The Church Creeds
 

APOSTLES’ CREED

Despite its name, the Apostles’ creed was not written by any of the twelve original apostles.  It is called the Apostles’ creed because it is a concise summary of what the original apostles of Jesus Christ taught with respect to Christian doctrine.  While the creed as a whole is not found in the Bible, every statement quotes or summarizes a sentence or concept from Scripture.  It is believed to have been composed somewhere around 150 A.D.  It is divided into three parts that describe God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

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

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again.

He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again 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
 

You will hear us repeat this creed frequently – almost every Sunday – at Our Saviour’s Church because it gives us a chance to say out loud, agree upon, and remind ourselves of what it is that we believe.  It has been used by Christians for centuries, and in repeating it, we sense a connection with our ancestors and the saints before us.

We are a Lutheran church, but it is not only Lutherans who acknowledge this creed (in fact, it pre-dates the birth of Martin Luther and Protestantism).  While every denomination seems to have some unique viewpoints on certain matters of faith, we consider it a blessing that Anglicans, Congregationalists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Roman Catholics all continue to use this ancient expression of our core beliefs. 

THE NICENE CREED

The Nicene Creed was adopted by the Council of Nicea (modern-day Iznik, Turkey), when the church elders of the early fourth century assembled to deal with the growing prevalence of “pseudo-Christian” faiths such as Gnosticism.  Gnosticism, from the Greek word meaning “knowledge,” taught that there were secret teachings of Christ not found in the four gospels of the Bible.  They also believed that Jesus was a “spirit being” and denied that he was truly a man.  This led to a host of peculiar and mystical interpretations of the gospel that became increasingly ungrounded in the historical truth of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  (Curiously, we are finding a resurgence of this train of thought in the current New Age movement and individuals who claim to “channel” Christ.}

The Nicene Creed is more specific on the divinity of Christ and emphasizes that although he was born a man in first century Palestine, Jesus had in fact pre-existed with God the Father from the very beginning.  (This is stated quite clearly in the first chapter of John’s gospel.)

Here at Our Saviour’s we recite the Nicene Creed much less frequently, primarily because it is longer and not as widely recognized.  As Lutheran Christians, we affirm its truth, along with Roman Catholics and most mainline Protestant denominations. 

Please feel free to “fact check” these statements with reliable books and online resources if you want to dig deeper.  We hope this answers your questions.