Thursday, April 1, 2010

Michael Horton on the relationship between deeds and creeds

In a larger post written about Rick Warren, Michael Horton makes a very helpful statement that suggests a balance between deeds and creeds. I peruse various blogs and am astounded by how much time certain bloggers (who are pastors or seminary professors) spend blogging about creeds (doctrinal matters) and posting on other blogs debating endlessly. How on earth do they have time to minister to their flock's regular needs, tend to various church ministries, prepare sermons, and nurture their families? Seems weird and imbalanced to me. Some people seem to make a hobby out of theology rather than seek ways to live it out. The other extreme is ignoring doctrine in the name of "ministry". The idea of "deeds" not "creeds" is also imbalanced and dangerous. Horton challenges us to consider a necessary balance-

Long ago, the evangelist D. L. Moody responded to criticisms of his message and pragmatic methods with the quip, “I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.” We can be so proud of getting the gospel right while we don’t bother to get the gospel out to those who need it. Furthermore, we can be self-confident in our theological integrity while ignoring the Word of God when it impinges on questions of social concern. Yet the answer is not “deeds over creeds,” but to be re-introduced to the creeds that generate the deeds that are the fruit of genuine faith. Getting the gospel right and getting the gospel out, as well as loving and serving our neighbors, comprise the callings of the church and of Christians in the world. However, confusing these is always disastrous for our message and mission.


Zach said...

How true. Those are wise words. Always a difficult balance to strike. Thanks for sharing.

Swilliams said...

I have thought for a long time that the Christian religions have lost the simple wisdom of the two great commandments. They summarize the whole thing for me and are my guiding principles. So easy to understand and to follow.

Woody Woodward said...

I am currently reading Lyle Dorsett’s great book on D.L. Moody called “A Passion for Souls.” One of the things that has spoken to me very loudly, is Moody’s unrelenting passion to reach the poor dirty street children living on the Chicago streets in the 1850’s. He cared not for his own safety nor the fact that the “religious folks” called him “crazy Moody”! He saw a need and was obedient to his call. His lack of formal education and disregard for religious creeds, seem to only fuel his passion to reach those whom no one else would dare to reach. Without a passion for souls, debates, PHD’s, seminary degrees and legalistic creeds are merely wood hey and stubble. May the Lord grant me continued passion to be obedient unto what He has called me to do, and may I never cease to reach out to those whom He has called to hear and to know the Good News!