Our first credos in 1st-6th grades are from the Westminster Shorter Catechism. (There’s a story below referencing last week’s credo.) This week is: What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him? Answer.: The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.
Some wonder, do we really need creeds and confessions? Isn’t the Bible enough? Though that first appears a compelling response, the difficulty is that by not committing beliefs to a written form open to scrutiny and correction, Christians may actually be more susceptible to man’s tradition or teaching that is false. The historic confessions, such as the Heidelberg Catechism, the Canons of Dort, etc. highlight key doctrines, link us to Christians of the past, rope off what pertains to church authority and what does not, and aid in instruction.
Reading, studying, and even reciting worthy confessions can help us be more firmly rooted in our faith and force us out of holding contradictory beliefs or wishy-washy stands. This is not to produce spiritual prigs, but to help form humble yet confident Christians.
Here is a story written in 1909:
“We have the following bits of personal experience from a general officer of the United States Army. He was in a great western city at the time of intense excitement and violent rioting. The streets were over-run daily by a dangerous crowd. One day he observed approaching him a man of singularly combined calmness and firmness of mien, whose very demeanor inspired confidence. So impressed was he with his bearing amid the surrounding uproar that when he had passed he turned to look back at him, only to find that the stranger had done the same. On observing his turning the stranger at once came back to him, and….demanded without preface, “What is the chief end of man? On receiving the countersign, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever” – “Ah! said he, “I knew you were a Shorter Catechism boy by your looks!” “Why, that was just what I was thinking of you,” was the rejoinder.”
The author added, “It is worthwhile to be a Shorter Catechism boy. They grow to be men. And better than that, they are exceedingly apt to grow to be men of God.”
Word from the Headmaster