When I was sixteen I was confirmed in the Church of England. Preparation for the event included learning and reciting ‘The Apostles’ Creed, which goes as follows:
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 descended into hell;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
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.
This has stuck with me ever since, but at the time of my confirmation I did not understand or realise the deep significance of these words based on the doctrines of the Bible. Now I have a better insight to them through the revelation of the Holy Spirit; for unless one has been born of the Spirit (John 3:3-8), a person is unable to discern things of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-16). By God’s grace through faith in His Son (Ephesians 2:8, 9), and by the revelation of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10), I have a better understanding of all parts of the Creed.
As stated at the *inception of this blog, I put no faith in creeds and confessions of faith, because they are devised by men and not by God. Men are open to error and their hearts cannot be trusted (Proverbs 28:26). Only the Bible itself can be trusted, but even with the Bible, one has to be wary because some translations fall short of the original, and most ancient sources of the texts. However, I feel I can make an exception with the Apostles’ Creed, because as far as I can ascertain it agrees entirely with the Bible, and it is a great summary of the Bible’s main doctrines.
Clarification of the Creed
A few points may need clarification; for example, the Holy Ghost, in modern translations of the Bible, is the Holy Spirit. Hell is the place the Bible calls **Sheol. The Holy Catholic Church is the true church of God, which is comprised of all believers; the term does not refer to the Roman Catholic Church, per se. The communion of saints is the fellowship or active relationship that believers have with God (Genesis 18:17-33; Exodus 33:9-11; Numbers 12:7, 8) and with Jesus (John 14:23). Believers commune or have fellowship with one another (Ephesians 4:1-6). They also meet with Jesus when remembering Him (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) at communion. This meeting is a special ‘communion’ that is commonly known as, ‘The Lord’s Supper’ (v 20).
The Apostles’s Creed an Exception
In view of the accord of the Apostles’ Creed with the Scriptures, I have made it an exception to other creeds and confessions of faith, and I recommend it to all Christians. I suggest they should memorise it as an aide-memoire for use when they find themselves in difficult situations.
Let me explain: There are times when we can be hard-pressed because of the occurrences of traumatic, unexpected happenings. We may find ourselves stressed, even threatened for our very lives. Under those circumstances we may find verbalising meaningful prayers difficult. Even the simplest task such as recalling *** the Lord’s Prayer to help us focus on Him might not be easy. Likewise, shooting out simple ‘arrow’ prayers to God could be difficult because of the distractions of the moment, but we may be able to recall to mind The Apostles’ Creed. This could help remind and reassure us of our faith in the Almighty God (Genesis 35:11) – the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in Jesus Himself in whom we have peace (Philippians 4:6, 7).
*An Extract from:
‘The Fallibility of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith?’
‘Each one of us who worships the Lord has a responsibility to seek the truth contained within the Bible. We must use our reasoning in like manner to that of the Bereans who diligently searched the Scriptures to ascertain the truth. (Acts 17:11) The answer for us is to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth as we study the Bible. (John 16:13) By relying on fallible Confessions of Faith we can be led astray. We must rely on God’s Word alone; appropriate it and live it in the Truth, i.e. for Jesus to His glory. We must abide in Him. (John 15:4, 5). We should not put our faith in men, but trust Jesus and His infallible Word. (1 Timothy 4:10).’
***The Lord’s Prayer