Apostles' Creed

From New World Encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


The Apostles' Creed

The Apostles' Creed (Latin: Symbolum Apostolorum) is an early statement of Christian belief, that is widely accepted in western Christianity. It is used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, especially during the rite of Baptism. Specific groups using the creed include the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, Lutheranism, the Anglican Communion, and Western Orthodoxy. It is also used by evangelical Protestant denominations such as Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists and many Baptists.

The Apostles' Creed was esteemed as an example of the apostles' teachings. Its name comes from its twelve articles, which are believed to have been written by the Twelve Apostles, each of whom allegedly contributed one article under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit after Pentecost.

The theological specifics of this creed appear to have been originally formulated as a refutation of Gnosticism, an early heresy. The creed states that Christ suffered and died on the cross, which contradicts Gnostic claims that Christ did not really suffer and die but only appeared as if he did. Because of its early origin, the creed does not address some Christological issues defined in the later Nicene and other Christian Creeds. This makes it acceptable to many Arians and Unitarians.

Contents

Origin of the Creed

Many hypotheses exist concerning the date, nature, and origin of the Apostles' Creed. It was apparently developed from what scholars have identified as "the Old Roman Symbol" of the first or second century and influenced later by the Nicene Creed (325/381). However, some historians place its origin as late as fifth century Gaul.

The earliest known concrete historical evidence of the creed's existence, as it is currently titled ("Symbolum Apostolicum"), is a letter of the Council of Milan (390) to Pope Siricius (here in English):

"If you credit not the teachings of the priests… let credit at least be given to the Symbol of the Apostles which the Roman Church always preserves and maintains inviolate."[1]

The earliest appearance of the present Latin text was in the De singulis libris canonicis scarapsus ("Concerning the Single Canonical Book Scarapsus") of St. Priminius (Jacques Paul Migne, Patrologia Latina 89, 1029 ff.), written between 710-724 C.E.[2]

Text of the Creed

Latin text

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae. Et in Iesum Christum, Filium Eius unicum, Dominum nostrum, qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus, descendit ad ínferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis, ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis, inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos. Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem, remissionem peccatorum, carnis resurrectionem, vitam aeternam. Amen.[3]

Greek text

Πιστεύω εἰς θεòν πατέρα παντοκράτορα, ποιητὴν οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς. Καὶ εἰς Ἰησοῦν Χριστòν, υἱὸν αὐτοῦ τòν μονογενῆ, τòν κύριον ἡμῶν, τòν συλληφθέντα ἐκ πνεύματος ἁγίου, γεννηθέντα ἐκ Μαρίας τῆς παρθένου, παθόντα ὑπὸ Ποντίου Πιλάτου, σταυρωθέντα, θανόντα, καὶ ταφέντα, κατελθόντα εἰς τὰ κατώτατα, τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἀναστάντα ἀπò τῶν νεκρῶν, ἀνελθόντα εἰς τοὺς οὐρανούς, καθεζόμενον ἐν δεξιᾷ θεοῦ πατρὸς παντοδυνάμου, ἐκεῖθεν ἐρχόμενον κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς. Πιστεύω εἰς τò πνεῦμα τò ἅγιον, ἁγίαν καθολικὴν ἐκκλησίαν, ἁγίων κοινωνίαν, ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν, σαρκὸς ἀνάστασιν, ζωὴν αἰώνιον. Αμήν.[4]

English Translations

The Roman Catholic Church

The English version in the Catechism of the Catholic Church maintains the traditional division of the Creed into twelve articles, presenting it as follows:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again 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.[5]

The Church of England

In the Church of England, there are currently two authorized forms of the creed: one found in the Book of Common Prayer (1662) and that of Common Worship (2000).

Book of Common Prayer

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 Catholick Church; The Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body, And the life everlasting. Amen.

Common Worship

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his 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 into hell.
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.

The United Methodist Church

The United Methodists commonly incorporate the Apostles' Creed into their worship services. The version that is most often used is located at #881 in the United Methodist Hymnal, one of their most popular hymnals with a heritage to John Wesley, founder of Methodism. The United Methodist Version is notable for omitting the line "he descended into hell," but is otherwise very similar to the Book of Common Prayer version. The 1989 Hymnal has both the traditional version and the ecumenical version, which includes "he descended to the dead."

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 Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth 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 Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

The United Methodist Hymnal also contains (at #882) what it terms the "Ecumenical Version" of this creed—a version which is identical to that found in the Episcopal Church's current Book of Common Prayer. This form of the Apostles' Creed can be found incorporated into the Eucharistic and Baptismal Liturgies in the Hymnal and in The United Methodist Book of Worship, and hence it is growing in popularity and use.

Ecumenical version of the English Language Liturgical Consultation

The English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC) is an international ecumenical group whose primary purpose is to provide ecumenically accepted texts for those who use English in their liturgy. In 1988, it produced a translation of the Apostles' Creed, distinguished among other things by its avoidance of the word "his" in relation to God. The text is as follows:

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.[6]

Liturgical use in Western Christianity

The liturgical communities in western Christianity that derive their rituals from the Roman Missal, use the Apostles' Creed and interrogative forms of it in their rites of Baptism, which they consider to be the first sacrament of initiation into the Church. Such liturgical communities include Roman Catholics, Anglicans/Episcopalians, and Lutherans.

Roman Catholic Rite of Baptism

An interrogative form of the Apostles' Creed is used in the Rite of Baptism (for both children and adults). The minister of baptism asks the following questions (International Commission on English in the Liturgy, 1974):

Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth?
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?

To each question, the catechumen, or, in the case of an infant, the parents and sponsor(s) (godparent(s)) in his or her place, answers "I do." Then the celebrant says:

This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. We are proud to profess it, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And all respond: Amen.

Roman Catholic Profession of Faith at Mass

The Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed is given first place in the text of the Roman Missal; but "the baptismal symbol of the Church of Rome, called the Apostles' Creed" may be used in its place, "especially in Lent and Eastertide" (Ordinary of the Mass, 19). The latter Creed is generally preferred also at Masses for children.

Episcopal Church (USA)

The Episcopal Church uses the Apostles' Creed as a Baptismal Covenant for those who are to receive the Rite of Baptism. Regardless of age, candidates are to be sponsored by parents and/or godparents. Youths able to understand the significance of the Rite may go through the ritual speaking for themselves. Younger children and infants rely on their sponsors to act upon their behalf.

1. The celebrant calls for the candidates for Baptism to be presented.

2. The catechumen or sponsors state their request for Baptism.

3a. If the catechumen is of age, the celebrant will ask him or her if he or she desires Baptism, which the catechumen will state he or she says "I do."

3b. If the candidate relies on sponsors, the celebrant asks them if they will raise the child in "the Christian faith and life" (ECUSA BCP), and will raise the child through "prayers and witness to grow into the full stature of Christ" to which the parents will state to each, "I will, with God's help."

4. A series of questions are then asked, to which the reply is always "I renounce them":

Do you renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God?
Do you renounce the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God?
Do you renounce all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God?

5. The second half of the query is asked, to which the reply is always "I do":

Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior?
Do you put your whole trust in his grace and love?
Do you promise to follow and obey him as your Lord?

6. The Apostle's Creed is then recited in three parts symbolizing the Three Persons of the Trinity.

Notes

  1. For more information on the origin of the Apostles' Creed, see the detailed discussion in the Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 11, 2008.
  2. J. N. D. Kelly Early Christian Creeds (Longmans, Green & Co, 1972), 398-434.
  3. Apostles' Creed Retrieved February 11, 2008.
  4. Apostles' Creed Retrieved February 11, 2008.
  5. Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church
  6. ElCA Worship Retrieved February 11, 2008.

References

  • Briscoe, Stuart. The Apostles' Creed (Foundations of the Faith) . Shaw, 2000. ISBN 978-0877880523
  • Cole, C Donald. All You Need to Believe: The Apostles's Creed (Foundations of the Faith) Moody Publishers, 1993. ISBN 978-0802430533
  • International Commission on English in the Liturgy et al. Roman Missal. HarperCollins, 1974. ISBN 0-00-599505-1
  • Kelly, J. N. D. Early Christian Creeds, Continuum International Publishing, 2006. ISBN 978-0826492166
  • Philip, G. Apostles Creed. Evangelical Press, 1990. ISBN 978-1871676389
  • Triglot Concordia. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921.

External Links

All links retrieved October 24, 2012.


Credits

New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards. This article abides by terms of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3.0 License (CC-by-sa), which may be used and disseminated with proper attribution. Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation. To cite this article click here for a list of acceptable citing formats.The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here:

Note: Some restrictions may apply to use of individual images which are separately licensed.

Research begins here...
Share/Bookmark