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Lat Blaylock, Editor, RE Today
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The Apostles' Creed
What do Christians believe?
Have you ever been part of setting up a new club at school? If you have you will know that when a new club starts, there are some things that need to be decided such as:
- When it will meet
- What will happen there
- Who can come along
- Rules that members have to follow.
You might even decide to write down some of these things so that people understand what your club is about.
WHAT IS THE APOSTLES CREED?
After Jesus was raised from the dead and then went to heaven, his followers began a 'new club' that we now call the Church. The Church began with just a few people in Jerusalem but that soon changed.
Quickly the number of people who were part of the Church grew and there were members in many countries all around the world. Members were given the name Christians because they believed in Jesus Christ and followed his teaching. Some of them met together in special buildings, others in houses, and some even met outside by rivers.
Some of the early Christian leaders decided it was important to set out guidelines for these new Christians to follow. A lot of these guidelines were in the form of letters to the Church, many of which can be found in the New Testament.
As well as the letters some leaders also met together and wrote 'The Apostles' Creed.'
A creed is a statement that sets out the beliefs and guidelines of the Church. Having a creed in place meant that other people couldn't come along and cause trouble by teaching things that were wrong and went against what Jesus himself had said.
And amazingly, thousands of years later, the Apostles' Creed is still used by Christians today to show what they believe.
Continue reading to find out about one of the most famous creeds written by the early Church.
THE APOSTLES' CREED
I believe in God the Father Almighty, who created heaven and earth.
Christians believe in the Trinity - that is God in three parts - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. They also believe that God created heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary; He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into Hell and on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
Christians believe that Jesus is God incarnate. That means he is God in human form. The incarnation is celebrated by Christians at Christmas time.
Another important festival for Christians is Easter. This is when they remember Jesus being arrested, dying on the cross, and being put in the tomb but rising again from the dead (the resurrection).
After the resurrection, Christians believe that Jesus ascended to heaven but that one day he will come back again. When Jesus returns, it will not be as a baby but as a king who will judge all people that have ever lived.
I believe in the Holy Spirit.
Christians believe the Holy Spirit is the third part of the Trinity. When Jesus was on earth, he promised his disciples that once he had returned to heaven that God the Father would send a helper, the Holy Spirit, who would give them the power to do the things that he had done whilst he had been on earth.
Christians celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit in this special way at Pentecost.
I believe in the Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.
The Bible does not talk about many churches but one Christian Church. The Church is not a building, as we often think about it, but instead refers to the Christian people wherever they are in the world. The Communion of Saints simply means all Christians together believing the same thing and following the same way of life.
Forgiveness of sins is an important belief for Christians because they believe that all people fail to live how God wants them to. This means they argue, they fight, they use words they shouldn't, and hurt themselves and others - this is sin.
Christians believe however that God is all-loving and forgiving and if a person says they are sorry he will forgive their sins. Finally, Christians believe that there is more to life than they can touch and see. They believe that when they die that isn't the end but there is a promise of everlasting life.
What things would you put into a creed if you wrote one about your own beliefs?