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.
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.