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The Apostles’ Creed

15 May

I have given myself over to the pursuit of truth.

I believe it is out there. The truth is out there and it cannot be hindered by all of the cigarette smoking men of the world.

Truth is not new. It is not novel. It is not bought and sold. It is not a commodity. It is not found among the dime store dummies or bubblegum goons. It isn’t found in the marshmallow noises of the chocolate cake voices.

Truth is much older, much deeper and richer, much more ancient.

For those of us who are followers of Christ, truth was capture in a creed, “The Apostles’ Creed.” This is what we believe and like Rich Mullins said, “I did not make it; no it is making me.” Here is one English version of the creed:

The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

—From the Anglican book of Common Worship (2000)

There are many creeds in the Christian Church, but this is the most ancient. It is the only universal creed accepted in all Christian Churches whether they are Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant. We believe these are the apostles’ teachings (Acts 2:42-43), the teachings of the original followers of Jesus.

There is no official author of the creed and there have been various forms of the creed since it first appeared in the First Century. The creed began as confession spoken by people who wanted to be baptized in water, signifying their faith in Christ, but it grew to be considered the very “Symbol of the faith” or “Rule of Faith.”

This is what it means to be a Christian. It means we believe these things.

It opens with “I believe…”, but there is a “we” behind the “I.” It is not only what I personally believe as a Christian, it is what WE believe collectively as Christians. As followers of Christ we may disagree on a number of issues related to worship and interpreting the Bible, but we agree on these things.

The “we” behind the “I” also represents the “communion of saints” spoken of in the creed. The creed is a gift to us in the modern from Christians in the ancient church. The same church that gave us the New Testament has also given us this wonderful creed, which I am weaving into my faith in a new way.

Phillip Schaff writes in his History of the Christian Church Vol 2:

(The Apostles’ Creed) follows the historical order of revelation of the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, beginning with the creation and ending with the resurrection and life eternal. It clusters around Christ as the central article of our faith. It sets forth living facts, not abstracts dogmas, and speaks in the language of the people, not of the theological school. It confines itself to the fundamental truths, is simple, brief, and yet comprehensive, and admirably adapted for catechetical (teaching) and liturgical (worship) use. It still forms a living bond of union between the different ages and branches of orthodox Christendom, however widely they differ from each other, and can never be superseded by longer and fuller creeds, however necessary these are in their place. It has the authority of antiquity and the dew of perennial youth, beyond any other document of post-apostolic times. It is the only strictly ecumenical Creed of the West, as the Nicene Creed is the only ecumenical Creed of the East. It is the Creed of the creeds, as the Lord’s Prayer is the Prayer of prayers.

So it is time to dust off this ancient creed and allow it to speak the truth to you again, for it is both the authority of antiquity and the dew of perennial youth.

I am starting a new series on The Creed beginning this Sunday, May 17. You can find it at http://www.cornerstoneamericus.com/sermons

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Posted by on May 15, 2009 in Life, Theology

 

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