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Creeds of Christianity

Here we look at some important
statements of faith within Christianity.

cross What is a Creed ?

The word 'Creed' is derived from the Latin word credo, meaning 'I believe'. The Creeds therefore, are summaries of belief. Particularly in the first few hundred years after the death of Christ, the church faced the problem of differing views over such subjects as whether he was truly God and also whether he had both a human or divine nature. Out of these disputes the church formulated statements of belief, which to this day form an important part of how Christians express their faith. We now look at three important creeds that give a summary of Christian belief.

cross The Apostles Creed

This creed is probably the earliest of the main creeds used in Christianity today. The name derives from the legend that the twelve apostles of Christ contributed to it, though the earliest form dates from c.215. The creed gives a clear summary of Christian belief and formed the basis for later creeds.

The Apostles Creed

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 catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.

AMEN.


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cross The Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed is the most common creed used in Christianity. Later revised at the council of Constantinople in 381, the creed was originally formulated in 325 at the council of Nicea. At the time the church was struggling with the Arian heresy, which denied that Christ was truly God, but rather that he was a created being. The creed was formulated to repudiate Arianism and clearly states that Christ is eternal and part of the trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

In all branches of Christianity, the creed is widely used today. For example, at each Roman Catholic Mass, it is used as a profession of faith.

The Nicene Creed

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, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again in accordance with 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.

He 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.


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cross The Chalcedonian Creed (Definition)

This creed was formulated at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The council met to resolve the issue of the 'natures' in Christ. The creed states that whilst Christ had two natures (one human, the other divine), they were distinct and Christ was truly one person.

The Chalcedonian Creed (Definition)

Following, then, the holy fathers, we unite in teaching all men to confess the one and only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. This selfsame one is perfect both in deity and in humanness; this selfsame one is also actually God and actually man, with a rational soul and a body. He is of the same reality as God as far as his deity is concerned and of the same reality as we ourselves as far as his humanness is concerned; thus like us in all respects, sin only excepted. Before time began he was begotten of the Father, in respect of his deity, and now in these "last days," for us and behalf of our salvation, this selfsame one was born of Mary the virgin, who is God-bearer in respect of his humanness.

We also teach that we apprehend this one and only Christ-Son, Lord, only-begotten in two natures; and we do this without confusing the two natures, without transmuting one nature into the other, without dividing them into two separate categories, without contrasting them according to area or function. The distinctiveness of each nature is not nullified by the union. Instead, the "properties" of each nature are conserved and both natures concur in one "person" and in one reality. They are not divided or cut into two persons, but are together the one and only and only-begotten Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus have the prophets of old testified; thus the Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us; thus the Symbol of Fathers has handed down to us.



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