Do We Need the Creed? A helpful dialogue between Matt O’Reilly and Jeremy Smith

Matt O'Reilly

Matt O’Reilly

Should churches stop using the historic Creeds in weekly worship? The Rev. Jeremy Smith seems to think so and attempts to make the case with an essay that summarizes a longer sermon preached by Dr. Raymond E. Balcomb, a former pastor of First Methodist Church, Portland, Oregon. The post is a follow-up to another creed-critical post from about a year ago that came in response a tweet in which the Rev. Matt O’Reilly quoted Dr. Tom Noble, professor at Nazarene Theological Seminary, on the importance of the Creeds for the people called Methodist.

Did you follow all that? You can read Matt O’Reilly’s response to Jeremy Smith’s earlier post here. This is an important discussion, and both O’Reilly and Smith have a good exchange over the issue at hand.

“Is the Creed really unhelpful in the end?” O’Reilly asks. “Or does it provide a formative opportunity to grow in grace, faith, and as disciples of Jesus. Balcomb’s argument contains far too many flaws to serve as an adequate basis for overturning centuries of practice by removing creedal professions from public worship. The Creeds have long brought the apostolic faith to life in the experience of believers in powerfully formative ways. Let’s not rob our people of the opportunity to be confessionally united with the Church around the world and throughout the ages.”

We recommend a careful reading of O’Reilly’s engagement of the discussion of the importance of creeds in the Church. You can read his blog entry HERE.


  1. We need creeds to remind us what we believe in. Otherwise, we don’t take the time to refresh our memory and we can’t give a good account of this to ourselves or others when questions come up.

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