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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Introduction to the Creeds

Our world and culture can be volatile.  I’m not a pessimist by nature, but it’s also not difficult to allow cynicism to creep in when people who profess the same faith turn on one another in some sort of attempt to show that they are the ‘most’ Christian.  I have some pretty strong feelings about what our communities of faith should look like in the midst of suffering, pain, and disaster; but I want to take a step back, for a moment, to consider the words of (maybe) John Wesley:

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

I’ll be blunt: I think we do a lousy job with all of this, but I am at a loss (in this moment) for what to do about the last two-thirds.  I think part of the problem is that we do not have well defined essentials.  Perhaps we need to return to basic principles on which we all can agree.  I’d like to begin with the creeds.  Over the next several weeks, I will be taking some time to consider the importance of finding a place of unity and how we might move forward from that, in love, even if nothing else lines up.  For this post, the creeds, themselves:

The Apostles Creed:
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 Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into hell;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost;
The holy Catholic Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting.

The Nicene Creed:
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,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with 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.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He 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.


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