Vol 1 No. 16 Creeds

We have a great deal to be thankful for as Baptists as we have (by and large) been the historical advocates for the religious tolerance, separation of church and state and the biblical “marriage” between social justice and evangelism. One of the distinctives that many are most enamoured with is that we are not a “creedal” church.

Creeds are simply statements of faith drawn from the church’s historical interpretation of essential theological and biblical foundations. Not all creeds are created equal. Some were created for political reasons. Some were crafted along specific theological and doctrinal lines so as to “skew” the intent of the biblical writers.

There are advantages and disadvantages to creeds. When they were used as de facto oaths of allegiance to a secular or ecclesiastical power they were wrong. When creeds or, in a broader format, statements of faith are used as a religious or cultural tool of coercion they are equally wrong. We are all too familiar with these problems and more. We are also deeply concerned as Baptists to be able to make personal discernments and choices as the scripture and the Spirit lead. That traditional will continue in the Baptist Union.

All these concerns are legitimate within a particular historical and cultural framework. We have several contemporary dilemmas however. There is within the Christian church context in Canada a theological left which can tend towards believing very little of the historical and biblical faith and a theological right that can tend towards legalism and a refutation of God given analytical gifts. On the other hand we have a culture which denies pluralism (the right of all to believe side by side without interference or ridicule) and embraces syncretism (which puts all beliefs in a blender and declares the resulting goop a victory for taste but reduces every belief to the same value).

A statement of faith is something that can be an affirmation of belief in an age of unbelief, and syncretism. It does not need to be coercive (comply or else you are not one of us), but needs to honour the Lord by contributing to worship and community. A statement of faith, prayerfully crafted and discussed can be an affirming declaration to newcomers about who we are in Christ…united, worshiping, welcoming and at one with other Christians.

The current statement of faith in circulation that has been approved by the Baptist Union for use at Carey Hall is the one that some use as our reference point. There is a tradition that the academy-seminary is the creator and repository for such documents and the Union is part of that tradition. I have initiated a discussion with several circles of leadership in the Union so that we might work on a statement of faith. I have outlined the historical problems with such issues. I have tried to explain why we need to explore such a statement. This is an era which is in need of orthodoxy, clarity, community, and worship not coercion, triumphalism, and rote.

Please find three statements of faith’s or creeds attached. Let’s discuss freely, think through and arrive at some consensus in the months ahead. I look forward to hearing from many of you.

Let’s find new ways to express faith together apart from the clutter around us; a dynamic, historical and compelling faith for this day and for the years to come.



In Christ,

Jeremy Bell


The Apostles Creed

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, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hades; the third day He rose again form the dead’ He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick 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

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible:

And in on Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made;

Who for us men and for out salvation came down from heaven,

and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man, and crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate;

He suffered and was buried, and the third day He rose again

according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven,

and sitteth on the right hand of the Father:

And He shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead;

Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in one catholic and apostolic church; I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

 Carey Hall Statement of Faith

We accept wholeheartedly the revelation of God given in the scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments and confess the faith therein set forth. We here explicitly assert the doctrine which we regard as crucial to the understanding and proclamation of the Gospel and to practical Christian living:

1. The Sovereignty, love, and grace of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in creation, providence, revelation, redemption and final judgment.

2. The divine inspiration of Holy Scripture and its entire trustworthiness and supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.

3. The value of each human being as created by God. The universal sinfulness of humankind since the fall, which alienates all from God and subjects all to condemnation.

4. The full deity and humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, whose substitutionary sacrifice is the sole ground of redemption from guilt, penalty and power of sin.

5. The justification of the sinner by the grace of God through faith alone in Christ crucified and risen from the dead.

6. The illuminating, regenerating, indwelling and sanctifying work of God, the Holy Spirit, in the believer.

7. The church as set forth in the New Testament and understood historically by the Baptist community.

8. The expectation of the personal, visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ, our participation in the resurrection, and the hope of eternal life.