Sunday, July 02, 2006

What I believe

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
   creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's 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 to the dead.
   On the third day he rose from the dead;
   he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father;
   from there 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. Amen.

***************

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,
   was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
   and became truly human.
   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),
   who with the Father and the Son
   is worshipped 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.

5 comments:

Moffitt the Prophet said...

No Athanasian Creed? :p

byron smith said...

Nup - I wasn't trying to be exhaustive (nor exhausting!).

John Shorter said...

Hey, Byron, would you care to comment on 'catholic' church? I'm trained to believe that it means 'universal', and as such, should be pronounced 'cath-OL-ic', to distinguish it from you-know-what, and thereby to avoid confusion. What proportion of people reciting this part of the creed would you think might in fact be a little confused when they speak this phrase? Love to know your comment on this.

PS while you're at it, I'm the one who's completely in the dark when we use the alternative 'apostolic' church, and I don't like not knowing what I'm saying, and I'm suspicious about the motives behind, and consequences of, the change of wording. Call this 'Part B'. Thanks for your consideration!

byron smith said...

Yep, catholic = universal. Part of believing in the catholicity of the church is saying that God's church is not limited to us here and now. I think it is a very important belief with all kinds of implications (e.g. it helps us avoid uncritically privileging our idiosyncratic local views, whether culturally or temporally local). I'm not sure that there is necessarily a different pronunciation for little 'c' catholic, just the little 'c'.

Using 'apostolic' as an alternative in the Apostle's Creed is accepted by the Sydney Diocese if ministers think that 'catholic' will be too confusing. I think this is silly and we should just educate people on what the word means. It's like giving up the term 'Evangelical' because of some silly Americans who think it is about right-wing politics. In any case, 'apostolic' is used (along with 'one' 'holy' and 'catholic') to describe the church in the Nicene Creed. There are two ways of understanding it. The more traditional way is to regard it as a claim about the historical foundation of the church, that we are attempting to the faithful to the church founded upon the Apostles' teaching. A somewhat novel more recent understanding suggests that it has more to do with being a 'missionary', outward-focussed, sending church ('apostle' = one who is sent). I think the latter meaning is also true, though I take it that the former was intended as the primary connotation of those who put together the Nicene Creed.

As for the effect of this change, 'apostolic' does seem to emphasise the complementary side of the equation to 'catholic'. If 'catholic' is somewhat of an embracing term, 'apostolic' (in the first sense I mentioned) is an exclusive one (i.e. we are not based on new and recent ideas, but on the oldest and original Christianity). Both are needed, but the shift of emphasis may well be significant.

Mike Gantt said...

Why would you believe something that is inconsistent with the New Testament?

The Apostles' Creed is wonderful in many ways but it is non-apostolic when it implies that the Lord did not return when the apostles said He would.