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I believe…

August 23, 2011

I have been letting this one simmer for a long time. I want to write a series of posts reflecting on the apostle’s creed but primarily as a way to help my children (and possibly others) have a worldview that is rooted in God’s story. In some ways this will serve as my version of a catechism for my family. First a couple of preliminary thoughts…

1. When I think of the apostles creed (or any of the ancient creeds for that matter) I think of it as a summary of God’s story of redemption in the Bible. In other words these are not dry statements of facts but rather the high points of a story which is a huge, sprawling, wide and deep… a story that starts with creation and goes on until today with huge clues about how things will wrap up in the end (hint: a renewed heaven and earth). My friends from the Story Formed Life have a great curriculum to this end but I especially resonate with their idea of letting God’s story shape ours.

2. When the creed says “I believe…” it is making a statement of faith. However, faith as we know it in our time has lost a lot of its original meaning and perhaps a better word is trust. The meaning of faith for many is the opposite of knowledge. In other words there are things we know and then there are these vague notions that we just have to believe or have to make a “leap of faith.” This is both sad and wrong. Faith does not involve a ‘leap’ into the unknown where we have to keep our minds out of it. Quite the opposite. There are many things we can know can about the spiritual life and we use our reason (our minds), our experience, the experience of others we trust, revelation from nature and scripture to name a few sources on which we base our faith. Faith is also something that we do every day. This is where the word “trust” comes in and is a helpful substitute. So we trust our cars to a mechanic, our teeth to a dentist, our meals out to cooks etc. There isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t have to trust someone. And that is really what faith is: putting our confidence in another person’s ability to do something for us. So when it comes to God’s story and the creeds saying “I believe” simply means we are putting our trust, our confidence in God to care for us and proclaiming that he is God and in control of history and our lives… and that we are not. That’s what it means when we say he is Lord… but we’ll get to that in a little bit.

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 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.
5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2011 1:15 pm

    well said, bro

  2. August 23, 2011 4:42 pm

    Glad to see you are posting again. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment. Have you ever read The Family Cloister by David Robinson? Pax!

  3. Shaina permalink
    August 23, 2011 5:19 pm

    Catholick? really? 🙂

    • August 23, 2011 5:32 pm

      Shaina, I saw that after posting and laughed. It was a direct copy from Wikipedia. And they are claiming they directly copied it from book of common prayer.

      It is good fodder for some jokes, no?


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