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The creed is never intended to function as a de-focusing of unwelcome scriptural teachings so that error can take refuge in vague terminology, nor is it a lowest common denominator.When Smith complains about the danger of reducing Christianity to a morality, he is identifying a real problem.The Ten Commandments don’t stand alone, but are a condensation of a broader body of scriptural material, a condensation that orients the student of the Torah to the proper use and understanding of the body of law.Likewise, the two great summary commandments—or the principles of justice, mercy, and faith—serve the same unifying and coordinating purpose.The presence of both condensation and exposition of the Law alongside each other makes possible an understanding of its ‘moral grammar’.Without this literacy, the Law could be distorted in many ways, twisted into legalism or moralism, or frustrated in a license advanced through hermeneutical gerrymandering.However, in denying the place of the creed in teaching us Christian morality, he is failing to practice his orthodoxy as he ought.The creed isn’t a self-contained document presenting the sum total of ‘orthodox’ Christian ethics. The creed guards against the moralism that Smith is rightly concerned about.
Rather, their content is extensively unpacked in the Scriptures themselves, apart from which the creed cannot have its proper sense. I had been designing and making furniture for over 30 years, so I figured I could surely think of a way to get around the problem and improve our lifestyle.