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Creeds - Chorlton Central Church

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The Bible nowhere contains a complete and systematic statement of what Christians believe - it describes the lived experience of faith. The earliest statement of belief appears to have been the simple phrase 'Jesus is Lord'. Within perhaps seven to ten years of Jesus' death, according to some scholars, a slightly fuller statement of Christian belief had developed, and can be found in the apostle Paul's first letter to the Church at Corinth;

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve."

Church administrators have often wished to define the Christian faith in terms that allow them to determine who is 'inside' and who is 'outside'. The so-called Apostles' Creed dates from about 710 to 714 AD, though it may include earlier statements of belief. However many Christians would argue that using a creed to exclude people who disagree with the 'official' formulation of the faith is directly opposed to the teaching of Jesus, and would join with the Mennonite pastor Hugh Hollowell that :

'Every time we use religion to draw a line to keep people out, Jesus is with the people on the other side of the line'.

By way of redress, we include below an 'Immigrant's Creed', loosely based on the structure of the Apostles' Creed but drawing attention to the inclusive nature of the Christian Faith:
I believe in Almighty God,
who guided the people in exile and in exodus,
the God of Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon,
the God of foreigners and immigrants.

I believe in Jesus Christ, a displaced Galilean,
who was born away from his people and his home, who fled
his country with his parents when his life was in danger.
When he returned to his own country he suffered under the oppression of Pontius Pilate, the servant of a foreign power. Jesus was persecuted, beaten, tortured, and unjustly condemned to death.
But on the third day Jesus rose from the dead,
not as a scorned foreigner but to offer us citizenship in God’s kingdom.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the eternal immigrant from God’s kingdom among us,
who speaks all languages, lives in all countries,
and reunites all races.

I believe that the Church is the secure home
for foreigners and for all believers.

I believe that the communion of saints begins
when we embrace all God’s people in all their diversity.

I believe in forgiveness, which makes us all equal before God,
and in reconciliation, which heals our brokenness.

I believe that in the Resurrection
God will unite us as one people
in which all are distinct and all are alike at the same time.

I believe in life eternal, in which no one will be foreigner
but all will be citizens of the kingdom
where God reigns forever and ever. Amen.

© Jose Luis Caval,
Tres Rios Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church USA
To read what the Baptist Union and the United Reformed Church say about their beliefs follow this link.

To read a selection of historic formulations of Christian Belief follow this link
revised 13 Sept 2018
An Open and Inclusive Baptist & URC Church
in South Manchester, UK
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