The history of the Christian church is long and filled with twists and turns. Its legacy is full of people like Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Bonhoeffer, Lewis, and Tozer. A sweeping glance reveals the rise of different theologies and doctrines where everyone differs in belief on things like baptism, the role of women in church and works – just to name a few.
Despite all of these things, there are tenants of faith that ring true through the years. These tenants of faith reinforce the persons of the Trinity, the truth of Scripture and the promises of the life to come. They are our creeds.
These creeds are important because they came about through times of profound dissent and argument about many things regarding Christianity. They were also a way to fight false doctrine that was seeping into the church. Leaders came together, attempted to set aside differences and created wrote statements of faith that we still recite today. They are a part of the fabric of our faith.
One of the most recited creeds in the history of the church is The Apostle’s Creed. It says:
“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 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; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.”
The time of origin around the creed is a bit uncertain. Most historians agree that the creed was written as something early Christians were required to recite after baptism and reception into the church. However, they have been unable to trace back to its exact creation. There are mentions of the creed as early as A.D. 390, and we do know that the doctrine was solidified under Constantine in the eighth century.
While the dates of origin might not be clear, what is clear is that this creed is a robust statement of Biblical truth. When we recite it, it is clear that it reinforces absolute truths of the Christian faith.
God the Father is Maker of heaven and earth (Genesis 1:1).
Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16).
The Holy Spirit is alive and He who Jesus promised to us (John 16:13-15)
John admonishes those who read his first letter to, “Let that what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and the Father.”
While it is not Scripture, when we examine the words of the Apostle’s Creed against the Word of God, may it solidify within the Church what we know to be true from Scripture. And may these words ignite within us a deeper desire to know what the Word of God tells us about the Triune God and the great salvation given to us through Jesus Christ.