We’re so glad you found our website. Whether you’re visiting us from another part of the world, or from right here in the Huntersville, North Carolina area — welcome!

We’re so glad you found our website. Whether you’re visiting us from another part of the world, or from right here in the Huntersville, North Carolina area — welcome!

We’re so glad you found our website. Whether you’re visiting us from another part of the world, or from right here in the Huntersville, North Carolina area — welcome!

Pastor Paul's Blog

I Believe

I Believe

Unchanging Truth in An Ever-Changing World

The Apostles’ Creed-A Brief History

What a joy it is to work with my friend and colleague, Steve Autrey (Denver UMC), as we collaborate together, with our staffs and churches, to present this sermon series starting this Sunday, October 4, and continuing through December 13!

If you are a fan of the Harry Potter series, you may remember that one of Harry’s stock phrases was, “it’s complicated.” When it comes to the transmission of God’s Word and how it got to its present form, well, it’s complicated.  And when we talk about the development of this statement of faith we know as The Apostles’ Creed, it, too, is complicated.  A fuller explanation, should you be interested in studying it further, can be found at this link: https://blog.faithlife.com/blog/2015/04/the-apostles-creed-its-history-and-origins/

Suffice it to say that while some historians may point to a development of some basic statements of faith by the original apostles, this creed that we know as The Apostles’ Creed did not reach its final version, as we know it today, until the early 8th century.  It is important to note, too, that it is used in the “western” churches, the Roman Catholic churches and many Protestant churches, and not in the eastern churches, such as the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches. There are some basic, fundamental differences between the western and eastern churches and they have been separated by some of these core beliefs expressed in this creed.

The word creed comes from the Latin credo, which means, “I believe.” It is important that rather than just saying “I believe what the Bible says,” we make summary statements that form the core of our belief system.  That’s what the creed seeks to do, give us a framework for our beliefs. 

You will notice that the creed has a “trinitarian” shape, in that, it begins with a statement about God, continues to make belief statements about Jesus and his role in our faith, and continues with a statement about the Holy Spirit and the role the Spirit plays in shaping our lives.  You will also notice that many of the lines are direct references to scripture, such as “born of the Virgin Mary.” Each statement has a biblical grounding.

The creed is not without its controversy.  In our United Methodist Hymnal are two versions of this creed, the Traditional Version and Ecumenical Version.  The big difference is in the line “he descended to the dead” or “he descended into hell.”  The phrase “he descended to the dead” comes from Ephesians 4:9. Frankly, it is somewhat vague in that it doesn’t go into any detail about what it means to say Jesus “descended to the dead” or “to hell.” This is the only biblical reference that makes this claim and so some choose to not include this line in the creed, preferring to keep the faith affirmations from being vague like this one.

However this creed has made its way to us, it has become a great tool for us to convey the central tenets of the faith to our children, our confirmands, and in teaching disciples.  We are able to lay the boundaries of our orthodox faith because of these summary statements.  Truly, in a changing world these words are unchanging truth that moors us to our historical expressions of the faith. I look forward to exploring them with you over the next number of weeks!