May 29, 2024

Article XIX: The Creed

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father. By him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he descended from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again, in accordance with the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again, in glory, to judge the living and the dead, and his Kingdom shall have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son], and who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified. He spoke through the Prophets. And in one holy universal and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins, and we look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.


We encourage the Messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in June 2024 to affirm the Nicene Creed. We encourage the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in June 2025 to include the Creed as an article in the Baptist Faith and Message. We are also happy to include the Apostles’ Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and the Chalcedonian Definition.

Matthew Barrett, Andrew Brown, Matthew Emerson, Stephen Lorance, Steven McKinion, Stephen Presley, Rhyne Putman, David Rathel, Luke Stamps, Malcolm Yarnell

Fear the Messiah

The disciples of Jesus were very concerned for their own place. In lust for power, they were no different than the religious leaders who sought to murder Jesus.

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’”

But Jesus was more interested in changing their hearts than in securing their offices. So he showed them the way to true greatness. And he used as an example, not a politician, sportstar, actor, cleric, or professor. Instead,

“He called a child to Himself and set him among them, and said, ‘Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.’”

Let that sink in for a moment, boys. A disciple of Jesus is not in the kingdom by place but by grace. If you are all about place it may say you have no grace.

Jesus told the disciples they required a fundamental change in heart. Let go this world’s lust for power; die to yourself.

“So whoever will humble himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name, receives Me.”

And to bring the point home, he told the guys how serious he, the Lord, is about this.

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depths of the sea.’”

The temptation of the minister to sin has particularly grave consequences.

If your heart is set on your power you will justify evil in your mind. You will start to treat his sheep like you own them. But you use their bodies at the price of your souls. You may not steal from God!

And the Great Shepherd loves his sheep! Oh, he loves with a tender love for his lambs but with a terrible love toward the wolves and hirelings who misuse them and steal from them.

God calls his true pastors to be humble and protect his sheep. Note: Proud men can only be wolves.

The message of the Messiah for the Judases among his disciples was this: If you set up theological systems that create a petty hierarchy for you and your hirelings so that you can abuse his sheep, it would be better if you had long removed from this world.

I weep for the lambs.

As a pastor who only wants to hear, “Well done thou good and faithful servant,” as I cling to his feet, I fear for my own soul. I want nothing to do with attempts to gain power. I have walked right up to that gate, seen the evil in my heart and been repelled from myself in shame.

Sometimes, people wonder why I preach with such prophetic passion against false pastors. Why do I refuse to participate in the crafting of these silly myths of power and manufacture these self-serving genealogies of privilege? Because I don’t want to face the wrath of Messiah.

The Messiah is a gentle Savior, the Lamb slain for his people from the foundation of the world. But the Messiah is also a growling Judge, the Lion of Judah who has seen hypocrites, false prophets, and petty messiahs, and warned us that he will judge such mindless mediocrities.

I have walked to the edge, seen the faults in my heart, heard his voice of warning, and cried out to him: “Lord, give me a new heart! Give me a boundless passionate love for you alone and a care to treat your sheep with your tenderness and to fight the wolves with your ferocity!”

Why do I take the strong stands that I do against wolves and hirelings? Why do I promote Trinitarian and Christological orthodoxy with such passion? Why do I promote the Nicene Creed and the Chalcedonian Formula?

Because he called me and I love him, and because I fear his wrath.

When I survey the lands and see the lambs laying here and there in their own blood, missing pieces of their bodies, broken by the wolves and falsely tended by hirelings who ran at the first sign of a fight, I weep for the lambs. Never ridicule survivors who walk away from faith.

I weep for the lambs, and I want to tend them back to health. I have a passion to fight the wolves who rend. I have a passion to honor the Lord and defend the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

Heretics, wolves, and hirelings should fear the Great Shepherd. The true pastors, the wise ones, both love and fear the Messiah.

May 19, 2024

Against the Arians

What makes the worst of all heresies, Arianism, so dangerous?

1. Above all and at their root, Arians dishonor the Lord Jesus Christ. They diminish the unity of his person, the truth of his deity, and/or the truth of his humanity, by weakening, dividing, or contradicting him.

2. They are deceptive and mislead the “simple,” in the words of Athanasius, by being “deceitful and cunning” and “hypocritical.”

3. They appeal to the carnal nature of the simple. They promise authority to those who want to rule and knowledge to those desiring intelligence.

4. They have the air of credibility, because they appeal to the often unseen yet deeply flawed structures of their human culture and philosophy.

5. They abuse the Lord Jesus by abusing the biblical text, imposing godless hierarchies and fanciful systems upon Holy Scripture.

6. They abuse the church of Jesus Christ by teaching others their deceptive piety. They are good at self-presentation. They manipulate so they can dominate.

7. Ultimately, they “go out from among us.” But they first rush, like Diotrephes, to disfellowship true believers.

Arianism, in all its godless and pernicious varieties, must find no place of rest among true Christians. The truth of the Nicene Creed, which upholds Scripture by summarizing the central mystery of the Christian faith, must be upheld against the deceptions of the heretics.