January 3, 2023 – This I Believe – What is a Creed?

The next little while, we’ll be looking at the Apostles’ Creed.  You can find it below. And, if you’d not, I’d encourage you to memorize it.  It’s a great thing for all of us to have committed to memory: 

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,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and 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.

The Apostles’ Creed finds its roots in the “Old Roman Creed.”  This statement of faith is believed to have originated and predates the Nicene Creed.  This Creed has been in use from the very earliest days of the church.   

I want to talk about the difference between a “creed” and an “affirmation of faith” or “statement.”  If you look in the United Methodist Hymnal, in the back, you’ll find all of these.  A Creed is a historical statement of belief that is ecumenical, meaning that it is historically accepted by all Christians.  The Apostles’ Creed goes back to the 100s, and the Nicene Creed goes back to 381.  The other statements in our hymnal are either much more modern (A Modern Affirmation) or have their foundation in a single denomination (A Statement of Faith of the Korean Methodist Church).  So, Creeds are historic and universally accepted, and the others more modern and come from specific places.  

When you look at the Creed, you’ll see three distinct movements, each tied to a person of the Holy Trinity.  I believe in God the Father Almighty. . . Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord, . . . . the Holy Spirit.  You see, from the very beginning the Creed is a Trinitarian belief. The Holy Trinity is not something tacked onto our faith, something of no great importance; it is the very foundation of “orthodoxy” or correct Christian doctrine.  Much of the purpose of this and the other Creeds is to explain the Holy Trinity’s vital importance.  

We believe in a God that is Three in One, a God of Trinity.  Everything we believe about who God is flows from this belief.  While we do not understand all this means, we believe it. And as we talked about yesterday, this belief is making us.  

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