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Baptist Identity

Concerning Creeds

James Braker

Concerning Creeds

By James Braker


Baptists frequently assert they are a "non-creedal" people, i.e. no creed save the Bible ultimately defines or delineates membership. Nevertheless, creeds (from the Latin credo, "I believe") serve a useful function. Here are some observations in verse offered by the late Franklin Elmer, one of the stalwart leaders of the Roger Williams Fellowship written perhaps forty years ago in a dated style but reflecting a robust spiritual openness to a growing faith.


"Let Your Faith Be Larger Than Creed"

Let your faith be larger than Creed
For God is the God of mankind -
Of earth and of planets in space -
While your Creed belongs to a few,
Some others and you.

Lean on your creed
If you must,
For creed is the Creed of mankind.
But the moment it hardens in place
Shed it fast - for a dogma
Is fatal to grace.

The trick is to trust in your God,
Not your Creed,
And grow as God grows
In the mind of mankind -
Creator of Time, and Eternity, too,
And all others, and you.

And here is another contribution:


"Creeds Are Channel Bouys"

Creeds are channel bouys
Marking quiet harbors of belief
Where ships, with captains gone ashore,
Are safely moored,
Protected from the winds of doubt
And running seas of thought
While lackeys swab the decks.

Living Faith sails out beyond the buoys
To set a course through calm and storm
Toward ports far past the range of vision,
Carrying cargoes to keep the commerce of the world
Alive, and homing, bring the riches of the earth
To land-locked souls.

Published in Baptist Freedom  - Winter 2000-01

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