The Apostles Creed
No, not a New Testament metal band, this was a kind of statement of faith that tried to incorporate every aspect of the faith of the New Testament Church. Here it is..
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
On the third day he rose again
He ascended to 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 (this means universal, worldwide, thru time) Church,
The communion of the saints,
The forgiveness of sins,
The resurrection of the body,
And the life everlasting.
When we started running an event called Revelation, we had a statement of faith - our own kind of creed. This was important to us because we wanted people to know we were sound, and where we were coming from, why we were doing this event, where we were going etc. It was something short and simple like..
'We are committed Christians from established churches in Exeter who believe we have been called by Jesus to reach out to non-Christians in relevant and contemporary ways.'
It can also be useful - obviously - when young people are away, get a job elsewhere, or are at Uni -in trying to find a church that is Biblically and spiritually sound, and not dodgy!
Evangelical Alliance - find a Biblical church
Fortunately in the UK, we don't have the levels of dodgy churches that exist in other nations. But it is very important to have a church / find a church / have a youthwork with solid Biblical statements of belief, so you are being true to the Bible
www.eauk.org lists a number of churches with sound statements of belief. However, not every church is a member of the EA. But if a church is then it's fine. Otherwise, visit statements of belief on a church's website!
- The infallibility of the whole Bible
- That God is Father, Son & Spirit
- That Jesus was born from Mary and was fully human & God
- That God created mankind, that we're sinners, that God sent Jesus as the way which we can be saved
- That we have to accept Jesus personally as Saviour
- That Jesus will return again
- That we have the Holy Spirit in us
- That we should be part of a church as believers
- That we all have gifts and ministries which we should exercise for God
- That there will be a judgment. That there is a heaven and hell
- That Jesus is the head of the church
- That we're called to fulfill the Great Commission
If churches say things like 'oyou have to come to this church' or they make comments like 'you have to obey what we say' or 'you have to tithe or else' etc then you probably want to get out of there. The Holy Spirit is truth and is a dove - he does not force us to do things, nor should any church leader ever. Pray for discernment and protection from God and you will know!
Some exercises in finding a sound theology in a church
1. Go through the Apostles Creed and see if it's all in there. If you think they've missed something, what and why?
2. Do a very basic statement - maybe only 50 words, 25 words, what about 10 words?
3. Go through the Creed and rewrite it in modern language, or street language that people would understand.
4. Rewrite the creed - do your own statement of faith. Have you got everything in there?
5. Look at other people's creeds they've written and assess them. Do they make sense? Have they included all they need to?
6. This can lead into the basics of the Christian faith, what they are.. remind us of the importance of the basics, it may well raise questions in minds of young people who either don't believe certain things or don't know about them.
7. It will be a chance to correct wrong-thinking, to assess where churches have got things wrong (for example, a lot of what the Catholics believe is not Biblically accurate at all). It may lead on to 'how to spot cults' and stay away from them.
If you do this, remember that people are trained to spot fake fivers by knowing what real ones look like, not be memorizing what fakes look like. The best way to be protected by the truth is to know the truth. Not the fake.