Every night during Marine Corps Recruit Training, I would scream the following “prayer” from memory with 63 other Marine Corps Recruits. When our Drill Instructor gave the command to “PRAY!” we would begin praying the Rifleman’s Creed.
A word of caution for the faint of heart… Some of the wording in the Rifleman’s Creed is violent and thankfully so. Please consider the vocation of the United States Marine which has been in place since November 10th, 1775. It is not to play patty-cake but to make war and be the best at doing it.
This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.
Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will ...
My rifle and I know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hit that counts. We will hit ...
My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will ...
Before God, I swear this creed. My rifle and I are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life.
So be it, until victory is America's and there is no enemy, but peace!
The words in the Rifleman’s Creed are not what makes a Marine. But they are a good reminder of what is rooted in every Marine. The Marine is a rifleman. No matter the conflict, the expectation of every Marine is to be a fighter, a warrior, to hold the line, to stand post, man the wall, and to return fire.
How do I know the expectations of every Marine even though I am not able to cite specific orders from Marine Corps handbooks? The Rifleman’s Creed tells me.
Many in American Christianity did not grow up in a church hearing the Apostle’s Creed or have any knowledge of the Ecumenical Creeds. I can remember hearing that creeds sounded “too Roman Catholic.” When asked, “Do you recite the Creed?” many Christians (like me) would have said, “Oh no. I do not confess to any creeds. I only confess the Bible.”
As Daniel Emery Price said in his HWSS talk, Creedal Christianity as the Last Rebellion, the Creed is not popular because it does not tell us to do anything. The evangelical hears it and throws their hands up in frustration. They are probably expecting a creed that sounds more like “Onward Christian Soldiers” or the Rifleman’s Creed. Many would rather recite a creed that sounded like “What Would Jesus Do?”
When Christianity revolves around the action of the Christian instead of the action of Christ for the Christian, a different creed is desired. A creed that only talks about what God has done for the Christian will feel incomplete. Old Adam would much rather wring out the Creed like a wash rag to drip out, in hopes of finding any life application.
To give Old Adam a “To-Done List” when he is only hungry for a “To-Do List” is death to him. So be it. He needs to drown and stay drowned. May the Law do it’s work when it accuses Old Adam. He cannot do anything to be the savior of his life. His only way out is through the will of another. Specifically, the will of God which is the free gift of belief in the one whom he has sent (John 6:29). As soon as Old Adam has been crushed to death by the reality of this Law, the Gospel found in the Creed needs to be applied.
Marines learn the Rifleman’s Creed through repetition. This memorization via repetition confirmed the words for us throughout the rest of our lives as a Marine. The Rifleman’s Creed told us who we were. A Marine is a rifleman.
The Creed when it is taught and memorized via repetition also confirms. But with a profound difference. This Creed does not tell us who we are. It tells us who God is and what he has done for us.
The Creed is not something you do. It is something you believe. So believe it! Christ was crucified for the forgiveness of all your sins. His “It is finished” on the cross is his “To-Done List” for you! Believe this and you will be saved.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; one holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
Are you an evangelical like me who was unsure about the Creed? The link below should help. May God bless you and keep you in the good news that is found in the Creed.