Christianity has always been a "creedal" religion in that it has always been theological. It was rooted in the theological tradition of ancient Israel, which was unifi ed by its historical credos and declaratory affi rmations of faith. No pre-theological era has been discovered in the New Testament or in the history of the Christian community. From the beginning Christianity has been theological, involving men in theological refl ection and calling them to declarations of faith. A non-theological Christianity has simply never endured, although such has been attempted, for instance, by individual seers in the sixteenth century and also by collaborators with totalitarian ideologies in the twentieth century.
The creeds presented here range from the ancient faith of the Hebrews and the creed-like formulas of the New Testament to the Barmen declaration of 1934 (framed by the Christians in Germany who faced the threat of Nazism) and the Batak Creed of 1951 (in which Indonesian Christians gave authentic expression to their religious belief in the idiom of their own culture. All the creeds are in some sense "offi cial," and every major division of Christendom is represented, including the Younger Churches. The volume ends with the messages of the most important assemblies dealing with the Ecumenical Movement.
This single volume, containing all the major theological affi rmations of the Christian community, is a source book for the study of Christian theology. It comprises a record of the Church's interpretation of the Bible in the past and an authoritative guide to its interpretation on the present. Indeed, it is a guide to an understanding of the Christian interpretation of life.