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3 Historic Standards
A Sturdy Foundation
Christianity wasn’t invented yesterday, and the church is much larger than one denomination or nationality. These three standards—the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments—have been used as a sturdy foundation for discipleship and doctrine for nearly two thousand years. If they were essential for the early generation of believers, shouldn’t they be important for us as well? Why should we reinvent the wheel?
I suspect we do because of our obsession with the new. We live in a culture of change where we value everything new. We tend to focus on the “now” or the “moment” at the expense of the eternal. But just because something is new doesn’t mean it is better. Likewise, just because something is old doesn’t mean it is useless and outdated.
The Historical Amnesia of Today
Many contemporary Christians have historical amnesia and are missing vital aspects of the faith that are necessary for spiritual growth and maturity. Our lack of historic awareness can be remedied by revisiting the roots of the faith that have nourished believers since the time of Christ. Christians, such as you and me, are beginning to rediscover that church history has much to teach us about discipleship.
We live in a culture of change where we value everything new. We tend to focus on the “now” or the “moment” at the expense of the “eternal.”
These three standards provide a simple and clear outline of the essentials of the faith that is universal for all Christians, regardless of denomination or affiliation. Sadly, most Christians get sidetracked over secondary issues rather than focusing on essentials. This is what C. S. Lewis had in mind when he wrote Mere Christianity: “To explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times.” Similarly, G. K. Chesterton said the Apostles’ Creed was “understood by everybody calling himself Christian until a very short time ago.”
Doctrinal, Ethical, & Spiritual
The Christian faith has multiple dimensions. Each of these historic standards addresses important dimensions of the Christian life that are profoundly interrelated. The Apostles’ Creed addresses the doctrinal foundation, the Ten Commandments address the ethical foundation, and the Lord’s Prayer addresses the spiritual foundation. When the doctrinal, ethical, and spiritual dimensions are woven together, they offer us a balanced model for the Christian life. These three summarize the heart of Christianity and offer us a glimpse of the Christian faith as a whole.
Acts 29 pastor and Resurgence contributor Winfield Bevins has written an upcoming book called Creed: Connect to the Basic Essentials of the Christian Faith. Creed ties the needs of the changing, current culture to the historic faith of the church by providing the essentials of the faith in an easy-to-understand format. This pocket guidebook can be used as a discipleship tool to equip young believers or as a refresher for seasoned Christians. For more info, head to the book's website.
Pastor Winfield also has two free e-books
available on the Resurgence: