In this edition of “Theology & Culture” (T&C), we are going to look at a very bizarre and heretical statement that swept through the Internet. It is known as the “Sparkle Creed” and, let me just say, it is nothing like the Apostle’s or Nicene Creed, as we shall see. When I first saw the video, it was a mind-blower, to say the least, but at the same time, not surprising.
This is one of the reasons we write Theology and Culture blogs, to analyze theological teachings that are important to the Christian faith while exposing false doctrine and cultural viewpoints that go against the Scriptures.
What came out of the Edina Community Lutheran Church (they do not represent all Lutheran churches) in Minneapolis was a recitation that not only raised eyebrows, but was completely anti-Christian in its statements. Here is the text of the “Sparkle Creed,”
“I believe in the non-binary God whose pronouns are plural. I believe in Jesus Christ, their child, who wore a fabulous tunic and had two dads and saw everyone as a sibling-child of God. I believe in the rainbow Spirit, who shatters our image of one white light and refracts it into a rainbow of gorgeous diversity,”
“I believe in the church of everyday saints as numerous, creative and resilient as patches on the AIDS quilt, whose feet are grounded in mud and whose eyes gaze at the stars in wonder. I believe in the call to each of us that love is love is love, so beloved, let us love. I believe, glorious God. Help my unbelief.”
The congregation, made up, at least in the video, of mostly aging baby-boomers, of course recited the creed right along with the pastor. This does not surprise me. I am a baby-boomer, and interest in the truths of God has dropped in this age group over the last couple of decades.
Before dissecting this heretical “creed,” if we can even call it that, let us give a little background and information. First, the creed was not created by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, though the theology and social bent of this denomination are liberal in many ways. It was the brainchild of a pastor, the Rev. Rachel Small Stokes of Immanuel United Church of Christ in Louisville, Kentucky, who circulated it in 2021.
Second, and this does not shock me, there were many on social media who thought that the words of this creed are wonderful. This shows the shallowness of theological understanding of many people as we shall see. Let me give an example of this last statement. One reader wrote,
“Who are the two dads? Are they ‘God the Father’ and Joseph? God the Father becomes problematic, since Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, who originally/traditionally is feminine. ... I think this is a legitimate creed that could use your defense and some exposition.”
“Legitimate creed” as this person writes. Not in the least. The Holy Spirit, historically, has never been identified originally or traditionally as feminine. This may be how the Spirit was depicted in the book, “The Shack,” (that is another blog for another day) but historically, no.
Though the Holy Spirit is at times referred to in the Greek in neither a masculine or feminine gender when explaining His work, a reading of passages overwhelmingly show that the Spirit is referred to as “He.” Jesus Himself stated it as clearly as possible in John 14:17; John 14:26; John 16:7-8, to note a few passages.
Creeds were intended to share what the church believed Biblically. Beyond the ancient creeds, churches have doctrinal statements or should, that let people know what a church holds to from a theological perspective. Let us now get back to the creed itself. We will not look at all the words of this unbiblical word salad, but let us spend some time on a few lines and give a Scriptural response.
It begins with the phrase, “I believe in the non-binary God whose pronouns are plural.” If that is not a shout-out to the current culture including gender confusion issues (e.g. transgenderism), etc., I do not know what is. We do know that God is Spirit (John 4:24), but again, unless you deny the teachings of Scripture, we cannot overlook the fact that God is One God, yet there are Three Persons Who make up the Godhead, and the word “plural” does not cut it theologically.
Each one is clearly not “non-binary.” God is referred to as the Father (John 5:19). Jesus is clearly the Son (Matthew 1:23), and referred to Himself as such (John 5:23). And as we have seen, the Holy Spirit is referred to as “He.” This idea that God is referred to in pronouns as plural in this creed shows an obvious ignorance of the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity. And if we are talking of “preferred pronouns”, as culture does today, then God should be referred to as such as seen in the Bible.
In Genesis 1:26-27, God did say, “Let us make man in our image,” but that does not mean that the plural “us” refers to whatever gender you choose to make God out to be. This is liberal heresy that is being spouted in this creed.
The phrase, “I believe in Jesus Christ, their child,” downplays the fact that Christ is eternal God, existing forever before coming to earth. The reference to Jesus having two dads has an obvious meaning for our day and age, because this creed was originally penned during pride month, and that cultural sway plays into the words written.
In addition, Joseph was human, God was divine. The idea of two dads takes away from the Virgin birth of Christ because, as noted, Mary and the Holy Spirit are ignored. The Virgin Birth of Christ has been a staple of the historic Christian faith since the beginning. It also sends a not-so-subtle message, with an attempt to push a social viewpoint that goes against God’s view of the family. And we are not downplaying the fact that in some families, single parents raise their children.
The idea of diversity noted is not what we might think. Diversity among cultures and races is not a negative thing. In Christ, we are all equal in our standing before Him (Gal. 3:28). The line of the creed where this is noted, though, has to do with gender identity and orientation, and the point made is that the Spirit of God brings that about. Actually, He does not. There are two genders, male and female as God so clearly states (Gen. 1:26-27).
People who buy into the “Sparkle Creed” need to be lovingly challenged to consider what the Word of God says. But if you deny certain essential doctrines of the Christian faith, this is the type of thing that happens. We must speak the truth while being gracious (Col. 4:6) but we must also contend for the faith as Jude 3 tells us.
As Tim Barnett of the ministry “Stand To Reason” writes, “The point is, this creed wasn’t written to clarify truth and glorify God. Instead, it was written to distort the truth and glorify self. The Sparkle Creed confesses a God in the image and likeness of our contemporary culture, but this isn’t new.”