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

 


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“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.”
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Dr. Burk Parsons, Senior Pastor of Saint Andrews Chapel, Sanford, Florida
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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.


 

 

Cloud of witnesses – Cyril Lucaris, Patriarch of Constantinople

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Cyril Lucaris, Patriarch of Constantinople, public domain, via WikimediaWe believe that man is justified by faith, not by works. But when we say ‘by faith,’ we understand the correlative of faith, viz., the Righteousness of Christ, which faith, fulfilling the office of the hand, apprehends and applies to us for salvation. And this we understand to be fully consistent with, and in no wise to the prejudice of, works; for the truth itself teaches us that works also are not to be neglected, and that they are necessary means and testimonies of our faith, and a confirmation of our calling. But, as human frailty bears witness, they are of themselves by no means sufficient to save man, and able to appear at the judgment-seat of Christ, so as to merit the reward of salvation. The righteousness of Christ, applied to the penitent, alone justifies and saves the believer.

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Cyrillus Lucaris (Kyrillos Loukaris)

Christian Classics Ethereal Library: Creeds of Christendom, Philip Scaff, Volume 1, The Confession of Cyril Lucar, A.D. 1631

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The following is the short bio of Cyril found in The Pilgrim Church by E. H. Broadbent (Gospel Folio Press, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1999, pp. 334-335).

“The Greek Orthodox Church differed from the Roman Catholic Church in that it had not gone through any experience comparable to the Reformation, but an attempt to introduce the principles of the Reformation into it was made, and that in the highest quarters. Cyril Lucas, a native of Crete, was known as the most learned man of his day. He was made successively Patriarch of Alexandria (1602) and of Constantinople (1621). It was he who discovered on Mount Athos a fifth century MS. which was then the oldest Greek Bible known. He sent it from Alexandria to Charles I, King of England, and it is in the British Museum, known as the Codex Alexandrinus. While still Patriarch of Alexandria, Cyril began a careful comparison of the doctrines of the Greek, Roman, and Reformed churches with the Scriptures and decided to leave the Fathers and accept the Scriptures as his guide.

“Finding the teaching of the Reformers more in accordance with the Scriptures than those of the Greek or Roman churches, he published a Confession in which he declared himself in many respects one with the Reformers. ‘I can no longer endure,’ he said, ‘to hear a man say that the comments of human tradition are of equal weight with Holy Scripture.’ He vigorously denounced the doctrine of transubstantiation and worship of images. He taught that the one true Catholic Church must include all the faithful in Christ, but, he said, there are visible churches in different places at different times. These are capable of error and the Scriptures are given as an infallible guide and authority to which we must always return; so he commended the constant study of Scripture, which the Holy Spirit will enable those who are born again to understand as they compare one part of it with another.

“Such teachings coming from such a source excited great discussion and Cyril Lucas was involved in strenuous conflict. Five times he was banished and as often recalled. The Sultan’s Grand Vizier trusted and supported him, but this, while enabling him to keep his position, injured his testimony, as it was felt to be incongruous that a Christian teacher should depend for support on a Muslim politician. At a synod of the Greek Church held in Bethlehem, a general confirmation of the old order in the Orthodox Church was reached, deprecating reform. But the most effective opposition to this Greek Reformer came from the Latin Church, which through Jesuit intrigues repeatedly hindered his work, and at last by misrepresenting him in his absence to the Sultan Amurath, as this latter was marching on Baghdad, obtained a hasty order for his death. He was strangled with a bowstring in Constantinople and his body cast into the sea. After his death, synod after synod condemned his doctrines.”

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Cyril Lucaris – bio in Britannica.com

Codex Alexandrinus (A) at bible-researcher.com

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