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"An Ancient Tool to Explore and Explain the Faith"
As I mentioned last week, I begin a new sermon series September 10 to help you and your seeking friends understand Christian basics, and I’m giving away a copy of my new book to everyone who attends (one per household, please).
The sermon series and the book are organized around the Apostles’ Creed. I will explain this to the rest of the church when I launch the series; but since you are a leadership-partner with me, I wanted you to know a little about the series in advance.
If you were raised in a Baptist church like I was, it’s unlikely you have ever recited the Apostles’ Creed in a church service. However, millions of believers around the world and down through the centuries have recited it every week:
Here we have a summary of Christian belief. It’s not called the Apostles’ Creed because the Apostles wrote it but because it summarizes what we find in the Apostles’ inspired writings—the Bible. Every line in the Creed can be defended by reference to apostolic Scripture.
The Creed has a rich history in Baptist life. When the Baptist World Alliance was formed in 1905, participants convened their first meeting by reciting the statement of faith. Southern Baptists have parted ways with the BWA, but the Alliance’s decision to convene their 2005 centennial anniversary with the Creed met with hearty approval by Southern Baptist leaders. Furthermore, the 1994 Southern Baptist Founders Conference included a session on the benefits of the Apostles’ Creed in a church’s teaching ministry.
So, the Creed is not entirely foreign to Baptists. And I’m not the first to see the benefits of the ancient statement as a training tool for believers. When John Calvin wrote his 1536 Institutes of the Christian Religion, which is still in use by pastors and professors today, he used the articles of the Apostles’ Creed as the outline for his work.
In addition to helping believers understand key Christian concepts, however, I’ve found that I can use the Creed in my work with people on a spiritual search. Many people who visit a church have little background in church attendance or Bible study. They are drawn in by a crisis or by a friendship, and they are respectful and curious about what we believe. My course through the Apostles’ Creed will give them an overview of our beliefs.
What is it about these 1800-year-old words that resonate with both believers and seekers today?
So, I hope you are already praying for this series. According to Acts 2:42, one of the characteristics of the early church was that “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.” We need to devote ourselves to the apostles’ scriptural teaching, too. The Apostles’ Creed is an ancient tool to help us accomplish this. When we boldly assert what we believe, Christians will grow and seekers will find what they’re looking for. Isn’t that what church is supposed to be all about?
We will begin giving away the books on the Sunday the series begins, September 10. The free book isn’t just for members. Anyone who attends Hillcrest any week during the series can get a copy.
Keep in mind we want to limit the offer to one free book per household. If you want copies for friends or relatives who cannot attend the series, we will have these available for $13 each. You can also order copies online. Sorry: we cannot ship copies from our church office.
As I mentioned last week, a generous donor has made it possible for me to give these books away for free, so no budget monies will be used for it. In addition, I gain no financial profit from giving away my books.
Please be in prayer as we approach this series, and be thinking about someone you should bring with you!
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