christian tradition and belief that finds its roots in the teachings of the early church.
Flash forward to modern day “Christianity.” I encountered an article on Facebook I thought it prudent to engage. The New York Times ran an article entitled “The Passion of Southern Christians.” It was written by Margaret Renkl. This piece is rather typical of liberal Christianity and the New York Times. The author bemoans conservative sentiment whilst posturing herself, but that isn’t the big story here. The big story is how she defines Christianity. Take a close look at what she says. Take a deep look at the careful use of language. Do you see it? Here are some quotes.
1. By any conceivable definition, the sitting president of the United States is the utter antithesis of Christian values — a misogynist who disdains refugees, persecutes immigrants, condones torture and is energetically working to dismantle the safety net that protects our most vulnerable neighbors.
2. all these intangibles made it easy enough, before the election, to ignore much of what the church gets wrong and concentrate on what it gets right: supporting open immigration, welcoming refugees, opposing capital punishment, housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and the aged and the lonely.
3. But I also believe in resurrection. Every day brings word of a new Trump-inflicted human-rights calamity, and every day a resistance is growing that I would not have imagined possible, a coalition of people on the left and the right who have never before seen themselves as allies. In working together, I hope we’ll end up with something that looks a lot like a Christian nation — not in doctrine but in practice, caring for the least among us and loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Did you catch the pattern? This is the definition people are beginning to assign to the word “Christianity.” Where is the Creator of all things? Where is Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord? His death, burial, and resurrection? I do not tell you this to discourage you. I tell you this to warn you. As Dr. James White is fond of saying, “Theology matters.”
I ask you, as you go out into this day, to test all of the things you hear by the Scriptures (Acts 17:11), never losing sight of the gospel, which Paul sums up in 1 Corinthians 15.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (ESV)
15 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
I urge you, do not forget this gospel today. Preach it to yourself. And then do so again. We are all susceptible to these errors unless we stand firm in the Word of God. Let us not depart from them. I pray for you, my readers. Join me in praying for this poor soul, and for ourselves that we don’t, in like manner, fall into error. Soli Deo Gloria.