Do you know what the oldest statement of the Christian faith outside the Bible might be? It is called the Apostle’s Creed. Its earliest form would have been a verbal set of questions used at baptisms in Rome around A. D. 120. By A.D. 215 the first written version had been created in order to clarify the basic tenets of the Christian faith. While the apostles, Jesus’ disciples, did not write it, all of the statements came directly from what they believed and taught. The writers of the New Testament clearly warned those early churches about the probability of false prophets. They would be teachers, often with a very passionate or charismatic personality, who either preached a “gospel” that added to the message of Jesus or subtracted from the truths about His identity and deity or His death and resurrection.
Today churches and Christian organizations usually write their own “statement of faith” in one way or another. Often members and employees will be asked to subscribe to the credo in order to ensure that everyone is in agreement with their basic doctrines or beliefs. Ultimately, of course, it is important to remember that “no creed is the ultimate source of authority. Only the written Word of God, which was inspired by God, is entirely trustworthy.* It is quite amazing that the Apostle’s Creed, along with the Nicene Creed (A.D.381), are still read and even memorized by believers around the world. Eliminating the things that are negotiable and practices that are traditions helps to unify believers and clarify what is non-negotiable. It is a starting point for identifying religions, sects, and those who would lead people away from the Biblical message of Jesus.
Here it is: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic (universal) church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
Is this what you believe? Is this your credo? That simply means that you are entrusting all that you are to all that He is!*
*Credo, Ray Pritchard, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 2005