Yesterday at church a friend showed me the illustration below which highlights the rightful place of our Christian creeds and confessions, not as writings to supplant or supersede Scripture but as faithful witnesses to what the Church has believed, taught, and confessed in all places throughout the ages. One of the misunderstandings of the "no creed but the bible" crowd is that these documents somehow teach something other than what the bible teachers. Instead, the design of the creeds and confessions is to provide a succinct, often systematized, summary of what the historic Christian church teaches based on the bible. In other words, they serve to keep us within the bounds of orthodox beliefs, protecting us from wandering into heresy.
Reflecting on this diagram, another illustration came to mind--from a bowling alley. When children are learning to bowl, we often deploy the bumpers to keep them from throwing ball after ball into the gutter. The bumpers serve to keep their ball in the lane, protecting them from entirely missing. The creeds and confessions are like bumpers, and we (at the encouragement of Jesus) remain ever childlike in our understanding and handling of the holy truths of Scripture. We remove or ignore them, even with the purest of motives, at our own peril.
Photo by Derek Martin on Unsplash