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Primal Credo: Your Entrance into the Apostles' Creed Paperback – April 28, 2011
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About the Author
Derek Vreeland (D.Min. Asbury Theological Seminary) is an associate pastor at Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri. Over a decade of pastoral ministry and his love for the historic church have combined to fuel his desire to connect present-day followers of Jesus with the most ancient statement of Christian belief--the Apostles' Creed. In addition to writing, Derek enjoys spending time with his wife and three boys, reading, rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs, and absorbing everything Bob Dylan. Follow Derek on Twitter @DerekVreeland.
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Theologically I think it is an important thing to do, just like weekly participation in the Eucharist. Practically, like the Eucharist, many churches like the one I attend do not do either.
So even if I do not say the Creed every week, I do think it is something that is important for all Christians to know and understand. Rich Mullins' song Creed is probably the way that many Evangelicals most know the creed. And I bet that many that know the song do not realize that it is actually the Apostle's Creed.
Primal Credo is a good basic introduction to the Apostles Creed. It is not long, has short readable chapters and would make a very good small group discussion with lots of discussion questions in each chapter.
The chapters are based on each line of the creed. So they are short chapters, dealing with small bits of theology at a time. The author is also from a non-creedal background so I think many Evangelicals will appreciate his background and point of view.
One of the things that I think is most important about the creed is that it is a universal statement of faith. Christians from very early (before the biblical cannon was finalized) were reciting the creed and using it to teach new Christians. Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Protestants all theologically support and many regularly say the creed as part of their worship.
Early in the book there is a statement from someone who says that Christians only really need to know the creed to understand what Christianity is all about. After having read hundreds of books on Christianity, the bible and theology I think this is probably more true that most theologians and pastors would like to admit. We as Christians often complicate things. The creed is a good way to uncomplicate them.
What I liked about "Primal Credo" was Vreeland's approach. He works towards answering the right questions. When it comes to science-versus-religion orientated debates, the scientists have a tendency to struggle to answer questions that their experimental repetitions will never be able to address. Try describing love or altruism with chemical formulae. You can't. They are asking the wrong questions.
Primal Credo isn't a science/religion book - it is the other end of the spectrum. Writing in a contemporary style, Vreeland engages with the postmodern mindset by teaching intangibles through creative and at times poetic prose, quoting popular and classical culture as reference points, but without losing his way and compromising on the basic truths of Christianity.
In a running order that follows the lines of the creed itself, two particularly strong chapters caught my attention - "The Resurrection" and "Saints". While "The Resurrection" focuses on the eternal perspective, it also looks at the implications of this truth and the thorny issues such as healing that ripple off it. Meanwhile "Saints" manages to deftly sidestep denominational divisions rife since the great schism by simultaneously talking about honouring past Christians and affirming the priesthood, indeed the sainthood of all believers.