So why study or know or even look at creeds? Well I’m glad you asked. I’m going to defer to Thomas C. Oden, a scholarly scholartan who has studied extensively early church history:
“We learn something important from them: how the teachings of the prophets and apostles were consensually received by comparing Scripture to Scripture to grasp the meaning of the whole narrative of the history of salvation…They reassure us that we can trust the understanding of God’s revelation in Scripture that has been held to be true by the whole worldwide church throughout changing cultures of all times and places…We learn from them those teachings that the ancient Christian consensus has conformed as true apostolic teaching.”
As with any teaching, it is always good to regularly go back to the founder and those closest to the founder historically. It is insightful to see how the earliest members and believers interpreted Scripture and interpreted Jesus Himself, to see what has stood the test of time, different cultures, and geography. What is core.
Christianity did not start in December of AD 1972 when I was born. Therefore, I do not decide myself what is core Christianity. It is foolish to ignore the rich tradition of those saints who wrestled with the mysteries of Christianity like the incarnation, the trinity, the Holy Spirit, and more. To ignore the insights of the past is to attempt to reinvent the wheel and to risk reinventing it very badly.
Creeds represent “a tool that the church has used to speak about God clearly and faithfully, to guide its members closer to God, and sometimes to distinguish authentic Christianity from the innovations, heresies, and false teachings that the New Testament warns of.” They “try to communicate complex theological ideas to people who don’t have sophisticated theological backgrounds.”*
*Quotes taken from Know The Creeds And Councils by Justin S. Holcomb