Volume 13, Issue 5Click here to download the pdf
The Apostles’ Creed
By Pastor Nathanael Mayhew
As Lutherans we state that the three ecumenical creeds (that is the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian) are true and an accurate statement of what we believe. As we study them, we notice that as each developed they became successively longer, due to the devil spreading false teachings that had to be refuted.
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 Catholic Church, the communion of saints; he forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
The Apostles’ Creed was not written by the apostles, but expresses what the apostles believed. It contains the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, beginning with the creation of the world and ending with the life to come. But it did not just spring up suddenly just as it is read today. It grew in its wording as the church wrote and rewrote it until finally we have it as it is today (there is some re-writing of the Apostles’ Creed being done even now – compare the new versions of the Apostles’ Creed that some churches are publishing).
From the very early days of the church, a trinitarian confession was used by candidates for baptism. In Rome, already in 150 A.D, we find a form very similar to what we have today. Although this confession varied from church to church, they all contained the basics of the Christian faith. Different parts of the Apostles’ Creed can be found throughout the writings of the early church. In the mid-second century, Irenaeus wrote: “The Church dispersed through the whole world, to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples the faith in one God, the Father Almighty, who has made heaven and earth and the sea and all things that are in them; and in one Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who has proclaimed through the prophets the dispensation, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the bodily assumption into heaven of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father.”
The term “Apostles’ Creed” was first used in a document by Rufinus in 390 A.D. Over time this confession was also used in worship services as we do today with the congregation stating clearly what is believed by the church. The Apostles’ Creed as we know it today (with a few small changes) was almost universally used throughout the church by the eighth century.
The three fold division of the creed into articles was based on our God being three in one, the Trinity (Matthew 28:18-19).
Scriptural Foundation of the Apostles’ Creed
We say that everything that we teach as Lutherans must be supported with Scripture. So it is also with the three creeds, that each statement or phrase is drawn from the Bible. But as you read the creeds you will not find Bible references given. Search the Scriptures for yourself and the foundations for this confession!
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 Christian church, _____________ the communion of saints; _____________ the forgiveness of sins; _____________ the resurrection of the body; _____________ and the life everlasting _______________.
Genesis 1:1, Isaiah 13:6, Isaiah 64:8, Matthew 1:20, Matthew 1:23, Matthew 16:16, Matthew 27:27-31, Matthew 27:35, Matthew 27:50, Matthew 27:59-60, Mark 16:19, Luke 1:27, Luke 1:31, Luke 2:7, John 1:14, John 20:1-16, John 20:28, Acts 1:9, Romans 6:5, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 2 Corinthians 5:10, Ephesians 5:27, Colossians 1:14, 2 Timothy 4:1, Hebrews 1:1, Hebrews 11:1, 1 Peter 3:19, 2 Peter 1:21, 1 John 5:11.
Of course there are many more passages in addition to these which could be listed as evidence of the Scriptural foundation for the Apostles’ Creed. Think of other passages that could also be used and add them to the list above!
By Pastor Emeritus David Koenig
The Word of the Lord Still Grows, Acts 6:7, 12:24, 19:20
In Acts 15:36-41 we read of a sharp disagreement between Paul and Barnabas over taking John Mark on a second missionary journey. The result was that Paul chose Silas and went to Syria, while Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus. Sometimes disagreements arise within the church over administration and such.
This happened in Congo with our brothers there. And so we have the ELCC under Pastor Muzakuza and the CCLC under Pastor Yumba Lumbala. While I had known Pastor Muzakuza since initial correspondence in ’98 and visits, I had also met Pastor Yumba. I found him to be a true pastor of the Word and holding to our Lutheran teachings just as Pastor Muzakuza. But they could not work together in their groups without friction. The problems developed as far back as in ’07. But the wonderful Lord worked out the solution and reconciliation through Mission Bd. Chairman Ohlmann and Missionary Ude’s visit in ’09. The two churches are in fellowship and work jointly on translation and publication of materials, but have separate church organizations. Pastor Yumba began the translation work under Pastor Muzakuza and most of our Swahili materials on our webpage date back to that time.
The two churches work in different areas. One thrust of Pastor Yumba’s has been across the border into the Kitwe, Zambia area. The men in Zambia have begun the process of registering the church in that country. Pastor Yumba works with rural development as a tentmaker and is involved in building a school in Whiski, a village outside Kasumbalesa. He has also been offered a large parcel of land outside of Lubumbashi on which he prays that a Bible School can be established.
Congo – 5 congregations and pastors, 494 members, 20 men in training as evangelists.
Zambia – 5 pastors, 3 congregations
In looking over the CLC’s overseas work our people in a variety of countries face: Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, animists, juju-evil spirit and ancestor worshipers, persecution, the ever present poverty and in Congo the civil war. Still the Word of the Lord grows and we are only a little part of God’s work.