I pray that you are an advocate of Jude’s idea that there was a faith once delivered to the saints.
I also pray that you want that very faith to become so much the center of your confession that you will not bypass the Apostles’ Creed, saying, “No, thanks. I have written my own more reasonable doctrine.”
For those who want to be sure the exact teachings of Christ never die, it seems to me to demand this confession: Behind the historical church, there is a great body of nonnegotiables.
To privatize your creed is to confess you are syncretizing your way into a gnostic conversation; you’ve snuggled into a Procrustean bed.
Remember Procrustes? He was the Greek host who always kept a bed, affording hospitality to his guests. But for Procrustes, he had a bed of only one size. So if his guests were too short for his bed, he put them on the rack and stretched them out to fit it. If they were too tall, he chopped them off to fit it. He tailored his guests to fit the bed.
Let us label the myth. The bed is privatized doctrine. The guests are searchers after amendment to Jude’s faith once delivered. Once the guest has agreed to spend the night, he has joined a new kind of conformity. He is deconstructed and made ready for a new kind of congeniality. He does not believe quite as much, but he fits into the meandering borders of faith a lot better.
I have chosen. You must too.
Confess what the centuries have labeled the historical faith, or, well … follow the crowd of those “new kind of Christians” who arrive at the old kind of nothing yet still believe themselves faithful.
- Calvin Miller, from Letters to a Young Pastor
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