Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Singing the Apostles Creed: The English Years

The Apostles Creed, along with the Athanasian Creed, are unique to the Western Christian tradition.  Our brothers in the East have adopted only the Nicene Creed.

The Apostles Creed has traditionally been the Baptismal Creed.  We confess it as our own faith at our baptism.  For infant baptisms, this faith is imparted through the Word connected to the water, and  sponsors confess it on behalf of the children.  As the children mature, they then confess this faith as their own at their confirmation.

Here are some young people confessing their faith in the words of the Apostles Creed. Remember, the use of "holy catholic church" refers to the church of all times and all places and not that particular denomination with a pontiff in Rome.

In the world of Contemporary Christian Music, this creed has been adopted by several artists and set to music.  For Petra and Rich Mullins, the creed has been paraphrased and a refrain has been added.  The entirety of the lyrics to the Petra setting can be found here.  The refrain is below.  The video is in true 80's Contemporary Christian retro.

This is my creed - the witness I have heard
The faith that has endured
This truth is assured
Through the darkest ages past
Though persecuted, it will last
And I will hold steadfast to this creed

In the Petra refrain, they capture the true "catholicity" of the creed.  This is the faith that has endured through the ages.  This is the faith that has survived centuries of persecution.  This faith, the faith of the entire church, the faith of the saints and martyrs old and new, this faith is my faith.

Rich Mullins takes a different approach to the refrain.  The entirety of the lyrics will roll across the video.  The refrain is below.  This is a true youtube video, where an individual takes an existing recording and places visuals and text with it.

And I believe what I believe
Is what makes me what I am
I did not make it
No it is making me
It is the very truth of God
And not the invention of any man

Where Petra connects the creed with the universal church, Rich Mullins makes it personal.  The creed is not a man-made device.  It is a confession of biblical teachings.  As we confess this creed we confess biblical truths.  As with any biblical teaching, it shapes who we are.  Our faith grows because we recite that which the Bible teaches.  Mullins' statement, "I did not make it/no it is making me/it is the very truth of God/and not the invention of any man," is an affirmation of the solid biblical teachings that are proclaimed in the creed and the affect these teachings have on our lives.  Lutherans in particular confess this creed as "the correct exposition of the Word of God."

One pastor speaks of the creeds in these terms: when we say we believe what the Bible says, how do express the Bible in a concise manner?  The creeds offer us a vehicle to do this.

The creeds are to be confessed with confidence and joy!  Here is a group of Tongan youth confessing the Apostles Creed.  They are using the ICET translation.  While there are a few translation issues (and one BIG translation issue - see previous post) it is wonderful to see the holy catholic faith, the faith of all times and all places, the faith expressed in the Bible, confessed by these children.

Joyful, exuberant, confident. 
Can I get a witness?


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 Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was 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 will come to judge
the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Christian Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
and the life everlasting.

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