Schaff on the Apostles’ Creed


I believeThis morning, I have been reading The Creeds of Christendom by Philip Schaff. I liked how he eulogized the Apostles Creed in this paragraph. About this creed, Schaff writes:

It is by far the best popular summary of the Christian faith ever made within so brief a space. It still surpasses all later symbols for catechetical and liturgical purposes, especially as a profession of candidates for baptism and church membership. It is not a logical statement of abstract doctrines, but a profession of living facts and saving truths. It is a liturgical poem and an act of worship. Like the Lord’s Prayer, it loses none of its charm and effect by frequent use, although, by vain and thoughtless repetition, it may be made a martyr and an empty form of words. It is intelligible and edifying to a child, and fresh and rich to the profoundest Christian scholar, who, as he advances in age, delights to go back to primitive foundations and first principles. It has the fragrance of antiquity and the inestimable weight of universal consent. It is a bond of union between all ages and sections of Christendom. It can never be superseded for popular use in church and school.

Some protestant denominations have incorporated the Apostles’ Creed into their liturgy. As a result, many of my readers are likly to have memorized this creed as children.

Having grown up in anti-liturgical Baptist churches, I was not exposed to The Apostles’ Creed until I was an adult. It is a shame since, as Schaff points out, it is an excellent summary of the facts on which the Christian faith is based.

One of my New Year’s resolutions will be to memorize this creed. If you would like to join me in this, here is an English translation of the creed (via Wikipedia)

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 again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and 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.