1. It is a brief summary of the Christian faith. It was not crafted by the Apostles but it is rooted in their teaching. It was not written originally as a single document. Most of the Church Fathers had their own creedal statements and they were incorporated into what became the Apostles’ Creed as we have it today.
2. The Creed serves an important purpose in those churches that subscribe to the teaching of the reformation. The Christian who knows the Creed knows the basics of what we believe and teach.
3. If you wish to set forth what differs Christianity from other religions, for example Islam or Judaism, the Apostles’ Creed provides an excellent summary of the uniqueness of Christianity.
A. The Creed sets forth the doctrine of the Trinity
- God the Father, is the Creator of all things
- God the Son, is the only Savior
- God the Holy Spirit gives us faith and unites us to Christ
B. The Creed affirms the basic historical facts of the Gospel
- Our Lord’s sinless virgin birth
- His suffering, death and bodily resurrection
- His descent into Hell, His ascent into Heaven
- His return to judge both the living and the dead
C. The Creed affirms the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
- The church: made up of all who have come to Christ, God's elect children.
- The catholicity of the church: the redeemed throughout the whole world.
- The communion of saints: the fellowship the saved have with one another.
- The forgiveness of confessed sin: through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ
- The resurrection of the human body at the time of the return of Christ
- Everlasting life
Because there is great need to summarize the teaching of Scripture and to identify with the faithful who have gone before us, we recite the Apostles’ Creed in the hearing of one another. We need to hear one another saying what we believe – husbands and wives hearing one another, parents and children hearing one another, friends and fellow worshippers, visitors and members, need to hear one another saying what they believe. This affirms us and bonds us in a single Body of Christ, the people of His Kingdom.
May God, by His grace, fill our hearts with joy, every time we recite the Apostles’ Creed, and remind us as we say to one another the ancient words, this is who we are and this is what we stand for!
Wilfred A. Bellamy, Ph.D.