Then James made a comprehensive and significant statement on the matter.
I wish to say a word now in favor of the resolution. I prefer that the brethren should be uniform in this thing. This would tend to unity in the church. Let us set a right example here and let it go out from this meeting. . . . In Ephesians 4:11-13, we read, "And He gave some apostles; and some, prophets," et cetera. Here we have the gifts of the church presented. Now I take the ground that creeds stand in a direct opposition to the gifts. Let us suppose a case: We get up a creed, stating just what we shall believe on this point and the other, and just what we shall do in reference to this thing and that, and say that we will believe the gifts, too.
But suppose the Lord, through the gifts, should give us some new light that did not harmonize with our creed; then, if we remain true to the gifts, it knocks our creed all over at once. Making a creed is setting the stakes, and barring up the way to all future advancement. God put the gifts into the church for a good and great object; but men who have got up their churches have shut up the way or have marked out a course for the Almighty. They say virtually that the Lord must not do anything further than what has been marked out in the creed.
A creed and the gifts thus stand in direct opposition to each other. Now what is our position as a people? The Bible is our creed. We reject everything in the form of a human creed. We take the Bible and the gifts of the Spirit; embracing the faith that thus the Lord will teach us from time to time. And in this we take a position against the formation of a creed. We are not taking one step, in what we are doing, toward becoming Babylon (RH, Oct. 8, 1861; italics supplied).