- 1) The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe;
- 2) It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior;
- 3) Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin; and
- 4) Only those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.
Mind you, these evangelicals typically have little knowledge or familiarity with the catholic creeds of Christendom. Though some liturgical denominations are typically included in the definition of evangelical (the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod is while the ELCA generally is lumped in with mainline Protestants), the bigger question in all of this is to what extent does the ordinary use of the creeds in worship prevent such heresies and guard the orthodox doctrine of the Holy Trinity. To what extent does the regular use of the creeds in worship and their prominent role in catechesis pass on the orthodox and catholic understanding of the Trinity and prevent the distortions or heresies that too often hide under the claim to believe in the Trinity? That is the big question.
Without any serious evidence to support my hypothesis, I am convinced that the use of the creeds in worship and teaching makes a great deal of difference in shaping the beliefs of those in liturgical churches that are lumped together under the category of evangelical. That said, however, there are many more issues to face as the results of the study unfold. Not in the least of them is the eroding confidence in the social teaching of the Scripture with regards to marriage, sexuality, and the sacred character of life. And, if that is not enough to shake you up a bit, what about the fact that it seems nearly a majority believe that their works have something to do with securing their salvation and earning a place in heaven. All of which points to the fact that catechesis and teaching is never something we finish but always something we must begin anew -- even with those who have already been catechized and taught the faith! In addition I would suggest that what happens in worship bears a strong resemblance to what people believe. But that is not new -- lex orandi, lex credendi. The relevance of that phrase will outlive us all!