Does your church recite a creed during its worship service?
Growing up as a Pentecostal Christian, the churches I attended never did. I was never taught about the historic creeds of our faith. I’m not even sure I ever heard the word creed. Creeds—historic confessions of faith—weren’t valued as part of the ideal worship service. That ideal was all about experience, i.e. feeling an intense emotion, chiefly via music or prayer with music playing.
But, I have come to believe that there are far more valuable and spiritual aspects of biblical worship. For example, a congregational confession of faith using a historic creed or catechism. The creed identifies what we believe, who we belong to, who we hope in, and binds us together as belonging to the one body of Christ.
Each Sunday, the pastor helps the congregation prepare to receive the bread and wine by asking, “Christian, what do you believe?” In response, we often recite the Apostles’ Creed—so much so, that many in the congregation have it memorized. And really, that’s the intent of a creed: to help all believers commit the essentials of biblical faith to memory.
When we recite the Apostle’s Creed it reminds us that we are part of the great story of redemption that encompasses all our lives and all of history since The Garden. My faith is refreshed, and I am often moved with emotion as I consider in my heart and confess with my mouth who God is and what Christ has done.
Do you know the Apostles’ Creed? I encourage you to memorize it and use in your private devotions. Study the truths it holds. Use it in your public worship. Encourage your Christian friends and churches to unite around it.
Here it is:
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, died and was buried.
- He descended into hell.
- On the third day He rose again from the dead.
- He ascended into heaven
- and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
- From thence 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.
If I had been with those who wrote the confession 16-or-so centuries ago, I could wish that I might suggest a minor addition or two:
“What about and Savior after the word, Lord?”
“Should we mention anything about Jesus’ perfect, righteous life?”
If you want to study the Apostles’ Creed to gain a richer understanding of what you’re confessing, read J. I. Packer’s Affirming the Apostles’ Creed. Packer is an emminent and pastoral theologian, and wonderful to read.
We share one faith, one hope, one body of Christ.
May your faith be strengthened today as you believe with your heart and confess with your mouth:
Jesus is Lord.