The Free Church Is Free For A Reason….Or Why We Don’t Do Creeds

I’m fascinated to hear Free Church people start to question as to whether creeds are good or not.

Whether they are good or not, I’ve never heard of a free church that does a creed. Now I know that some churches that are part of the UCC will recite one or the other of the creeds, but that goes back to what that congregation was prior to merger (ah…US Church History is really interesting).

But, dear friends, the Free Church is free for a reason. Aside from being congregational in polity which is the most fundamental of precepts, the Free Church is all about freedom of conscience, totally antithetical to creedal churches. And yes, I know that there is plenty of dissent in creedal churches, but (most of) those churches do not encourage it. That’s why creeds are bad; they assume that humans are static. And the last thing we are is static.

More later.

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4 thoughts on “The Free Church Is Free For A Reason….Or Why We Don’t Do Creeds

  1. “Free church” has developed multiple meanings–the historical “free” was a freedom from pew rentals. But one only has to look to the words of James Luther Adams (#592 in the current hymnal, I believe) to see that “free church” unmoored from merely referring to pew rentals quite a long time ago and has taken on far more profound meanings.

    “I call that church free which in charity promotes freedom in fellowship, seeking unity in diversity…which responds in responsibility to the Spirit that bloweth where it listeth, …that is open to insight and conscience from every source.”

    Nuthin’ ’bout no pew rentals there. Or even free will offerings.

    In the end, creeds make the attempt to enshrine the understanding of one person, one group, one time, and to impose it for all time on all others. The idea expressed as “revelation is not sealed” is inherently a fatal wound to creeds. That which MUST remain open to alteration cannot, in the end, be a creed.

  2. I know what you mean Ogre…. and I’ve recited #592.. but there are more than a few Evangelical Free Churches about me. They sure have their creeds.

    I’d take exeption to another point here to this,

    That’s why creeds are bad; they assume that humans are static. And the last thing we are is static

    I think there are universal truths that are unchanging over time. I think that goes to the core of Liberalism. That these are truths that can be ascertained logically too.

    The problem is not that the truths change, but that we’re ill equipped to always fully comprehend them, or apply them, and even if we could, one of those truths is the inherent worth of every soul… even those who can get the truth badly botched.

  3. i.e the point above is not that creeds impose something that should be allowed to change…

    …it’s just our ability to get at that truth is limited, and even if perfect, there is the injustice of imposing it.

    We’re all on our own paths.

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