There are three creeds that Christians of the past wrote to try to sum up essential Christian beliefs, and draw a line about what is true Christianity and what is not.
While these creeds came at a somewhat late point in Christian history (the earliest is from maybe the fourth century, and the latest is from about the sixth) most forms of Christianity since the formations of these creeds have more or less found them good descriptions of wholesome Christian viewpoints and they have served as a litmus test of orthodoxy. Yet, it appears that in the last few decades, Christianity has no longer found these creeds to be a good barometer of what beliefs a true Christian should or should not have. But more on that in a moment. For now, here are the three creeds:
Ok, so, I know there are debates raging about hell and universalism that people might bring up to challenge these creeds, but when I talk about the fact that these creeds no longer seem to describe a good litmus test for Christianity, that’s not exactly what I’m thinking about. Rather, I’m considering this:
If you want to be given the right hand of fellowship in most churches, it might be ok to question the nature of hell. That might not get you ostracized from a small group, or turned away from the prayer team, or kept from leading worship. I guess it depends on the church. But, brothers and sisters, here is what must be added to the above creeds to properly represent Christianity, and to know who is safe to work together with for the Kingdom. That is:
1) Everyone must acknowledge that life begins at conception – AND – they must pledge to only vote for pro-life candidates.
2) Everyone must stand against LGBT “marriage.”
3) Everyone must renounce the very use of the word “feminism” and anything that that word could possibly stand for (and it helps to also be ready to admit that any type of feminism is just a step away from lesbianism, as well as an attack on men.)
4) Everyone must believe that the first two chapters of Genesis are completely literal, factual history and do not employ any spiritual allegory nor ancient myth in the prose.
5) Everyone must agree that evolution, or at least “macro” evolution is a lie against God and
6) Everyone must agree that Obama is the most evil president they have ever seen in their lifetime, and
7) Everyone must acknowledge that the United States is a Christian nation built on Christian principles and be praying fervently that it will turn back to God.
These ideas are indeed the real litmus tests of a true believer. Stay away from anyone who won’t wholeheartedly confess to these ideas. In fact – the three ancient creeds above – you don’t even need them. Just skip right to the sacred seven list here and you’ll know who does – and doesn’t – belong in your church and outreach team. THIS my friends is how you can tell who is and isn’t a true Christian, and true follower of Jesus Christ. Get #1 through #7 correct, and you’re in.
It’s a jungle out there – or at least, a sinful generation. So be prepared to test those claiming to be Christians with this list. That way, you can make sure to surround yourself with good company and not be corrupted by the evil influences that have crept into some churches. Stand firm for the gospel! And the faith of these seven things once for all delivered to the saints.
Forever and ever. Amen.
Or not. Look, there are things on the above list that I do believe in, and things I don’t. But that’s not even the point. The point is, how the heck did THESE ideas become how we decide who is a solid believer in Jesus and who isn’t? I’m not saying we shouldn’t debate these things, examine them, and even hold positions on these issues – I have positions on the things above. But I don’t decide who is or isn’t my brother or sister based on their view of, say, Obama (or Bush.) That’s the sort of thing where we’ve lost our way – and where dialogue shuts down and we can’t grow together, because if your very willingness to hear where someone is coming from is based not on whether they bow their knee to Jesus Christ, but on whether they came to the same conclusions that you have about the legality of LGBT marriage, we have a real problem. And no – your stand on these issues isn’t “proof” of whether or not you’re serious about Jesus – that’s just a way not to have to deal with the complexity of the discussions at hand.
Anyway, that’s all I have to say. You get your say in the comments below.