Nearly 25 years ago, I stumbled upon (as a Christian I prefer to say that I was led to acquire) and purchased a copy of a book entitled The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Dr. Stephen Covey. This book had a profound impact on my life.
Dr. Covey put forth the idea that one should live their life based on “principled-centered living” and not by being moved and tossed about by the “tyranny of the urgent.” Mr. Covey suggested that men and women should write down personal mission statements or “creeds” that would act as a compass and/or a “North Star” to guide them on what they deem to be the most important goals and objectives of their lives.
Well, this past week, I found myself meditating upon one of the most important documents in the history of the Christian Church: The Apostles Creed.
Just what is The Apostles Creed?
What is a “creed?”
The word creed is a Latin term which literally means, “I believe.”
The earliest believers or disciples (committed students, followers, and learners) of the risen HEBREW MESSIAH – we know Him as JESUS CHRIST –placed their faith in the reality of His Person and in His Resurrection.
The early disciples gathered together in what was known as the ekklesia; this is a Greek word– “ekklēsía which literally means (ek, “out from and to” and kaléō, “to call”) – properly, people called out from the world and to God, the outcome being the Church (the mystical body of Christ) – i.e. the universal or catholic (total) body of believers whom God calls out from the world and into His eternal kingdom [Strong’s Concordance of The Holy Bible].
As time went by, these early disciples gathered together for weekly worship services in what we today call The Church.
The believers in the “Risen Messiah” realized that it was important for themselves and for future generations to commit to both their memory and lifestyle practice important truths about The Messiah they embraced and about His ongoing Life and Mission through His Church (the ekklesia or the people called out of the world and unto GOD).
One of the earliest creeds that the early church recited was known as “The Rule of Truth” or “The Rule of Faith.” In time these two rules or creeds developed into what we have come to know as The Apostles Creed.
The traditional version of the Apostles Creed reads as follows:
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.
Did you notice the “Trinitarian nature” of The Apostles Creed?
The word Trinity means three.
The great Church Father Tertullian used the term “tri-unity” to describe the reality of GOD The Father and GOD The Son and GOD The Holy Spirit as ONE GOD in THREE Distinct PERSONS.
The profound Christian theologian Dr. Norman Geisler teaches us that when mediating upon The Trinity that it is important to remember One What and Three Who’s.
- The One What means that We Worship One GOD who is the same in Unity and Essence or Nature (His Divine Attributes or Perfections).
- The Three Who’s represent GOD The Father and GOD The Son and GOD The Holy Ghost (Spirit).
As Christians (or believers in The Risen Messiah), we Do Not Worship Three Gods: we Worship One GOD in Three Distinct Persons.
The Apostles Creed states that –
o I believe in God the Father Almighty…
o And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord…
o I believe in the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit).
Over the next several weeks, we are going to review together the essential truths of the Apostles Creed; truths that have been essential to the nourishment and growth of The Christian Church for nearly 19 centuries (since approximately the middle part of the 2nd Century A.D – approximately 140 A.D.)!
It is my prayer that GOD Almighty will bless us richly as we explore and seek to put into practice the tremendous truths about GOD The Father and GOD The Son and GOD The Holy Spirit that we will receive while we study this great and wonderful Holy Creed.
Amen and Amen and Amen and Amen and Amen!