March 02, 2006

Book Review: Credo by Ray Pritchard

Christianity is a confessional faith. Even those who proudly proclaim "No creed but Christ" are, in fact, living by a creed of sorts. After all, "because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved." (Romans 10:9-10, ESV) Confession is as important to our belief.

Throughout history, the Church has put together documents that set forth essential Christian beliefs. These creeds are important parts of our history, because we can see how people thought about the Bible, and how important doctrines were formulated and defended based on Scripture.

There is a part of Protestant Christianity that doesn't like creeds -- "too Roman" they say. This is a book that I'd like to get every single person who thinks that, because it will change their minds. In this book, Ray Pritchard goes to great lengths to show that the Apostles' Creed is based solidly on the Bible, and that it is as relevent for us today as it was to the Christians in the 3rd century when it was written.

The book is not a church history text, nor is it a theological treatise. In fact, it reads like a sermon series (which it is most likely based on, as Pritchard mentions in the book that he has preached through the Apostles' Creed before).

He starts off with a great chapter on how the Apostles' Creed came to be, and why it is so important. This is an important starting point, since many evangelicals have abandoned the ancient creeds in favor of something more "relevent" or "modern." Pritchard does a good job in establishing exactly why a look at the Apostles' Creed can be valuable to the church today.

Then he takes us through the creed, phrase by phrase. This is an outstanding way to lay the book out, and I think that as pastors read this, they'll be taking notes and making outlines -- I know I was.

The only weak point in the book was chapter 10, covering "He descended into Hell ...". I've always thought that this part of the creed was a later addition, and that it lacked Biblical support. Pritchard makes a good case for its inclusion, and shows how to teach this part of the creed, but I'm not sure the case is made for it's inclusion in the creed to begin with.

Credo is an outstanding book. At a time when Christians are increasingly ignorant of what they believe, and why they believe it, more people need to read this book. The essentials of Biblical Christianity are in the Apostles' Creed for everyone to read. And believe.

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 10:15 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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