January 31, 2015
This week’s study is about,
Why the Creeds? What is THE Faith?
An Introduction to the Apostles’ Creed
1. What do the following verses have to say about what we believe and God’s salvation? (Prov. 14:8,12,15,26-27; Matt. 7:13-14; Exodus 20:2-4; Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Cor. 16:22; Rev. 7:10; 1 Tim. 2:1-7; Matt. 25:31-46; 13:24-30) What does this mean for other religions?
2. How would you address the claims of pluralism that there are many ways of understanding reality and truth and there are many paths to God, and that to think otherwise is intolerant, naïve, and presumptuous?
3. How much do you think a desire for unity amongst Christians of different denominations results in an acceptance of a minimal set of beliefs? Should we set aside some of our beliefs for the greater good of unity and shared mission? After all unity is the place of blessing (see Psalm 133; Jn. 17:20-23; Eph. 4:1-6).
4. Discuss the differences between “I believe in” and “I believe that“. How important are the differences?
5. Consider a few of the statements in Scripture that have been suggested by commentators to be creedal statements – see for example: Deut. 6:4-5; John 1:49; Matt. 16:16; John 20:28; 1 Cor. 8:6; Rom. 1:3-4; Rom. 4:24-25; Phil. 2:5-11 – Do you think these are forms of creeds, remembering that ‘creed’ comes from the Latin credo= ‘I believe’? Are there other biblical statements that you can think of that might also qualify as ‘creedal’ statements?
6. The Apostles’ Creed is:
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 from the dead; He ascended into heaven; and sitteth at 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 catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
What parts of this creed are difficult to understand or need some explanation? Don’t try to work them out now as the creed will be unpacked in future weeks, but it may be worth writing down a list of questions and issues about the wording of this creed as you think about it now and then see if they are addressed by the various speakers over the next few weeks.
7. The purposes of the Creeds as outlined in Sunday’s sermon were:
(1) Catechetical (to instruct new believers);
(2) Commendatory (to prove the identity of true believers);
(3) Doctrinal (to express core Christian truth);
(4) Liturgical (to be used in worship services);
(5) Experiential (to express personal confession and experience).
While these refer to all the creeds that have been written, how many of these do you think apply to the Apostles’ Creed and how well does the Apostles’ Creed meet these purposes?
8. The message on Sunday highlighted some of the issues with the Apostles’ Creed? Can you recall what some of them were? What do you think the issues are?
9. In the light of the above concerns what is your view about whether we should study and understand the Apostles’ Creed?
What are the pros and cons of the Apostles’ Creed?
Do you think it should be recited in church? Why or why not? If so, how often?