Posts Tagged “Church of England to lead a revival”

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.

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David Cameron: “Revival of Christian Values”

John WycliffeDavid Cameron while giving a speech at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford has attacked the moral decline of Britain and has openly called for a revival of Christian values in England and stated that people should openly proclaim explicit values of Christianity.

He also presented critique of the ideas that claim that by standing up for Christian values, we do somehow put down other “faiths”.

He also hailed the King James Bible.

Despite the distinctive observation that the word “faiths” is a historical fallacy concocted by political minds, the word ‘Religions’ is a better description, Cameron rightly spoke against Islamic extremism and claimed that an “almost fearful, passive tolerance of religious extremism” has resulted in Islamic Extremism to remain unchallenged.

One of the things which stands out regarding Cameron’s speech is that he spoke of a “revival” of Christian values and England certainly needs reform and a Christian awakening.

England is forgetting her own history.

Reform is certainly in the air and would involve a new Reformation and a restoration of Truth. But before a reformation of this nature could begin, the Church must get her own house in order first. And since Cameron said this to the Church of England, that is the context and this would call for reform within the Church of England, who has neglected the Bible in favour of passing trends, cultural pursuasions and theological windrushes.

It would be hypocrisy and a burying of ones head in the sand to imagine that the Church of England is in a good way, but there is always hope of reform.

Likewise there is always hope of a Christian awakening within the hearts of the people, but the Church and Parliament must get their own house in order first and remove the plank of wood that is in their own eye, before they can attempt to even suggest that their are splinters within anothers eye. In other words, you cannot expect the people to respect or embrace Christianity and Parliament, if much of Christianity and Parliament has become a harlot. People will not listen to anyone if they do not practice what they preach and the Church and the houses of Parliament of today have not presented themselves without fault.

However there is hope that things can change and it is out of hope that charity is born for without love and charity, ministers and politicians can give speeches all day long, but if they have not charity, they “become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13: 1

And as Paul says, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth” 1 Corinthians 13: 1-8

Will Parliament be willing to seek a restoration of Christian values within England while at the same time feeding the poor of England? Or will it offer a restoration of certain morals only? Is Cameron being genuine at all, or is he just playing a voting game, using Christianity to gain popularity?

If he is being genuine in then I humbly suggest that we must go all the way with this or not at all.

However, regarding Camerons speech, it is interesting to note that in this very same Cathedral that he gave this speech, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer was publicly “degraded” in 1556 and in the 1720’s John and Charles Wesley were ordained as Priests in the Church of England.

Thus, just as great awakenings and reform did come in times past through the church, they can also do so once again in the future.

Thus, these three remain, “Faith, hope and charity” 1 Corinthians 13: 13.

Simon Peter Sutherland
17th December 2011

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