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Are Creeds and Confessions Just Traditionalism In Disguise?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
September 10, 2020 1:00 am

Are Creeds and Confessions Just Traditionalism In Disguise?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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September 10, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 529 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

1. Could you explain what Jesus means in Matthew 18:18 when he says, “whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”?

2. How do I position a conversation regarding someone who is an atheist or a Buddhist about Jesus, without them getting upset with me? And how do I do so effectively in such a short amount of time?

3. My wife and I haven’t been able to conceive, and we are thinking about pursuing in vitro fertilization. Is this an option for Christians?

4. I’ve heard some Christians defend the use of Creeds and Confessions in the church because they teach orthodox interpretations of Scripture. How is this any different than the Roman Catholic view that elevates Sacred Tradition to the same level as Scripture?

Resources

Bioethics and the Christian Life: A Guide to Making Difficult Decisions by David VanDrunen

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I've heard some Christians defend the use of creeds and confessions in the church. Doesn't this elevate tradition over the Bible. That is one of the questions will be answering on today's addition of core Christianity hi this is Bill Meyer along with pastor Gabriel Sanchez and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day.

You can call us right now with your question. At 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673 and you can email us with your question at questions at core, Christianity.com. So in real I know you're a runner, so I found a story to inspire you. Something really get you going on your running hero who will not is 87 years old and he is the oldest competitor in the championship Ironman competition.

In fact, the Japanese man hopes to continue competing well into his 90s. So two years ago at the age of 85. Mr. and Otto went to Hawaii and he set a new mark for the oldest person to compete in the world championship Ironman course. Now this year's Ironman has been canceled due to the coronavirus, but Mr. Knott is maintaining his grueling training schedule since he plans to return to Hawaii next year.

As you know, the Ironman race is widely considered one of the toughest endurance events in sports requiring athletes to swim 2.4 miles bicycle, 112 miles and then run a full 26.2 mile marathon so atrial.

I think it is time to up your game man. Yeah that would be a significant upping of my game. It was funny when you said Bill I know you're runner to stop. Oh man please don't say that because I really am not a writer, anybody who hears you.

Who knows me would say what I do try to go on meat, especially now with coronavirus and it being everybody's been kinda locked down just trying to get some exercise because that the gems are close but I'm the guy who's out there running and people are probably looking at him thinking yet that guy doesn't know what he's doing instead of hobbling along so but that's a man what a story and there've been a few of these right Bill that you shared these guys were run marathons or you know swimming across the Atlantic well into their 90s. While I will send you some videos of Mr. and Anna to get you inspired. Okay, yeah, or just to make me want to know. Hide in the closet just feel like a failure of some zeros yet that's right, I quit after Willis get to our first question of the day and Morgan posted this on our Instagram account.

Could you explain what Jesus means in Matthew 1818 when he says whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. I'm really glad that you asked this question because it gives me the opportunity to talk about the importance of the church.

This statement comes in the context of Jesus talking about we call church discipline, and that's kind of a scary phrase, but let's let's unpack a little bit.

Let's look at that passage, Matthew chapter 18, I'm to start in verse 15 Jesus said if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you've gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them tell it to the church and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you with two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my father in heaven or where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them Jesus that next week. Earlier this statement, you know, binding and loosing comes up again earlier in the same gospel in Matthew chapter 16 verse 19. This is when Peter confessed Jesus is the Christ. Verse 18 and I tell you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

So get what what in the world is that statement. Meanwhile, one thing I think that we have to understand about this that Jesus had a very high view of the ministry of the church much higher I think than many Christians today have. We basically he says to Peter, and later to the disciples in Matthew chapter 18 art speaking about church discipline. When the church binds something on earth.

It is bound in heaven that how does the church bind and loose what happens to the preaching of God's word through the discipline of the church as the gospel is proclaimed to get this Morgan heaven is being open.

But when people turn from the gospel when they don't repent its being shot to them. And when people in the church continue in sin and that's what Jesus was getting at in Matthew chapter 18 when when you go to your brother, they sinned against you and they continue in their sin and others in the church go to them.

They continue in the in their sin, their hardhearted they're clinging to their unbelief, their sin, whatever it is held, there comes a point where Jesus that you treat them as a tax collector as as a nonbeliever there cut off from the body of Christ. It is church discipline that that's what we refer to as excommunication and essentially we sing is when that happens when they're excommunicated.

It's as if heaven is being shot to them.

We don't realize that what's happening in the ministry of the church.

If facts heaven if you will, binding and loosing us of Jesus, as this very high view of the ministry of the church. I think that's one of the big takeaways from a passage like this where we have to realize it was happening when we gather together for worship to hear the word of God proclaimed to receive the Lord's supper these gifts that Jesus gives to the church as it is. If the kingdom of God is being opened to us and were embracing it were receiving it, but we turn from the Lord. If we continue in unbelief. If we reject the truth with in heaven is being shot and so this is what Jesus is getting at here. He's not saying that you know pastors or ministers have the sort of magical power to open and close heaven or people know it's it's through the ministry of the word as the gospel is being proclaimed heaven is opening up before us and in the life of the church were called to care for the body of Christ.

Think of this for myself as a pastor is an elder of the church. We have to be careful to guard the flock. And when there's an issue in the church an issue of sin of open sin will that's when you go through the process that Jesus describes there in Matthew chapter 18 to address those issues for the sake of the purity of the church and the sake of caring for the sinning brother or sister.

And so Jesus really cares about the church how the church is functioning about the purity of the church and it's so important as Jesus says whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven, whatever we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

What what's taking place in the church relates to even our eternal destiny. So thank you for that question and hope that helps you understand a little bit better. Morgan Benoit Earl is a pastor. Let me ask you, have you ever had to practice significant church discipline and in your congregation will and will a couple of things in a one the discipline of the church doesn't just relate to when someone is excommunicated actually were all participating in quote unquote church discipline in so far as were encouraging each other, exhorting one another, pointing each other to Jesus and that since were all under the discipline of the church and and we should view it positively, not negatively.

Sometimes you think about church discipline. We just boy that just you kinda want to shrink back, but really it's meant to be about the care of souls. Now we have had instances where able have left the church. I think even avoided the process of discipline by by just trying to kinda get away and and in those situations, the church does still need to address those issues in particular. And so yeah I and I would say that our church and just like every church has had to deal with these kinds of things and I think it's a part of what God calls us to as ministers as faithful shepherds not to just let sin go me that is devastating for the church because like the New Testament says sin is like leaven, it will spread to the whole body, but to address it. To deal with it. Sometimes that happens in a very public way and sometimes it's more in a privately this is core Christianity worth pastor Israel Sanchez and if you have a question for us. You can call at any time at 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673 how I conversation and regarding the star of the body without them getting upset with me and with having such a short time to speak with the people. How can I position data Salle that will be effective and smart accent. It's hard to talk to people that don't believe in the Lord and I really want to be able to be of some value to them and my conversation with them about status anti-Semites to help them make them yeah now I can tell that you really want to share your faith with these people and it is difficult especially when you don't have a lot of time and then depending on the environment.

I mean I do know where you are. This is kind of an office space at work or something like that, but sometimes the environment makes it more difficult. The fact you don't have a lot of time. The fact that there's not very much of a relationship. In all those things are kind of contributing factors, but ultimately here's the thing. It's the Holy Spirit that opens people's hearts. Now they need to hear the gospel, the word but II think your confidence has to be in the word in the Spirit and not in your own abilities per se. And that's what you have to pray turn to the Lord and say God give me an opportunity open the door for me to be able to share what I believe about you and I think that God that's afraid that he will answer. I mean, it's amazing. This is one of the purse at the disciples pray over and over throughout the book of acts are praying for boldness to praying for an opportunity. Paul says pray for me. You know that that an open door might be given to me to preach the gospel. America pray for that. Pray that the Lord gives you an opportunity and that God opens the hearts of the people that are around you that you want to share the faith with and so the first thing I would say is pray. Secondly, you know, when you do get into a conversation as the opportunity arises. Focus on the gospel on who Jesus is.

You know, we sometimes think that the best approach is that this kind share our personal story.

I think that can be helpful in terms of getting a conversation started. Note while I'm a Christian. This is how Jesus is changed my life, but especially in our postmodern world where religion is viewed as a matter of personal preference and and religious belief isn't really true or false. If you like whatever you like. When we share our story is just our story. Oftentimes the way people will respond is by saying that's great for you. I have my own story to so I think we have the focus America on the fact that it isn't just my story or this other person story is history. It's the fact that Jesus came to earth, died, rose again from the dead. Objectively he rose again and commands all people everywhere to repent that there's this hope that the world can have in the work of Jesus Christ and what he's accomplished and so it's not just my story or your story. It's the story of God that affects every single person regardless of what they believe or what they think they can be a Buddhist. They can be an atheist. The fact of the matter is, God commands all people everywhere to repent and to place their faith in his son Jesus Christ. I recognize again that starting that conversation can be kind of awkward.

I think the best approach is you get to know people so that there's a context into which you can have these conversations don't just treat people like a project. I think that's really important. Don't view them, just as the project genuinely love them take interest in them get to know them and as you do that, I think you'll find that there are more opportunities to begin to talk about the things that are important your life, your family, your faith know Peter said in first Peter chapter 3 verse 15 in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asked you for a reason for the hope that is in you yet do it with gentleness and respect that you want to have. You want to have gentleness want to have respect and what's interesting about that text is Peter assumes that the people around you can see, you can see your life.

They see how you respond to suffering. They see the hope that you have in Jesus. And that's what prompts of to say what gives what is the reason for the hope that is in you will, there's a relationship varies in the context of a relationship and so pursue that relationship with these people don't just treat them as projects and pray for opportunities to get to share the love of Christ with them and I trust that the Lord will give you those opportunities. May the Lord give you boldness as he does. This is core Christianity, where we answer the questions that you have about the Bible and the Christian faith and we have an amazing team of people behind us producing the show, they write the core articles for the website they produce our core Bible studies. These are the resources that are helping you and other believers more fully understand the gospel and have the confidence to share your faith like we were sharing with America and as you can imagine, this requires a lot of different people to come alongside us and support this work, we can't do it without your prayers and your financial support, and that's where were asking you to come alongside us and become a regular supporter of core Christianity with a monthly donation of $25 or more, you can join what we call the inner core and be part of the team that makes this show possible just head over to core Christianity.com/inner core. To learn more or give us a call at 833 the court. That's 833-843-2673 let's get to another question a drill.

This came in from Samuel, who sent us an email and said my wife and I haven't been able to conceive and were thinking about pursuing in vitro fertilization.

Is this an option for Christians, but we pray first bill I'd like to pray for Samuel and for the person listening right now to may be there and in the same place as Samuel had been wanting to conceive but haven't been able to, let's pray for them, gracious father, we thank you Lord that you are the God of heaven and earth that you know all things that there is nothing that surprises you that you're in control, that we can trust in you, and yet Lord, we know that there are difficult things that we we often face I know that this is is one of the most difficult things for many couples, and I think a Samuel right now and pray for him and for those listening for the one listening right now who who is in the same place who longs to have a child but is unable to conceive gracious father, would you first grant them your comfort.

Give them a sense of your presence.

Lord, a sense of your love how easy it is for us to think that you don't love us that you are withholding good things from us things that we long for. That will help them not to fall into that trap truly know and believe your goodness your love. Give them Lord courage give them contentment and and we do pray Lord that you would in your mercy, grant them children. We look to the Lord.

We trust in you and we thank you for your love for us in your son Jesus, whose name we pray. Amen Samuel II think that the answer to your question can Christian couples marry who'd been having it difficulty in trying to conceive again they pursue IVF. In vitro fertilization is not an option for us to think the answer is yes, but with some reservations. I mean I was a this is the wisdom issue and from what I've read, there's there's a high cost associated with this as well as a lower success rate and I think that's going to way into the wisdom piece part of the question here is no ethically speaking whether or not a human embryo is a life and I believe that it is. I think that this is the Christian view. This is why we believe that abortion is so heinous why we pray against it. Why we speak out against it when a sperm and egg meet. You have a human life and in IVF. Often there are several embryos that are taken to try to increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy and some of those embryos might be frozen usually around four are used and if all four implant.

Some of them can be were often times are aborted. But we have to avoid that the IVF is is a valid option for believers, but I think you have to still go through the procedure in a way that recognizes the dignity of each human life of each embryo. Nope. Psalm 139 verse 13 says for you formed my inward parts you needed me together in my mother's womb, so maybe that looks like instead of taking all these embryos and freezing them in and not using them, or that kind of thing maybe working to go through IVF but were going to try to implant two as opposed to four so that we we know were not losing any or mishandling. I just think we have to treat life in this process just like in everything as sacred and I know that you believe that life is sacred.

Samuel you long for children so I yes I do think that this is a valid option.

I do think there's going to be, you know, the question of wisdom and just the ability to be able to go through this. I know that sometimes the just the cost prohibits families that want to try this from being able to try and leave think you're going to have to weigh but in the process. Just knowing right.

The importance of caring for and treating each embryo with dignity because we believe that it is a human life. And so maybe that means going to the process a little bit differently than it's typically gone through bite by couples don't have that same viewer that same belief and maybe that means there's less of a likelihood because your you're taking less embryos and oftentimes are taken, but you're doing it in good faith and wanting to continue to trust in the Lord and also to affirm the dignity of every human life by the way, there's a great book called bioethics in the kingdom of God was written by Prof. that I had in seminary when I was studying to be a pastor by a man named David venturing in and explore some of these ethical questions related to things like IVF and that might be a helpful resource for you. Make sure to put that in our show notes so that if you wanted to pick that up. You could pray that the Lord gives you and your wife wisdom and that he blesses you. Thanks for your question. This is core Christianity with pastor Adm. Sanchez and Samantha posted this on our Instagram account. She says I've heard some Christians defend the use of creeds and confessions in the church because they teach Orthodox interpretations of Scripture. How is this any different from the Roman Catholic view that elevates sacred tradition to the same level as Scripture that's a really good question. I mean it in the Catholic view sacred tradition is placed side-by-side with richer as an authority for the church, whereas we would also see you know things like creeds and confessions I would see things like creeds and confessions, or even a church, a statement of faith is a kind of authority but not on par with Scripture, not an equal authority with Scripture.

And so it really is not the same thing.

All of our confessions. All of our statements of faith, whatever you want to call it on their subordinate to the word of God. Ultimately the only infallible interpreter of the Scriptures are the Scriptures themselves and others. There's no person, no individual or even group of people that can say we have the corner on the perfect interpretation of Scripture and so were always going back to the Scriptures to gain a deeper understanding to correct ourselves. It is sometimes the case that people say things like I don't need any creeds or confessions is part of me and my Bible and, ultimately, I believe the word of God. That sounds really nice but practically speaking it it doesn't really work out because I can talk to a Mormon, and they'll say my authority as the Bible.

I can talk to a Jehovah's Witness and also the very same thing. What we believe is just based on the teachings of the Bible. I can talk to all sorts of different groups denominations sacked and each of them will say I have the teaching of the Bible in its purest form, and that can become very confusing and so it's it's not really helpful to say look all I have are all I need is the Bible made in one sense it's true that the Bible is the only infallible authority for the life of the Christian what you mean when you say I believe the Bible or I embrace the Bible we want to be transparent about what it is that we actually believe about the Bible. Otherwise, I mean it just is not a very helpful thing to say. I think of it like this and I tell people in our church this time.

You know, we have no doctrinal statements that we stand by, and that's not to put those on par with Scripture. It's really a safeguard for the people in the church and for me, so that if at any point. I as a pastor started teaching something that was out of line with what I've what I've confessed to believe about the Scriptures people in our church could come and say you're being inconsistent your you're no longer teaching that which is biblical that what you you said you're going to teach. There's a level of accountability that's given there. Now if if I didn't have that if I decide what I believe the Bible that people said we are being inconsistent I could say well will know I'm not. I just believe the Bible. This is what I think about the Bible so having creeds and confessions is different than the view the Roman Catholic Church that I think elevates sacred tradition above what we would or where we would place the sort of traditions work or creeds and confessions and so looks mentally to summarize, this is the and of the idea of having creeds and confessions is different than what the Catholic Church believes, with its view sacred tradition and that we don't elevate our creeds and confessions to being assertive in an equal standing with the authority of Scripture. We recognize that our creeds are infallible, that the only infallible interpreter of the Bible is the Bible itself, but at the same time we we want to also have some kind of statement of faith, some creed that we stand by and we need that in order to be transparent in order to be honest and in order to protect the state so that when we say this is what we believe we have a clear articulation of what we mean by that. That's really for the good safety of the church. If you want to know the Lord and growing your relationship with the Lord. Need to understand what you believe and that's why creeds and confessions can be so helpful. Thanks for listening to core Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer. Visit us@corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673 that's a 33, the court when you contact us. Please let us know how you been encouraged by this podcast and be sure to join us next time. As we explore the truth of God's word together


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