The Apostle’s Creed is one of the most ancient non-scriptural formulas of the Christian Faith. With roots going back to the mid second-century, this Creed has filled the lips of believers across languages, countries, and centuries.
The Creed reaches far back into history, yet remains appropriate today because of it’s thoroughly Biblical content and masterful language. Rather than running toward the new and trendy, I am working to slow down in my faith and embrace history.
Some of you may wonder what the point of Creed was, or how it could be useful in your Christian life now. Here are four applications for the Creed in your life:
1. Pledge of Allegiance
We all remember standing of up school or scouts, and reciting the pledge of allegiance to the American flag. Through years of repetition, all of our could still repeat that pledge on command today.
The Apostle’s Creed fits the pledge model. They both carry a similar “I” structure; where the speaker is confessing a personal statement. They both allow the speaker to articulate what they believe and adhere to in this world. Actually, the Creed is quite political. To public confess the creed, you are claiming allegiance to the Divine King.
“I believe in God the Father, Almighty maker of heaven and earth…”
Each morning recite the creed like a pledge of allegiance. Direct your words to God, and recommit to the service of your King.
2. Narrative for your life
The most compelling features of our lives are the stories we believe about ourselves and the world around us. The narrative that you recognize for your life shapes each move you make as you seek to align yourself, or break free from that storyline.
The Gospel is powerful because it articulates a transformative narrative. As you read slowly through the Creed you will notice that it is not filled with theological platitudes, but rather it is telling a story. It begins with God, creation, redemption, resurrection, the church, and ending with the future hope of believers. This is the narrative we want to fill our lives. As we embrace a story of redemption (rather than defeat, anxiety, guilt, or incompetence) your faith finds new life each day.
Consider reading the Apostles Creed in order to craft a new storyline for your life.
3. Discipleship Tool
One of the original uses for the Apostles Creeds was to instruct new believers in the faith. A chief priority for the church was to teach new believers the basics of Christianity. Very quickly in church history, the Creed became a basic outline for what Christians believe.
I hope that you find yourself with opportunities to interact with new believers, perhaps even in a mentoring or discipleship role. If so, think of the Apostle’s Creed as a great outline for the basics of the faith. Take time to walk through the Creed with a new believer, teaching them and elaborating on each line.
Perhaps the most traditional use of the Apostle’s Creed is in the worship service. Over the centuries, church services have incorporated the Creed into service in numerous ways. Reciting the Creed in the gathering of believers is a communal way of expressing the very personal creedal statement.
Some churches will have new baptismal candidates read the Creed before baptism. Other traditions will incorporate it into their weekly scripture reading throughout the service. My home church in Dallas, Texas would read the Creed together before taking The Lord’s Supper – reminding everyone gathered of what we believe before taking the elements. If you are a church leader, consider how you could incorporate the reading the Creed into your worship services.
My first exposure to the Apostle’s Creed was in a Bible College class. At the time I considered it an interesting piece of church history. Yet, over the last few years, I have seen what an excellent tool it is for Christian formation.
Here is a copy of the Creed to get you started today. Apostles Creed PDF