So how does one claiming a “no creed but Christ” hermeneutic deny the clarity of scripture? It aims to presume, if not intentionally, that no one before him has been able to see the truth of scripture. Such a person needs no ecumenical guidance in their doctrinal discernment—they are their own authority.
As a reformed, confessional Presbyterian, I am prone to defer back to creeds and confessions when discussing theological topics. I find them extraordinarily helpful in bringing concise, biblical clarity to complex doctrinal issues. Yet, not all Christians share this appreciation. Often, I run into believers who look upon the historic creeds and confessions with a certain level of contempt. They dismiss any value and declare they have “no creed but Christ.” While I understand their sentiment, I contend their reasoning stands flawed and short-sighted. Why? Because in a shade of irony, when one insists on a blanket dismissal of creeds and confessions for a “just me and Jesus” systematic framework, they (usually unknowingly) deny the clarity and sufficiency of God’s Word.
By God’s amazing grace, the essential elements for faith and salvation are clear for almost any reader; this truly is a wonderful thing. Chapter 1, Section 7 of the Westminster Confession of Faith speaks to the perspicuity of the critical elements of scripture. The confession reads:
…those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.
This perspicuity was a driving force for the Protestant Reformation. The Reformers asserted that due to the clarity and accessibility of scripture, man does not need an interpreter – such as the Roman Catholic Church. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, the essential elements of the Christian faith and salvation are understandable, accessible, and trustworthy. Scripture encourages men to read and search the Bible for themselves. Remember the Bereans? In Acts 17:10, we are told they “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily.” Luke continues and lets us know that “many of them believed.” Yet, Rome insists that God requires an interpreter. Justly, the Reformers pushed back on this.