Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Creed~Not Just a Really Cool Band

The Apostles’ Creed

This creed is called the Apostles' Creed not because it was produced by the apostles themselves but because it contains a brief summary of their teachings. It sets forth their doctrine "in sublime simplicity, in unsurpassable brevity, in beautiful order, and with liturgical solemnity." In its present form it is dated no later than the fourth century. More than any other Christian creed, it may justly be called an ecumenical symbol of faith.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic* church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.


I had a very interesting, very brief conversation the other day about the Apostle's Creed.

Person A, speaking of someone else~"They go to one of those super conservative Christian Reformed churches where they say stuff like the thing. You know the 'I believe in God' thing."

Me~"You mean the Apostle's Creed? 'I believe in God the Father. . .'?"

Person A~"Yeah, that thing. I think it's wrong that they put things like that ahead of the Bible."

Me (trying really hard not to call her/him an idiot)~"The creed is a centuries old statement of our shared Christian beliefs. Completely and totally based upon the Bible. I grew up in a very traditional CRC and no one there put it above the Bible."

Person B~"Yeah, I'm glad we don't do that kind of stuff here (my church). The only reason I have even heard of it is from that Rich Mullins song."

Me~"Um, we totally do. Our church's foundation is built upon that creed as a summary of what the gospel teaches. I wish we studied the foundations of our faith more."

Person B~"But people in THOSE churches just recite that stuff from ritual. It doesn't mean anything."

Me~"Perhaps some of them but not the majority. There are lots of people in our church who have no idea what they believe other than that they love Jesus."

Person A~"Isn't that all that matters?"

At this point we were interrupted by someone else and that's where the conversation ended. It has bothered me ever since. Have we really gotten so "back to basics" that loving Jesus is all that matters? "Love the Lord your God" is the very first commandment but do we not have a responsibility to understand what it is God did for us on the cross and how our lives should look in response to that gift? I love my church and it's heart for sharing grace with the people who have not found it yet, BUT I do miss the foundations of my youth. (Good grief, I sound like I'm 80.) I have often blamed my church for their "failure" to teach these things to the new believers who join our church. I really think the blame doesn't really rest on the church leadership completely. Could they do a better job at offering classes and preaching from Lord's Day 1? Absolutely. Can you force people who do not feel it's important to attend? Nope.

I think I have such a hard time understanding this because I am a researcher. I would never make a major change in my life without weeks of Googling and reading and talking to people "in the know." It floors me that people would make a decision to follow God and join a church without understanding what that church teaches or believes. I think that is one of the reasons why lots of churches today struggle with a revolving door membership. People's hearts are touched and they get all excited and join. They don't get involved or deepen their understanding and relationship. So after the novelty of the church thing wears off they are gone~onto the next new thing.

So my question for you is loving Jesus all that matters? My answer? Yes and no.


Anne said...

Ahh..I remember reciting the Apostles Creed everytime I went to church(catholic). Any who....I was thinking along the lines of deeper study, and I think our church relies on Bible Study, small group, and the former Source services as the deeper study. Obviously our small group doesn't dig as deep as we should, but I think we are still reeling from all the events in the last two years. I'm sure we'll get there.
ps..I was one of those who recited the Creed from ritual. I can say it backwards and forwards :)

Carol said...

hmmm...all that matters? well, is knowing the apostle's creed my ticket to heaven? no. is knowing Jesus Christ as my Savior? yes. is the apostle's creed a rich and wonderful statement of our faith? yes. does it mean more to me/you than a new believer because of the traditional trigger/value? perhaps. could it sound like a ritualistic sputtering of words with no meaning to some people? perhaps. I think if it matters to you, that's wonderful. If it doesn't to someone else, you can tell them why it means much to you, but we musn't be judgmental based on ignorance.

Mommy Brain said...

Do you want to go to seminary with me? What I hear you saying is that it makes you sad, upset, uncomfortable that today's church doesn't teach it's members to have a deeper understanding of their faith...not so much a do you believe rather the why of what you believe. I wonder why our churches don't do a better job of encouraging or insisting that their members learn to be students of Jesus, students of the Bible...we make everything so easy and simple-and at first it should be but I think the church today is afraid to insist that members go deeper, become accountable, actually learn to practice their faith...that is where my disappointment is...I think I'm hearing you say something similar?

Kary said...

I think this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask. Is loving Jesus enough? Technically, yes, but in a society where we throw around statements like "I love those red shoes", or "I love American Idol", or "I love chocolate", or "I love Jesus". . .well, we better be sure we are asking this question. Loving Jesus is more than a warm fuzzy we get from a great praise team or an eloquently spoken sermon. It coming to a true understanding of who we are and who He is, and what it was He did for us because He LOVES us. In this world gone wild we had better be prepared to give an answer to what we believe. . .new believer or not.
Personally, I don't think Jen was being judgmental at all. She was displaying a zealousness for Christ and His church. We need more of that.

Jen said...

To clarify~

I was not speaking of people who are new and DESIRE to learn more. I was more showing my frustration with folks who do not have that desire to understand the depth of Jesus's work and teachings.

I wasn't clear on that point~sorry.

Leenie said...

Yep--Right there w/ Anne-Can recite upside down, backwards and forwards. I do miss reciting this at Church. Although it was aweful to memorize in grade school, you start to understand the true meaning of it as an adult. I even miss reciting some of the other prayers like the Lord's Prayer. I do also miss the Traditional side of the Catholic services, but love the messages at Crossroads. I know there are times when they mention something that I wish I could understand a little better.

Leenie said...

Oh yeah-- Is Creed still a band? I really haven't heard from them lately:) I always liked their music.

mommy to an angel said...

Shouldn't we all know more about the Amish too?!? hee-hee-hee ha-ha!

Vintage Dutch Girl said...

Hello fellow Dutch Woman!

Found your blog through Musings of A Housewife.

So. I grew up in the CRC church as well, and I LOVE reciting the Apostles Creed every Sunday in church.

It still blows my mind that there are Christians who think that as long as they "love Jesus" it is all that matters.

God created us to SERVE HIM. Not to just "love Him". We are saved to do HIS work and glorify HIM, not to feel loved.

Looks like you have a wonderful opportunity to serve Him by talking with Person A a bit deeper...and I KNOW, easier said than done, right?! :)

Remember, Christ speaks THROUGH you!



mommy to an angel said...

In all honesty, I'd actually have to say loving Jesus isn't ALL you need, but you definitely don't have to know the entire backgroud of the church you are a member at. Sure I'd love to know more about Crossroads, but I became a member there because it was a church that Brian felt comfortable with and I would have gone to any bible believing church to get him to go - I wouldn't have cared if that meant I had to dance with snakes - I was going where he felt comfortable and wanted to go - in the end, Brian accepted Jesus into his heart and has changed so much in the 3+ years of going to Crossroads...That's what I think is important! I'm more concerned that the church we attend teaches from the bible, not necessarily what their background is. I think that the desire to learn more comes with time - is it something that is necessary to join a church? Nah!

Amy said...

I am about as CRC as you can get (PK, former youth director, pastor's wife) and in a somewhat conservative CRC.

There is actually a trend starting where churches are offering "Catechism" for adults. It's a similar curriculum that we all had to take in junior high or high school. I think people are realizing that while expecting young people to memorize all the Q & A's is unrealistic, we've probably swung too far the other way. Does people really know what it means to be Reformed?

I graduated from Kuyper College (formally RBC) and there always seemed to be conflict between the "I just love Jesus" people and the deep theological thinkers. My first year the "I just love Jesus" people seemed greater in numbers and louder in voices...sometimes it got to be so much I felt like throwing up. It's like the parable of the seeds. Without depth, you're tossed about by the wind and have no roots.

Megan said...

last I heard Creed broke up. The lead singer (Scott Staph?) got a divorce and then made a sex tape with Kid Rock and some groupies! Looks like he has lost his path!!