Discipleship: Why Reinvent the Wheel?
Christianity wasn’t invented yesterday and the church is much larger than one denomination or nationality. These three standards— the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments— have been used as a sturdy foundation for discipleship and doctrine for nearly two thousand years. If they were essential for the early generation of believers, shouldn’t they be important for us as well? Why should we reinvent the wheel?
I suspect we do because of our obsession of the new. We live in a culture of change where we value everything new. We tend to focus on the “now” or the “moment” at the expense of the “eternal.” But just because something is new doesn’t mean it is better. Likewise, just because something is old doesn’t mean it is useless and outdated.
Many contemporary Christians have historical amnesia and are missing vital aspects of the faith that are necessary for spiritual growth and maturity. Our lack of historic awareness can be remedied by revisiting the roots of the faith that have nourished believers since the time of Christ. Christians, such as you and me, are beginning to rediscover that church history has much to teach us about discipleship.
These three standards provide a simple and clear outline of the essentials of the faith that is universal for all Christians, regardless of denomination or affiliation. Sadly, most Christians get sidetracked over secondary issues rather than focusing on essentials. This is what C. S. Lewis had in mind when he wrote Mere Christianity: “To explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times.” Similarly, G. K. Chesterton said the Apostles’ Creed is “understood by everybody calling himself Christian until a very short time ago and the general historic conduct of those who held such a creed.”
The Christian faith has multiple dimensions. Each of these historic standards addresses important dimensions of the Christian life that are profoundly interrelated. The Apostles’ Creed addresses the doctrinal foundation, the Ten Commandments address the ethical foundation, and the Lord’s Prayer addresses the spiritual foundation. When the doctrinal, ethical, and spiritual dimensions are woven together, they offer us a balanced model for the Christian life.
Read more in Winfield’s book Creed