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A.W. Tozer on the necessity of creed

AMONG CERTAIN CHRISTIANS it has become quite the fashion to cry down creed and cry up experience as the only true test of Christianity. The expression “Not creed, but Christ” (taken, I believe, from a poem by John Oxenham) has been widely accepted as the very voice of truth and given a place alongside of the writings of prophets and apostles.

When I first heard the words they sounded good. One got from them the idea that the advocates of the no-creed creed had found a precious secret that the rest of us had missed; that they had managed to cut right through the verbiage of historic Christianity and come direct to Christ without bothering about doctrine. And the words appeared to honor our Lord more perfectly by focusing attention upon Him alone and not upon mere words. But is this true? I think not. ...

While we may worship (and thousands of Christians do) without the use of any formal creed, it is impossible to worship acceptably without some knowledge of the One we seek to worship. And that knowledge is our creed whether it is ever formalized or not. It is not enough to say that we may have a mystical or numinous experience of God without any doctrinal knowledge and that is sufficient. No, it is not sufficient. We must worship in truth as well as in spirit; and truth can be stated and when it is stated it becomes creed.

-- from "How Important is Creed?", That Incredible Christian by A.W. Tozer

My own two cents: That essay was published in the early 1960s. And it still seems like I run into lots of professing Christians who carry a disdain for theology, preferring ... I don't know what in its stead.


Abby said…
Yeah, Chesterton also mentioned something like this, in a different way of course.
Sarah E said…
Funny. Obviously Lewis did too (viz: "Mere Christianity", haha.) All of them excellent writers and theologians.
Kathy E said…
Not good to disdain theology. I love that creed song that we sing at church every now & then.
Sarah E said…
I do too, Mom! And Rich Mullins' "Creed" too!

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