CREDO: A Glimpse of the World Religion
The U.S. Navy Chaplain’s “CREDO” program is a sobering glimpse of what the World Religion of the Counterfeit Christ may look like. CREDO is an example of what global “Christianity” is heading towards… a universal counterfeit. It’s a perfect example of what I call, “New World Order Niceness”… a goodness apart from the God of the Bible; “spirituality” apart from the Lord Jesus Christ.
The word “credo” is Latin for “I believe”. It also stands for “Chaplain’s Religious Enrichment Development Operation”. The Navy’s CREDO program is a system of weekend retreats, training courses, and literature that seeks to promote “spirituality” and “community”.
CREDO Pacific Northwest
The following is information from the website of the CREDO Pacific Northwest as of October 1999:
“Mission: To provide a program of retreats to enable military members and their families to develop personal and spiritual resources.“
“History: CREDO began in 1971 as "Chaplains Response to the Emerging Drug Order" as an experiment led by chaplains and lay persons to confront the use of drugs by Sailors and Marines. Over time, CREDO evolved into a new form of retreat ministry that is applicable to a broad spectrum of people seeking personal and spiritual development rather than just to those with drug related problems. By 1977 the name became the Chaplains Religious Enrichment Development Operation.”
“CREDO's credo: The philosophy of our program is distinctly spiritual. This spiritual approach builds trust and facilitates an experience of unconditional acceptance, heightens a sense of personal responsibility, energizes a desire to contribute to the community. At it's core, CREDO neither merely imparts information, nor aims at diagnosis and cure. Individuals are encouraged to share only what they are comfortable sharing, define their own goals, and move at their own pace. CREDO invites reflection, but does not attempt to "fix" people or force them to work on perceived issues. Instead, we attempt to look beyond behaviors to affirm each person as a unique creation of God with value and significance.“
An earlier version of the same website (March 1999) stated that, “CREDO affirms: Sacredness and value of each individual, Value of relationships, Communities of faith, Power of positive thinking, Hospitality, God’s presence in human interaction.”
CREDO Pacific Northwest sponsors various retreats for “Personal Growth”, “Marriage Enrichment”, “Spiritual Growth”, and “Marriage Growth”.
“The CREDO Spiritual Growth Retreat emphasizes faith, hope, and
love. It assists participants explore spiritual resources for daily living based on the belief that we are all spiritual beings experiencing the common human condition. Throughout the weekend you will attend workshops and exercises centered on the theme "Life As a Sacred Journey" that may assist you in pursuing a more mature relationship with God, and experience a more meaningful religious faith.”
CREDO Team Members are,
“...volunteers who assist the CREDO chaplains in conducting Personal and Marriage Growth Retreats. All CREDO Team members have attended a Personal Growth Retreat as a participant, attended a CREDO Team Training weekend, are actively involved in spiritual community, and have been screened by the Director of CREDO Pacific Northwest.”
“A team member is someone who is a concerned member of their community who is willing to devote time, energy, and talents to the process of others discovering their own inner resources, life's spiritual (not just religious) dimension, sense of community, and healthy self-esteem. A team member is a spiritually oriented person on a faith journey of their own.”
“A team member is not a therapist, counseling or psychology expert, or problem solver.”
It’s clear that the intent is a “spirituality” that doesn’t require a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, but is, instead, based upon the self-actualization concepts of Humanistic Psychology: Self-esteem, acceptance, value, significance, and group “sharing”.
A Naval Officer’s Testimony
The following quote is from a Naval Officer who attended a Navy Chaplain presentation that included a discussion of the CREDO program:
“We had the head chaplain come and talk to us about stuff. I thought she was going to give us a plug about Christian services offered. All she did is talk about how kids joining the Navy have psychological problems (40-50% of the sailors at Service School Command in Groton) and how she is treating them psychologically and with counseling. (I believe this is indicative of the problems kids are having growing up these days in broken homes, two income families and no morals or standards being taught to them and, how we as a society, are shifting the blame off of us being messed up to "it's someone else's fault"). Then she went on to explain a retreat that she hosts for people to get back to their inner selves and if anyone brings a Bible, she confiscates it. I had to ask her why she doesn't teach Jesus and tell these people that there is a better way instead of Wicca, Islam, Hinduism etc. etc etc. since she has a cross on the lapel of her uniform. Her answer was "she doesn't want to beat it into people and by them bringing a bible may put undue influence on others. She specifically didn't want to turn it into a Christian outreach.” I also believe that the Navy is preventing her from being able to do what she may really want to do since Navy Chaplains today have to be everything to everybody including everybody else's religion.”
The CREDO Institute is in Williamsburg, Virginia. They state on their website, “We are a loose family of people of all ages and backgrounds who desire a closer bond with others in the human family. We want to carry on the work of the Spirit begun by a band of sailors, marines, and their chaplains on the San Diego waterfront a generation ago. The Navy Credo now serves the fleet around the world; its family members may be found just about anywhere. We at Credo Institute want to support their work and build a bridge to all corners of America, so that they also may have an understanding of the love of God. Homemakers and homeless, prisoners and judges, bishops and workers, students, sailors, searchers and skeptics; people of many faiths – all are part of the Credo family.”
The Credo Institute website offers a book about Credo. “Founder” Donald B. Harris recounts in the book, That’s How the Light Gets In: A Credo of Friendship, his background and “spiritual autobiography”:
Complimenting “Other Approaches to Spiritual Health”
On the CREDO Institute website is an article, “How Credo Compliments Other Approaches to Spiritual Health”. In this article there is a description of a previous Credo Weekend used by the Institute of Clinical Theology (ICT) as part of its curriculum. At the time the ICT was part of Regent University, in Virginia Beach but is now affiliated with Georgia State University. “The gathering of twenty therapists, ministers, and counselors came together in Norfolk, Virginia seeking a new freedom in the way they lived out their faith.” The article talks of two conversions of religious conservatives to the Credo outlook.
The article describes how Credo is similar to, different from, and supports other approaches such as self-help programs, religious retreats, and group psychotherapy.
The relationship of Credo to Twelve Step programs is especially emphasized.
The possible concern that “responsible Christians, Muslims, and Jews” might have with a strictly secular self-help approach is discussed. Credo is said to have an “affinity with the spiritual basis of religious retreats, yet differs because of its inclusiveness.”
“Just as Credo is not a substitute for support groups or psychotherapy, it emphatically is not a parachurch competing with faith-groups. The Credo approach is one of service to others – not one of competition. If Credo is able to assist someone in find a loving community of support which brings them life and purpose, wherever that may be, then our mission is fulfilled.”
The article goes on to contrast traditional, institutional religious “paradigms” with the way in which Credo, “helps people see that love is the essence of life without defining how this may be expressed by any organization.”
CREDO sets up a set of opposites when talking about relationships versus institutionalism. And yet “communities” built on relationships, even as an alternative to religious institutions are still worldly counterfeits if the Lord Jesus Christ is not the foundation.
Government Initiated, Pagan Spirituality
What is especially dangerous is that the U.S. Navy Chaplains endorsement of CREDO represents a government attempt at a Universal Religious Vision.
CREDO Institute speaks of, “the work of the Spirit”. But which “Spirit” is at work apart from the Lord Jesus? CREDO speaks of “community” and the “CREDO family”, but without the Lord Jesus this is a counterfeit of the Body of Christ… a Tower of Babel vision of Unity in Diversity. They want to, “…build a bridge to all corners of America, so that they also may have an understanding of the love of God”.
However, any system of morals and ethics and values that either ignores or rejects Jesus Christ is just another pagan religion. Even a system of Christian morals, without Jesus, is just another pagan religion.
As the Naval Officer (quoted above) also told me, we ought to be praying for these people involved in CREDO. Those who are followers of the Lord Jesus need to realize they are yoked with a great deception. And those who don't belong to the Lord Jesus; they need to know they've believed a lie.
I would encourage others to research and expose CREDO and similar “world religion” programs. If you have been to a CREDO retreat or have literature or information, I would be very grateful to hear from you. Please email me.
The following are links to the two CREDO websites I've quoted from.