Creeds of the Kehillah ~ Part 2

The Apostles’ Creed ~ Part 1 [1]

In this post, we will take our first look at the entire Apostles’ Creed and learn some background information. In further posts, we will parse it to learn more about what we affirm that we believe.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

The ancient Kehillah was founded on basic biblical teachings and practices like the Ten Commandments, Baptism, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Supper, the Disciple’s Prayer, and corporate worship. These basics of the Christian life have sustained and nurtured every generation of the faithful – from the Emissaries (Apostles) to today. They apply equally to old and young, men and women, pastors, and Kehillah members. For in union with the Messiah, you are all children of God through this trusting faithfulness ~ Galatians 3:26 (CJB)

The Messianic faith is mysterious not because it is so complicated but because it is so simple. A person does not start with Baptism and then advance to higher mysteries. In Baptism, each Believer already possesses the faith in its fullness. The whole of life is encompassed in the mystery of Baptism: dying with Yeshua and rising with him through the Ruach to the glory of God.

The Apostles’ Creed comes from Baptism. It is a pledge of allegiance to the God of the gospel – a God who is revealed as Father, Son, and Ruach; a God who is present to us in the real world of human flesh, creating, redeeming, and sanctifying us for good works.

It is often said that creeds are political documents, the cunning invention of bishops and councils trying to enforce their understanding of orthodoxy. In the case of the Apostles’ Creed, nothing could be further from the truth. A council did not create it. It was not part of any deliberate theological strategy. It was a grassroots confession of faith. It was an indigenous form of the ancient Kehillah’s response to the risen Messiah, who commanded His Emissaries to “go and make people from all nations into talmidim, immersing them into the reality of the Father, the Son and the Ruach HaKodesh ~ Matt 28:19 (CJB).

Later generations of believers sometimes said that each of the twelve Emissaries had written one line of the creed – hence the name “Apostles’ Creed.” It is a charming legend that conveys a profound truth: that the baptismal confession is rooted in the faith of the Emissaries and ultimately in the word of the risen Christ himself. [2]

Click here for the PDF version.

In my next post, we will continue to examine the Apostle’s Creed in detail.

[1] Because it is so familiar to me, I am using the creed that I learned as a child.

[2] The Apostles’ Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism.

Creeds of the Kehillah ~ Part 1

Introduction

As indicated in my last post, I feel led to do a brief survey on the Creeds of the Kehillah. As some of you already know, kehillah is Hebrew for “community.” I prefer that term to “church” in describing the gathering of Believers of the faith. We are not a building!

As stated in my About the Author page, my mom always took me to church as far back as I can remember. We were Episcopalians, and I developed a deep sense of respect for the church. I loved the liturgy and always asked to stay in the big people’s service rather than Sunday School. Consequently, I became very familiar with reciting the Apostles’ Creed at Morning Prayer services and the Nicene Creed at Holy Eucharist (Communion) services.

No longer attending those services and doing some “church-shopping” whenever we have moved has led me to believe that not many current Believers are even familiar with the ancient creeds. It seems that most Kelillahs are now content with posting Mission Statements or What We Believe position papers on their websites.

So, what is a creed? It has been defined as the written body of teachings of a religious group that that group generally accepts. Creeds are intentionally catholic. [1] They may bear the marks of their particularity and a specific perspective and place. However, the primary intention is to state the faith of a partisan group and the one holy catholic church.[2]

The following is a list of the ancient creeds and confessions of faith. This series will only explore the creeds because the confessions are generally tied to specific denominations.

Historic Creeds

The Apostles’ Creed

The Nicene Creed

The Symbol of Chalcedon

The Athanasian Creed

Historic Confessions and Statements of Faith

The Belgic Confession

The Heidelberg Catechism

The Canons of Dordt

In my next post, we will begin to examine the Apostles’ Creed.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Remember that lower case “catholic” means universal and not Roman.

[2] Leith, J. H. (1992). Creeds, Early Christian. The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 1, p. 1204). New York: Doubleday.