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Credo…Non Credo

It was the time of the evening service, when the people of the Lord thronged to the house of God to keep the holy day. The service was begun with the usual prayers, the reading of the Holy Word, and the singing of the Psalms. But, there was something special about this particular service. An unusual stillness creeps over the congregation. Everyone is especially attentive just now. From a small book in his hand, the minister, as the spokesman of Jesus Christ, solemnly reads these words:

“Do you acknowledge the doctrine contained in the Old and New Testaments and in the Articles of the Christian faith as taught here in this Christian Church to be the true and complete doctrine of salvation?” He continues:

“Have you resolved by the grace of God to adhere to this doctrine: to reject all heresies repugnant thereto, and to lead a new, godly life?”

Before him, standing before the face of God and in the presence of all His congregation, are a young man and young woman who have expressed their desire to make confession of their faith. They are a son and daughter of the congregation who, from their infancy, have been instructed in the doctrine they are about to confess.

Once more the voice of the minister is heard, “What is your answer to these questions?”

With unmistakable clarity, the affirmative reply of this young couple is heard by many witnesses and more so, by the Holy Spirit of God, as He dwells in His Church. The congregation rejoices, believing that this confession is evidence of the work of Divine grace, realizing the covenant in generations.

****

            The time is now a few years later. Once more the congregation is assembled to worship Jehovah but this time it is the morning service. The same young man and woman, having since been united in the bonds of holy matrimony, have taken their place this morning in the first pew. Upon the lap of the mother lies a tiny infant whom this young couple are now presenting for Holy Baptism. From the same small book in his hand, the minister has just finished reading the Form for Baptism, reminding them and the church that “baptism is an ordinance of God, to seal unto us and our seed His covenant; therefore, it must be used for that end, and not out of custom or superstition.” The minister then requests these parents to stand in the presence of the congregation and before the face of God to answer sincerely a few questions, thereby manifesting that they are thus minded.

Clearly, slowly, and emphatically he addresses them:

“Do you acknowledge the doctrine which is contained in the Old and New Testament, and in the articles of the Christian faith, and which is taught here in this Christian Church, to be the true and perfect (complete) doctrine of salvation?”

“Do you promise and intend to see this child, when come to the years of discretion, instructed and brought up in the aforesaid doctrine, or help or cause him/her to be instructed therein, to the utmost of your power?”

And, unhesitatingly the answer, heard by many witnesses and recorded upon the pages of the book that shall be opened in the Day of days, is uttered, “YES!”

“Yes, I acknowledge this doctrine to be true! Yes, I am by God’s grace resolved to reject all heresies! Yes, I promise to faithfully instruct my children therein!” Credo.

****

            The scene changes once more. A period of some time has elapsed after which we hear of this young couple once more. This time it is not in the service of public worship. The Consistory is now in session, busily engaged in the labor that concerns the best interests of the church of Christ in the world.

There is a knock at the door! The clerk rises to answer it. There stands the young man with a forlorn look upon his face. He hands a piece of paper to the clerk and makes haste to turn aside. The clerk glances at the paper and then quickly steps into the hallway.

“Brother…don’t go away. The consistory may wish to speak to you.”

A reply is muttered, “There’s no use in talking. Our minds are made up. Just send our papers to the ………. Church.”

“Please remain a few moments nonetheless,” replies the clerk, and thereupon returns into the consistory room.

The request is submitted to the consistory and the young man is summoned to explain this unusual phenomenon. The president of the consistory addresses him first.

“Will you kindly present to us the reason for your request?”

The young man stammers a bit, groping for something to say, and after a few unsuccessful attempts and muttering this and that, it becomes evident that there are not reasons but only a few petty excuses by which one seeks self-justification before the bar of the conscience.

The minister speaks. “You remember your confession, do you not? You may be reminded of what you vowed before God and His church.” He then quotes from the little book. Continuing he says, “And are you aware, brother…, that never once have you appeared to show that this Christian church has departed in profession or practice from this doctrine, are you not?”

By this time the man is a bit uneasy. Rather indignantly, he rises and walking toward the door, utters something like this: “I’m not here to argue with you. Send me my papers.” Upon his departure, he gives the door an extra slam to give vent to his ire. Non-credo!

The next Sunday a notice appears on the bulletin: “Mr. and Mrs. ………. and one baptized child, upon their own request, were given certificates of dismissal.”

The question arises inevitably, “Was then that good confession after all a real evidence of the working of God’s grace?”

****

            Once more the scene changes. This time the place is the judgment seat of Jesus Christ where all are summoned to give account.

Credo…Non-credo!

Truth vs. Error!

Credo is to believe the truth and believing it, to live it. That is true discipleship and everlasting life. “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

Non-credo is to embrace error and follow it unto death in generations to come. The way of the wicked shall perish!

Make sure your confession! It is very serious! It will be more tolerable for those who knew not, than for those who knowingly have repudiated the truth and trampled underfoot a good confession!