This I Believe…

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 Spirit, 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 sits 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 Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen!

The Nicene Creed:

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Two creeds…similar, but different…with two differing and opposite reasons for being. The Apostles Creed was formulated to reject the heresy that Jesus Christ only “appeared” to be human, but was not really human. Thus the strong emphasis on His humanity. The Nicene creed was formulated to reject the heresy that Jesus Christ was less-than fully God – a created being, thus the strong emphasis on His deity. Scripture affirms that Jesus Christ IS both fully God AND fully man…the God-Man, one person with two natures, inextricably joined. 

There is one word in both creeds that throws some people – catholic, referring to the church. While I used “Christian” to replace “Catholic” in the Apostles creed, it is written and recited both ways. Many people are familiar only with the “Roman Catholic” church, and assume that is what is being referred to by “Catholic”, however both creeds were formulated long before the Roman Catholic church came into being. What is truly meant by “Catholic” in both creeds is “Christian”, and that is my preferred wording.

There is one word in the Nicene Creed that puzzles me – begotten. In Scripture, with the exception of where it refers to Jesus Christ, “begotten” or “begot” means “sired”, so there are two very different meanings. In typical English usage, I would say that I have “begotten” one son and three daughters, which means that I am the biological father of four kids. I suppose that is one of those questions that will have to wait til I get to heaven before I can get it explained to me. 

God bless!

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3 thoughts on “This I Believe…

  1. Actually, what is typically meant by “catholic” is “universal,” meaning worldwide, applying to everyone, applying for all people at all times in all places. The (Roman) Catholic Church does see itself as this, being valid and relevant for everyone everywhere, but even though it sort of ended up with “catholic” in it’s name, it doesn’t mean it’s not still a valid description of what the Church is in those 4 marks: one (unified), holy (not because we are holy, but because God is holy and he made it), catholic (applying everywhere, for everyone), apostolic (it has been founded with a mission, is “sent out” with a message and work to do).

    Thank you for your blog; you reflect on some really great stuff!

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    • You are quite right brother Dan, and while you and I understand the true meaning of “catholic”, there is a large segment of Christians who can only see ROMAN in front of “catholic”.

      I found that out the hard way. The first time my wife (pentecostal background) went with me to my Presbyterian church, we recited the Apostle’s Creed during the service, and she both saw and heard “catholic” in the creed. After the service, she blew a serious gasket, because she thought that I was actually a Roman Catholic, not a Presbyterian, because we used “catholic” in the creed. It took quite a bit of explaining before I finally convinced her about the true meaning.

      That is why, in my writings, I am trying to avoid “hot-button” words like “catholic” that might turn people off, and cause them to tune me out, and them potentially missing out on something they badly need to read and hear.

      Thank you for the compliment! I am trying to be both “relevant” and Biblical in my writings, because if I have struggled with something, there are probably many others who have struggled or are struggling with the same thing.

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  2. I agree that with all denominations that are currently around the word catholic should not be used as identifying a particular denomination. After all the early church were referred as Christians, and not identified by their denomination, which in my books are all manmade.

    As for the word begotten, I did a quick look at my friend “strong’s”. This is what he had to say:

    3439 monogenḗs (from 3411 /misthōtós, “one-and-only” and 1085 /génos, “offspring, stock”) – properly, one-and-only; “one of a kind” – literally, “one (monos) of a class, genos” (the only of its kind).

    So if you look at it you are right with the term offspring, I believe. We have God the Father and Jesus the Son. It could be also the term used is best for our limited understanding and grasping the idea better. Often there are things that are hard to understand in scripture so things are made easier for us to understand. Take a look at the fact that we worship the One and only God but yet describe Him as three in one.

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