Our Creeds

As christians who profess the catholic faith (catholic means “universal”), we regularly recite the credal confessions of the historic, catholic tradition. The Episcopal Church recognizes three creeds (Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed, and Athanasian Creed), and we use two of them (Apostles and Nicene) in our regular weekly and daily worship.

Some people find it difficult to be part of a “credal” tradition, finding the statements of belief to be restricting or difficult to affirm. If this is you, that is okay! We are all on a continuing path where we “work out our salvation with fear and trembling,” growing in our faith, and even finding it very difficult at times. These creeds offer an anchor, especially in times of doubt.trinity_icon-248x300

Similarly, they use language and ideas that, for a 21st century Christian, might sound odd or even outdated. Recognizing this is a good thing, and we intentionally continue to use these creeds because, among other things, they tie us to the church that has come before us. They remind us that the faith of the church spans time, space, culture, and language, and our regular recitation of them is a humbling way to remember that we are participants in a truly catholic communion of the saints.

As Christians, we believe the words that we say about God are important, as are the words we say to God. These creeds are recited in the context of prayer and worship, anchoring those prayers and worship in our fundamental belief in One God that is Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

For those of you unfamiliar with the creeds, the two we regularly use are printed below in full:

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

 

The Apostles’ Creed

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.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into 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 Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.