A creed, or statement of faith, or confession of faith, is a statement of beliefs shared by a religious community. Christian examples include the Nicene Creed, the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith, and the Westminster Confession of Faith. Individual Christians may also have their own creeds. It is not that long ago that I had one.
Creeds are useful in religion in the same way that Newton’s Laws of Motion are useful in physics. They are handy reminders of the fundamentals of a particular field. Just as a physicist doesn’t have to derive the fundamental laws of mechanics every time he works on a new problem, so a theologian doesn’t have to derive the fundamentals of his beliefs every time he approaches a new question.
Creeds are also used in a different way. Some Christian communities require all members to adhere to or subscribe to a particular creed. That is something that I am uncomfortable with, particularly when there is a long and detailed creed that can be used in witch hunts for heretics.
The important question for me is What was Christ’s creed? What did Jesus put in his statement of faith? The simple answer is we don’t know. It isn’t recorded anywhere. If he did tell his disciples what the fifteen key points of Christianity were, none of the New Testament writers bothered to write it down. That speaks volumes to me. If Christ had shared his personal creed with anyone then that would have been so important, so significant, that someone would surely have made a record of it.
In my opinion the closest that Christ got to making a creed-like statement is in Matthew 22:37-40
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
That is all the creed I need.