Historic Creeds

APOSTLES’ CREED

Philip Schaff, in his Creeds of Christendom, writes of the Apostles’ Creed, “As the Lord’s Prayer is the Prayer of prayers, the Decalogue is the Law of laws, so the Apostles’ Creed is the Creed of creeds. It contains all the fundamental articles of the Christian faith necessary to salvation, in the form of facts, in simple Scripture language, and in the most natural order—the order of revelation—from God and the creation down to the resurrection and life everlasting.” The simple doctrinal statements within this creed are clear and concise, and their meaning cannot be misconstrued.

  I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth
  And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten 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 sits 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
  I believe a holy catholic (universal) church; the communion of saints
  The forgiveness of sins
  The resurrection of the body
  And the life everlasting. Amen.

NICENE CREED

The Nicene Creed was originally the result of the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. While there are similarities between the text of the Nicene Creed and the text of the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, according to Schaff, is “more definite and explicit than the Apostles’ Creed in the statement of the divinity of Christ and the Holy Ghost.” The Nicene Creed provided the needed clarification to combat the heresies of the Nicene age and is useful to combat those same heresies today which invariably reoccur in differing forms.

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe in one holy catholic (universal) and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

THE SYMBOL OF CHALCEDON
The Symbol of Chalcedon, adopted at the Fourth Ecumenical Council, dates back to 451 A.D. Philip Schaff, in his Creeds of Christendom, writes of the Symbol (or Creed) of Chalcedon, “While the first Council of Nicaea had established the eternal, pre-existent Godhead of Christ, the Symbol of the Fourth Ecumenical Council relates to the incarnate Logos, as he walked upon the earth and sits on the right hand of the Father. It is directed against the errors of Nestorius and Eutyches, who agreed with the Nicene Creed as opposed to Arianism, but put the Godhead of Christ in a false relation to his humanity.”

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [coessential] with us according to the manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.