Friday, June 15, 2007

CREEDS IN THE BIBLE by Frederick W. Danker

Creeds in the Bible is part of Concordia Publishing's Biblical Monographs series, which was "designed to acquaint readers with current developments in Biblical interpretation." In this book, Danker "discusses creedal confessions in Old and New Testament to increase appreciation for Biblical expressions of faith and the historic creeds of the church." In other words, Danker shows us what the words we say about Jesus in church mean, and where these creeds are rooted in the Old Testament. In looking at Jesus in relation to the Old Testament, we also see how a lot of Paul's supposedly new doctrine is rooted in the Old Testament.

Danker works with these creedal statements: there is One God, Jesus is the Christ, Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus is Lord, Jesus died and rose, and Jesus is Savior. Danker does a fine job with all of these, but particularly with the last three, which remind the Christian that service to God is unto death and is eternally-minded. This is the great hope of Christianity – that there will be salvation, not only for ourselves, but for the whole of creation.

Ultimately, Danker reminds us what Christianity really is: "Christianity is not good views but good news. It is not philosophical propositions or mystical absorption. It is the message of God's deed of love expressed in a person" (p. 58).

Danker may be too great a scholar to come all the way down to our level, although he gets most of the way down (but keep a dictionary handy). His writing style is accessible and engaging (definitely more so than that of other scholars of that caliber), and occasionally humorous.

This book is quite short (64 pages), and doesn't get ever get so in depth as to be burdensome, nor does it delve into anything controversial. It is a thoroughly worthwhile read, and will be of greatest benefit to those who want a deeper understanding of what we as Christians confess.