In our last visit, our focus was on the Church’s Creeds and the need for a common voice in the world. Today, let’s continue with this but go further into understanding each of the three Creeds individually.
The oldest and most recognized Creed is “The Apostles’ Creed.” It’s also the shortest and simplest of the three and finds its origin in the writings of the 1st and 2nd century Church Fathers. One such father, Ignatius of Antioch (around 107 AD) wrote: “Be deaf, therefore, whenever anyone speaks to you apart from Jesus Christ, who is the stock of David, who is of Mary, who was truly born, ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of beings of heaven, of earth and the underworld, who was also truly raised from the dead.”
These words are and almost verbatim repetition of what Christians around the world confess even today in the Secord Article of the Apostles’ Creed. Thus, the Apostles’ Creed is nearly as ancient as the church itself.
Briefly, The Apostles’ Creed is a collection of words, testifying of the faith of the Apostles in the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Apostles didn’t write this creed but the creed is representative of what they would have written if they had:
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 Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Plate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Whenever young people are confirmed in their Christian faith, immediately after they confess the Apostles’ Creed, they’re asked, “Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?” The young people respond, “I do so intend with the help of God.”
This is the power of the creeds in a Christian’s life. They are so powerful that they would move a confirmand to promise to die for the faith expressed by them. The creeds are so powerful because they point us to our Savior who died for the forgiveness of our sins. The creeds are so powerful because for over 2000 years, the Christian Church has proclaimed, “I believe in God: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And even if I have to suffer death, I will still believe.” Thus, the creeds testify of our faith and our faith clings to Christ who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Over the course of future weeks, we will continue to look at our Christian Creeds as to what they say and why they need(ed) to be confessed.
In the meantime, I welcome you to come & worship with us. Hear the message of God’s great love for you… a dying/risen love, an unconditional love, and everlasting life-giving love.