Archive for February, 2012

What makes the Apostles Creed so special?

St Pauls Pillar, Paphos - Simon Peter SutherlandI hold to the Apostles Creed. Not to the point where I would re-interpret scripture to fit with the creed, but that I think the creed agrees with scripture.

It is said that the Apostles Creed was written by each member of the 12 Apostles, excluding Judas but including Matthias? The creed would read as follows:

1. Peter. “I believe in God the Father Almighty”
2. John. “Maker of heave and earth”
3. James. “And in Jesus Christ His only son”
4. Andrew. “Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary”
5. Philip. “Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried”
6. Thomas. “He descended into hell, the third day He rose again from the dead”
7. Bartholomew. “He ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty”
8. Matthew. “From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead”
9. James, the son of Alpheus. “I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Church”
10. Simon the Zealot. “The Communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins”
11. Jude, the brother of James. “The resurrection of the body”
12. Matthias. “Life everlasting. Amen”

What I admire about the Apostles creed is firstly that it is very old, not that that is anything to go by for many heresies are very old, but that the Apostles Creed is distinctly an early church document. It is not modernized or over indulgent in varying doctrines addressing issues of their day, on the contrary, the Creed addresses issues which are yet to come, so in fact the creed is very modern. It has an almost timeless feel to the creed and even sounds up-to-date when read today. But more than all of that, the creed is all about Jesus and what He has done. Something that so many creeds and statements of faith are not centralized upon.

I understand the issues with the Apostles Creed and the arguments which are propagated against its authenticity, but aside from that, it is the content which is more important than the author or authors. As with Theologica Germanica, which was written by an anonymous author and admired by Luther but rejected by Calvin. My point being that a work must be judged by the truth and not merely by the author.

Thus, the creed begins with God and moves to creation and concludes with re-creation in the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of all people from the dead. This resurrection will occur when Jesus returns and the end of time begins.

Let us look for a brief moment at 12 sections of this creed.

1) “I believe in God the Father Almighty”
2) “Maker of heaven and earth”
3) “And in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord”
4) “Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary”
5) “Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried”
6) “He descended into hell, the third day He rose again from the dead”
7) “He ascended into heaven, sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty”
8) “From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.”
9) “I believe in the Holy Ghost”
10) “The holy ‘Universal’ Church, the Communion of Saints”
11) “The Forgiveness of sins”
12) “The Resurrection of the body, and the Life everlasting.”

“Amen.”

Note that the creed begins with “I believe”. This points to the creed being a very personal creed when spoken by the individual. The creed does not say “We believe” which can often cause believers to hide amongst fellow believers. Also, what I think makes the apostles creed so special and different to many creeds of Christendom is that this creed unites Christians and does not divide them. So many other creeds of Christendom promote divisive doctrines which are not essential to the Christian faith, but are subject to interpretation. But what I love about the Apostles Creed is that if a room were to be graced with the presence of 12 true Christians they would all no doubt agree with all but point 6. However, I would agree with the creed on point 6 and have given my reasons why in an article published on my enjoyingtheology website.

Cut and paste this link to read the article: http://www.enjoyingtheology.com/Descentofchrist.html

But I suppose the thing which makes the Apostles creed so distinct and excellent, is that it binds together and does not destroy. And most of all, it is about Jesus and what He has done for us.

Advertisements

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment