Before returning to our Daily Notes in Daniel (Dare to be a Daniel), I would like to do a few Notes on one of the greatest doctrinal statements of the Christian Church known as the Apostles’ Creed.
We might recite this Creed once on a monthly basis in Church or we might recite it every week. Others might be in Churches where it is not recited or even known. Often people rattle off the Creed (or one of the Creeds) in a Church Service and when they get to the end they don’t know what they have read.
It’s much like singing … few actually think through the hymns and spiritual song they sing. Were the words good theology and doctrine, or were they unbiblical? This is why it is important to think through what you sing or read because it indwells the mind in a subliminal way without one knowing it.
Take the song the X Beetle wrote and sang … “My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison. Only until you listen carefully will you hear the background refrain and then the lyrics … “Hare Krishna”. The music and beat is lovely … and people get caught up in it thinking it is a Gospel song where in fact it is totally pagan. Be careful and cautious what you permit to infiltrate your mind because indoctrination is subtle and unsuspecting. That is the devil’s intention. Harrison never declared to the world … “Hey people of the world, I follow Krishna. He is my sweet lord. Listen and sing along with me.” The song and album were made available by a popular artist and … the rest is history.
So as we engage the Apostles’ Creed, my intention is that we grasp sound Biblical doctrine which will help and guide us through life, belief and practice. Here is the Apostles’ Creed …
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 Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, He died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; Christ’s holy universal church; the fellowship of Christians; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.The Apostles’ Creed
1) The first questions we need to confront ourselves with is … What is the Creed to us? … and … What does it mean to us? Initially it seems to have been a tract of membership for those belonging to the Church of the Lord Jesus–not a particular local Church, but rather the Church as in the Kingdom of God. In itself, the Creed is a formula as to what we believe. Some have suggested the Creed is the door handle opening the door to the House of Faith (Christianity).
(1) We need to state that the Apostles did not write or author the Creed. Rather, as you look at it you will see it as a summary of teaching about Christianity … it is a summary of their teaching and preaching.
(2) All the statements made are in doctrinal agreement to the New Testament because every statement is Biblical.
(3) From Church History we are able to trace this Creed to the end of the Second Century but it was only completed in the Fourth Century.
2) The second question we need to ask is … What is the reason for this Creed? Not only did our Lord teach that enemies will seek to infiltrate the Church and not only did the other human authors of the New Testament warn us of this, Church History reveals that as the Church progressed, so enemies of the gospel as well as heresies arose, even infiltrating some Churches. This is factual today as well. The Liberal Gospel and the Liberation Gospel are examples of how the true Gospel was distorted to “trick” and “seduce” people into believing they are Christian because they are Churched, but the doctrine and theology they were and are taught is not Christian Doctrine. It is rather phenomenal how the Holy Spirit gave insight, not only to the Apostles but also to the Church Fathers of the Second to Fourth Centuries to draft a Statement of Faith or a Tract of Christian Belief (doctrine) as concise, yet as accurately reflecting the New Testament’s teaching. Today it is so easy to claim to be a Christian. “I believe in Jesus.” Yet James tells us the demons believe in God and shudder.
Jas 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
In the Early Church those professing Christianity were sifted by whether they acknowledged the doctrines of the Christian Faith as laid out in the Apostles’ Creed and their conformity to it. Maybe this is how we ought to sift true believers from those who say they are but are not. You will notice that when we come to the Lord’s Table we say either the Nicene or Apostles’ Creed, declaring this is what we as individuals believes. Before we baptize or confirm anyone we inquire as to whether they accept the doctrine and theology of the Apostles’ Creed. Before we receive anyone into Church Membership, they are required to believe, accept and practice this Creed.
3) Some Church Grouping refuse to accept this Creed. They say membership is “open and living”. All you need to believe in is “Christ” … yet we read …
1Co 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas’”; still another, “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? 14 I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Who was this “Christ” at the end of verse 12? I agree that the Bible’s message is all about Jesus Christ … as I do agree that the Gospel, God’s Rescue Plan is all about Jesus … but we need to agree on the details of the Bible’s message and the Gospel’s message. Far too many believe they are Christian yet refuse to hold too many of the fundamental doctrines held out in this Creed. Re-read the Creed and decide whether you agree with it.
Father thank You for those Early Church Father who sought a pure Church. Amen.