The Worship Quote of the Week for (10/21/2008):

Believing and Confessing
How does a local church or a group of churches remain faithful to God's revealed Word? How do they have confidence "to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints"? (Jude 1:3). Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE addresses the question of confessional statements and creedal affirmations--believing and confessing. The author is theologian Jaroslav Pelikan.

Creeds and confessions of faith have their origin in a two-fold Christian imperative, to believe and to confess what one believes. The term CREED comes from the first, the term CONFESSION OF FAITH from the second. "Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, 'I believe, and so I spoke,'" the apostle Paul quotes the words of the psalmist to explain to the Corinthians, "we too believe, and so we speak" (2 Cor. 4:13; Ps. 116:10). The English word CREED is derived from CREDO, which is the first person singular of the Latin verb for "I believe" and is the first word in the Latin text of THE NICENO-CONSTANTINOPOLITAN CREED and THE APOSTLES' CREED. Nevertheless, it signifies not only the isolated act or state of believing (which is never, of course, an isolated state or act at all) but, more specifically, the personal and the collective act of believing in combination with the personal and the collective act of confessing the faith that is believed. It is also the apostle Paul, who definitely sets down in his Epistle to the Romans, perhaps quoting an already existing Christian precreedal formula, the close correlation between these two acts of believing and confessing (with the classical literary figure of the chiasm applied to the ordering of the two terms): "If you CONFESS with your lips that Jesus is Lord and BELIEVE in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man BELIEVES with his heart and so is justified, and CONFESSES with his lips and so is saved" (Rom. 10:9-10).

The confessions and the teachers of many traditions draw on these words of Paul in Romans to explain the meaning both of faith and of confession, as well as the relation between the two. [The author then proceeds to trace how "believing" and "confessing" go hand-in-hand throughout the historic confessional statements of various groups of believers.]

--Jaroslav Pelikan, CREDO: HISTORICAL AND THEOLOGICAL GUIDE TO CREEDS AND CONFESSIONS OF FAITH IN THE CHRISTIAN TRADITION. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003, pp. 35-36. ISBN-13: 978-0-300-10974-0.

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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