The Value of Creeds

When someone thinks of God, that is, to use the word “God,” any number of ideas may come into their minds that may or may not reflect who God really is. If you asked Oprah who God is, you’ll likely get a very different answer from orthodox Christianity the longer she speaks.

Unfortunately, people like Oprah exert a great deal of influence on what people think about God. The God of modern America is a Santa Clause who doesn’t want me to experience much pain but does want me to be happy. Thus, the right thing to do in most situations is to follow the path that seems, on the surface at least, to make me most happy. This sort of God values equality the most, accepts people along similar lines of an Equal Opportunity Employer who doesn’t discriminate based on sex, race, gender identity, and so on.

This is nothing new. From the very inception of the Christian faith after Jesus ascended the opponents have had their knives drawn to carve up Christianity however they could. How did the church respond? How did they try to express who the true Jesus was apart from the deceptions? We needed a brief and concise statement of beliefs that unify us and demonstrate specifically what it is we believe. These statements, or creeds, are centered upon the person of God and his redemptive work through Jesus Christ.

Creeds function like a spiritual address. If you want to know where to find someone, you need their address. Although God is omnipresent, that doesn’t mean that all religions lead to God. God lives at his address. God’s address is the apostle’s creed, which goes to great lengths to separate the correct beliefs about God from the incorrect ones. It is a systematic theology in 60 seconds or less. For believers who don’t go to seminary, or perhaps can’t even read, God’s address can be memorized and recited in a minute. That’s why we value them, memorize them, and recite them. They are the rallying cry of God’s people, a fitting summary of the core beliefs of Christianity.

The Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

the Creator of heaven and earth,

and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven

and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,

whence He shall 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 life everlasting.

Amen.

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