Experience is a great teacher, isn’t it? I’m going to try my hand at fishing for the first time this summer when I visit Minnesota, and thanks to Pastor Sean’s story about the anchor that got away, you can be sure I will check to see that our boat’s anchor is attached before we toss it in the water!
Experience is also what taught the early church fathers the value of having a creed of Christian beliefs in writing. The Gnostics, early in the second century, believed (among other things) that knowledge trumped faith and matter was evil. These beliefs infiltrated the church, dividing Christians and usurping the truth of the gospel. One of these teachings included the idea that Jesus “was not incarnate in human flesh because the absolute God would not enter evil matter – Christ only seemed or appeared to be a human person, but He was not” (Holman Illustrated Dictionary).
Division in the church is certainly nothing new. But neither is it acceptable, especially as it concerns the basic beliefs of Christianity. That’s where the Apostles’ Creed is a life-saving anchor. The beliefs we profess in the creed hold us securely to the truth when all around us the storms of relativism are swirling.
Christianity in the West is under attack, no doubt. On one hand we have many other religions, the New Atheists and the “nones” (as in religious preference – none), including those who have dropped out of church participation. On the other hand, we have apathy and confusion about matters of faith. We live in a day when our hearts and minds are bombarded with a plethora of theories and teachings. Some even contain a measure of truth! The gift of discernment is crucial, along with knowing what God’s Word – the Bible – actually says.
Experience tells me that any of us can be shaken and uncertain about our faith at any point in our journey. But with an anchor like the Apostles’ Creed set soundly in our minds and hearts, we can keep walking through those times of testing, confident that we are moored to the One who is unshakable.