Question: Where did the Apostle’s Creed come from and what is meant by “church creeds?”
Answer: Church creeds are simply declarations, so stated, that various churches and denominations have adopted. They inform any and all who are interested in what their organization believes, teaches, and follows. They are drawn up by men and not inspired as is the Word of God, the Bible. Most fundamental churches have what is called a “Statement of Faith.” This incorporates a more comprehensive coverage of their beliefs, other than just the “Apostle’s Creed.” These consist of their belief in and of the scriptural teachings concerning the major doctrines of the Bible, such as:
- Theology: Doctrine of God.
- Christology: Doctrine of Christ.
- Anthropology: Doctrine of Man.
- Pneumatology: Doctrine of the Holy Spirit and so-called speaking in tongues.
- Ecclesiology: Doctrine of the Church
- Eschatology: Doctrines of the Rapture, the 7-year Tri-bulation, Judgment of the Nations, Millennial Reign of Christ, etc.
- Hamartiology: the Doctrine of Sin.
- Soteriology: the Doctrine of Salvation.
- Angelology: those of God, those of Satan (or Demons).
Now, the Apostle’s 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. The third day He arose 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 Spirit, the Universal Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the Resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting—Amen.”
It should be noted that the Apostles had absolutely nothing to do with the drafting of the creed, “The Apostle’s Creed.” This was drawn up by men; many, many years after the apostles had died. It should also be noted that there are various versions of the “Apostle’s Creed. The one I have given seems to be the most accepted version. Theologians are familiar with another well-known creed, called the Athanasian Creed, so-called because a theologian by the name of Athanasius drew it up. Christians should be aware that these, and other creeds, are not inspired as is the Word of God, the Bible, and do not have any authority such as the Scriptures do.
Personally, I cannot see any reason for a church to stand up and quote the so-called “Apostle’s Creed, which is absolutely meaningless. God wants His Word taught, not man’s creeds. God’s words in 2 Timothy 4:2-4 may be appropriate:
“Preach the word (not a creed); be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine (God’s Word) (2). For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lust shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears (3); And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables (4).”