Is the Apostles Creed Christian?



2 Timothy 1:13-14

NASB

13 Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

1 Timothy 3:16

16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:

God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.


Brethren, yes, the creed is Christian, and I believe what it affirms and you do. The Roman Catholic Church didn’t invent it and doesn’t own it. It was a confession of the early Church. Not everything that Rome affirms is wrong (the Deity of Christ), and not everything that uses the word ‘catholic’ (small ‘c’) is Roman Catholic. Since you love the truth, I encourage you to read the linked article by Phillip Schaff. Though no creed can be complete, the truths the Apostles Creed declares are Biblical. Only the Bible itself is inspired and is the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). 


From: The Creeds of Christendom by Dr. Philip Schaff

Click this link to read the rest of the history of The Apostles Creed.

[Please don’t let the Latin put you off.]

“The Apostles’ Creed, or Symbolum Apostolicum, is, as to its form, not the production of the apostles, as was formerly believed, but an admirable popular summary of the apostolic teaching, and in full harmony with the spirit and even the letter of the New Testament.

Character and Value – As the Lord’s Prayer is the Prayer of prayers, the Decalogue the Law of laws, so the Apostles’ Creed is the Creed of creeds. It contains all the fundamental articles of the Christian faith necessary to salvation, in the form of facts, in simple Scripture language, and in the most natural order – the order of revelation – from God and the creation down to the resurrection and life everlasting. It is Trinitarian, and divided into three chief articles, expressing faith – in God the Father, the Maker of heaven and earth, in his only Son, our Lord and Saviour, and in the Holy Spirit (in Deum Patrem, in Jesum Christum, in Spiritum Sanctum); the chief stress being laid on the second article, the supernatural birth, death, and resurrection of Christ. Then, changing the language (credo in for credo with the simple accusative), the Creed professes to believe ‘the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the remission of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.’ It is by far the best popular summary of the Christian faith ever made within so brief a space. It still surpasses all later symbols for catechetical and liturgical purposes, especially as a profession of candidates for baptism and church membership. It is not a logical statement of abstract doctrines, but a profession of living facts and saving truths. It is a liturgical poem and an act of worship. Like the Lord’s Prayer, it loses none of its charm and effect by frequent use, although, by vain and thoughtless repetition, it may be made a martyr and an empty form of words. It is intelligible and edifying to a child, and fresh and rich to the profoundest Christian scholar, who, as he advances in age, delights to go back to primitive foundations and first principles. It has the fragrance of antiquity and the inestimable weight of universal consent. It is a bond of union between all ages and sections of Christendom. It can never be superseded for popular use in church and school.

At the same time, it must be admitted that the very simplicity and brevity of this Creed, which so admirably adapt it for all classes of Christians and for public worship, make it insufficient as a regulator of public doctrine for a more advanced stage of theological knowledge. As it is confined to the fundamental articles, and expresses them in plain Scripture terms, it admits of an indefinite expansion by the scientific mind of the Church. Thus the Nicene Creed gives clearer and stronger expression to the doctrine of Christ’s divinity against the Arians, the Athanasian Creed to the whole doctrine of the Trinity and of Christ’s person against the various heresies of the post-­Nicene age. The Reformation Creeds are more explicit on the authority and inspiration of the Scriptures and the doctrines of sin and grace, which are either passed by or merely implied in the Apostles’ Creed.”


Brethren, we are indebted to believers who lived before us, and shouldn’t think we can do without their labors and insights. Remember what is said here,  

By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. 

Hebrews 11:4

 


.
“You cannot separate Christianity from its ancient creeds. In fact, every true Christian adheres to the ancient creeds of the church, whether he knows it or not . . . . Creeds are concise doctrinal summaries of the doctrines of Scripture, and are subordinate to Scripture as our only infallible rule for faith and life . . . . If we are true Christians who have put our trust in the Christ of the Bible, it is impossible for us not to affirm the church’s ancient creedal statements on the Bible’s teaching. What’s more, we are living in a day when we must not only affirm them but defend them against the onslaught of heretical teachings about the person and work of Jesus Christ.”
.
Dr. Burk Parsons, Senior Pastor of Saint Andrews Chapel, Sanford, Florida
.

THE APOSTLES’ CREED

“The Apostles’ Creed is the oldest creed of the Christian church and is the basis for others, such as the Nicene Creed, that followed. The Apostles’ Creed, although not written by the apostles, goes back in its oldest form to at least AD 140. 

*The word ‘catholic’ with a lower case ‘c’ refers to the universal church worldwide.”

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 sits 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.


 

 

22 thoughts on “Is the Apostles Creed Christian?

  1. Good Morning, Maria! I understand the information you’ve presented regarding the Apostles’ Creed and agree with quite a bit of it. The statements of the creed are all Scripturally orthodox. However, I’m definitely not a fan of reciting the creed at church and I offer the following reasons in charity.

    When I was a Roman Catholic, I recited the creed with all of the other attendees at mass. Of course, as Catholics, we had our own distinct understandings of the following three lines:

    I believe in…the holy catholic Church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,

    When a Catholic and an evangelical Christian recites these three lines, they are thinking completely different thoughts. We don’t need to analyze the three statements at length because I know you’re already aware of the differences between the two theologies.

    So, yes, the creed is ancient and does contain many of the truths of Biblical Christianity, but it does not state HOW a person becomes a Christian. Because of its ambiguity regarding HOW a person appropriates the gift salvation, the unsaved, quasi-Christian can recite the creed with full confidence.

    The recitation of the Apostles’ Creed, along with the Our Father, is usually one of the centerpieces of ecumenical events because everyone can “agree” on it, although the participants mentally reserve their own distinct interpretations of the three lines I pointed out.

    So, while I’m not an “enemy” of the creed, I don’t think it’s helpful because of its ambiguity involving the three lines I specified and because it does not address HOW a person becomes a Christian. It’s become a tool used by ecumenists and I can do without it.

    I can’t fault any believer who enjoys reciting the creed because it contains no unorthodox beliefs, but in my mind it is not valuable as a “bottom line” faith affirmation within a fellowship because of it ambiguity, because of what it omits, and because it is being used to promote a wide-is-the-way false Christianity.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Maria, here is my comment that I left at Beth’s. It was spurred by one of the commenters.

    Thank you for addressing this, Maria. We need to stop hating the doctrines of men whose study is in the Word and is scripturally correct. If your foundation is to hate men’s doctrines then you won’t believe any of the doctrines taught in scriptures and expounded on by men. So much for needing teachers’ gifts to the Church. Many a false teaching comes by doing our own surmisings on what we have read in God’s Word. Think: Word of Faith, for one. Exercise discernment, yes, but don’t call all creeds and doctrines evil because they don’t come from your own reading and understanding.

    Here is a word in God’s Word:

    Nehemiah 8:8,12 So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense and helped them to understand the reading.…And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.

    Ezra explained the meaning just as Calvin or Luther or any of the Reformers did. The Roman Catholic Church is proof that we need to use discernment and that when that is lacking for years and ages, and the true intent is missing, we need teachers to bring us back and give us understanding of God’s Word.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I can reflect on what it means to recite the apostles creed, just as I can reflect on what it means to sing and know the words of amazing grace. There is a difference and a change in me that I think is noticeably different. Before I started to know Jesus of Nazareth, I just recited the words or sung the hymn, without really knowing what I was saying or singing. Today, I know what I am saying because of the healing that Jesus has brought to my head and to my heart. It’s difficult to explain, for even these words are not sufficient, but I do notice the difference from one moment to next (if moments can reflect years in time). 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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