6/8/14 Gustavo mid 30's
I am learning to appreciate the ancient creeds of our faith. In our zeal to get back to the Bible and get away from man-made traditions that often distract us from God’s Word, I think maybe we have forgotten how big the Bible really is and how easy it is for different people to misinterpret it. The creeds have historically been used to help us avoid the different heresies that both Jesus and Paul warned us would arise. Yesterday I reached out to Gustavo, in his 30’s, whom I found “getting his head together” in the beauty of a Chicago park, overlooking a fishing pond. Gustavo told me of his childhood background in the Catholic Church, his drifting away into selfish drinking and drugs, his many encounters with demonic spirits, and his return over the past ten years or so to a right relationship with God in spite of the negative influence of many friends against going in that direction. From time to time he has prayed that God would bring him to a church or group that could help him follow God, and each time he did this he received a fresh round of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormon’s knocking at his door. He has always rejected their false teachings, but since he doesn’t really read the Bible much he has not been quite sure why. As we talked I really came to believe that it is the basics of the Christian faith – probably instilled in him as a child in the form of the creeds which would have been recited regularly in his Catholic Church – that have kept him from falling for their heresies. We talked about the nature of their false teachings as I explained the basic truths of the Gospel. Gustavo was in total agreement with these truths, and I attribute this to the positive influence of creeds that summarize basic Christian doctrine, like the Nicene Creed which I will copy here as follows:
“We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.