Becoming Orthodox – The Apostle’s Creed

The Apostles’ Creed is the oldest and most popular creed of the church, and has greatly influenced the other creeds and confessions written throughout church history. The Apostles’ Creed is not a direct production of the apostles themselves, but is meant to be understood as a summary of apostolic teaching.

The Apostles’ Creed we have today is not the Creed in its original form. The shorter and older form was known as the Old Roman Creed. It was constructed in Greek around 140 AD and in Latin around 390 AD. The present form of the Apostles’ Creed, which is both longer and more recent, was probably not compiled until the middle of the 5th century, but the message of the two Creeds is basically the same. Initially, the Old Roman Creed was a baptismal confession made by converts at their baptism. In that regard, the Creed served an important need in the early church.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the 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 arose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven, and is seated at 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. Amen. 

Becoming Orthodox – The Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed is the most widely accepted statement of faith among Christian churches. It is used by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran and most Protestant churches. The Nicene Creed was established to identify conformity of beliefs among Christians, as a means of recognizing heresy or deviations from orthodox biblical doctrines, and as a public profession of faith.
The original Nicene Creed was adopted at the First Council of Nicaea in 325.

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, one in Being with the Father.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,

By the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
He suffered, died and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of 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 worshiped 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.

Becoming Orthodox?

What does it mean to be orthodox?
I must confess that when I think of becoming orthodox I think of the Russian Orthodox Churches I visited while in Russia. I also think about sitting in Church History classes and discussing the first church split in 1054 — enough of that history stuff.

The thing is that orthodoxy isn’t a bad thing. Orthodoxy is simply a standard. Something that everyone agrees to in principle. What could be wrong with that?

Apparently the problem is we don’t agree or at least we think we don’t …

We exist in a culture that wants to believe everything is up for debate and can be changed if you want. BUT, there are some truths that won’t be changed. From the beginning of the church there have been disagreements and controversies. Paul spent most of his letters writing to dispel false teachings and settle arguments. Ecumenical Councils met in the early church to write some Creeds that will put down in writing the truth (or orthodoxy) of what we believe. Not everyone always agreed with what was determined as Truth and as a result people leave.

Jesus had people leave Him. Paul had people leave. Peter had people leave. The history of the church is a history of drawing a line in the sand and forcing people to choose. When did tolerance of all things become the story of the Gospel? When did tolerance replace standards? When did God’s love trump God’s holiness?

Jesus said, Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Luke 12:51-53

The church today needs to rediscover it’s orthodoxy. And as we rediscover it, may we hold onto our Orthodoxy as a standard of faith using it to draw lines rather than as a club to harm and destroy.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting some of the Orthodox Creeds of the church.

Take time to consider what is it that you believe?

Does it match up with the standards of the faith that have been handed down to us?

And in those moments of disagreement amongst Christians can we heed these words of wisdom: In the essentials, unity; in the non-essentials, liberty; and in all things charity.

May your orthodoxy bring you closer to God.