In recent times, it seems like the classics are making a comeback – and no, we’re not talking about bell-bottom jeans or vinyl records; we’re referring to a renewed fascination with the foundational doctrines found in the Christian Creeds, and in particular, the Apostles’ and the Nicene Creed.
It’s like a breath of fresh air in the Christian community, reminding us that you don’t need a theology degree hanging on your wall to grasp the core tenets of your faith. Indeed, understanding one’s beliefs should be as straightforward as a recipe for toast, not a complex, multi-layered soufflé!
This way, everyone can navigate their faith journey with both confidence and a smile, steering clear of theological potholes that might lead them down a different road altogether. The Apostles’ creed for the most part does that job perfectly, but how does it work together with the Scriptures? It’s obvious which comes first, isn’t it?
In the essential journey of Christian discipleship, we find ourselves nestled between the comforting embrace of ancient creeds and the divine whisperings found within the Scriptures – it is important that we take time to ponder the delicate dance between the Apostles’ Creed and the Scriptures, a dance that invites us into deeper communion with God. The first thing we need to be aware of is the memo from the myth busters – the Apostles’ Creed is not written by the Early Apostles, but more likely, reflection on their teaching and ministry about the great gospel that has transformed our lives. It helps explain what you believe without you unintentionally sounding like a “Jehovah’s Witness!”
The Breath of God in Scripture
The Apostle Paul, in his guidance to Timothy, paints a vivid picture of the divine inspiration of the Scriptures, stating, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16, ESV). This imagery, reminiscent of the Hebrew term “רוּחַ” (ruach), encapsulates the essence of Scripture as a living, breathing entity, infused with the very breath of God. The Word of God is pulsating with life! Karl Barth, the hard-to-read theologian said, “The Holy Scripture must be treated as what it basically is: God’s witness concerning Himself.” This perspective invites us to approach the Scriptures with a reverence that acknowledges its unique position as a direct revelation from God. One cannot speak high enough about scripture, but what about the creeds?
The Apostles’ Creed: A Faithful Witness
Though not divinely inspired in the manner of the Scriptures, the Creeds stand as a faithful witness, a mosaic that paints or pieces together fragments of important scriptural truths into a coherent and beautiful image. They serve as a lighthouse, guiding believers into the profound depths of Christian doctrine, echoing the Spirit-inspired truths encapsulated within the Biblical narrative. C.S. Lewis helpfully explains, “Creeds are not to give us something to believe, but to tell us something we already believe.” As such, the Creeds can be seen as a reflection of the foundational truths that resonate deeply within us, stirring strong convictions that propel or draw us towards a deeper engagement with the Scriptures.
A Springboard to Deeper Exploration
What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us – the creeds, in this sense, serve to shape our understanding of God, directing our minds and hearts towards the profound truths found within the Scriptures.
As we glance at the landscape of Christian doctrine, we must do so with a posture of humility and reverence, holding the Scriptures as our ultimate authority, while also appreciating the role of the creeds in articulating and affirming the timeless truths contained within the sacred text.
There is a lot to learn and ponder over in the Creeds and the Apostles’ Creed is a great starting point with its simplicity and unambiguous appeal, “I BELIEVE!” As one recites the Apostles’ Creed there is a stirring of the heart that calls us to be ever mindful of the nearness of God, who guides us through both the Scriptures – everything in the Creeds point us to God as do the Scriptures, but the full story is found as you unpack the narrative of the Scriptures and see the Work of God in action from Genesis to Revelation. The Creeds can be inspiring, but the Scriptures are formidable and in the old English term, “Awful”, that is, “Full of Awe”
As we consider the Creeds and God’s Words may we echo King David’s exclamation, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105), whilst embracing wholeheartedly the great scriptures that guide us into the presence of the Lord. As we do so remind yourself that the Creeds are there to help you and me remember the God-breathed Scriptures that bring life, inspiration, faith, hope and encouragement to God’s people – they are a too, our ultimate guide.
And the the creeds… are valuable companions on our journey of faith.