I have been thinking about basics of our faith lately. As a future church planter, probably in a country other than America, it will be imperative that I lay the solid understanding of who God is and what the scriptures teach, especially when I am speaking to a people who have no knowledge of the Word of God.
Creeds can be great tools to help us more fully understand our own faith as well as help others understand it.
A few disclaimers before I post this one… I don’t believe these creeds are divinely inspired, but were tools used to systemize what Christians believed. In the end, the Word of God, the Bible, is our standard.
Secondly, in this creed, many people confuse the word “catholic” to mean Roman Catholic. This is not the case. “Catholic” is a term used to describe the universal “body of Christ”, those who have been “born again” according to John 3:3. These “catholic” believers come from many different camps of Christianity, but none of them are true Christians merely because they cling to one camp or another. They are believers if they have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit (here) and become sons of God by faith in Jesus Christ. (see here).
Another aspect of divergence is in the phrase, “one baptism for the remission of sin.” I personally believe, as do many others, that baptism is an outward sign of an inward act and is done by believers. Infants were never baptized in the New Testament, only those who had the capacity to believe.
Baptism is not what saves us but is a sign of our obedience and commitment to Christ. Just as a ring doesn’t prove that I’m married, but is a symbol of it, so baptism doesn’t mean that I’m saved. With that being said, I believe all those who believe in Christ should be immersed as an act of faith and obedience.
So take a look at this ancient creed and see if your beliefs line up with it or not. Why would you agree or disagree?
“We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, light from light, true God from true God,
begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
By the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
He suffered, died and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures;
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father (and the Son)
Who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.
Who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.”