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From the Pastor's Desk

April  2019

 

 

      I Believe (Part II): The Apostles’ Creed

                       In examining how and why we worship, last month we began our look at the Confession of Faith; this common but important aspect of our worship service where we confidently confess before God and each other exactly what it is that we believe. With this, we come to a better understanding of why we have a confession of faith. All this with the purpose that this aspect of our service might not become a moment of mindless repetition, but an important and true confession from our hearts.

                     Now, beginning this month, we’re going to start examining what we confess. That is, we’ll begin looking at those common confessional statements we most typically utilize, namely, the Apostles, the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creed. We call these “Ecumenical Creeds” (belonging to the universal church) because they are used by various churches and denominations around the world. In other words, they aren’t specific to any church, denomination, or region but are common to all churches who claim to be orthodox.

                       The first creed we examine is also the earliest and most typically used in the church. It is the Apostles Creed. And, instead of reinventing the wheel, I’m going to borrow what Rev. Jerry Moan, professor of New Testament at AFLBS/TS, has written in the newest revision of Luther’s Small Catechism (Luther’s Small Catechism and Explanation, Ambassador Publishing House, 2007, 139). In introducing this creed, he writes,

                       The Apostles’ Creed holds the place of honor as the best known of all the creeds. Many would be surprised, however, to learn that this creed was almost certainly not written by the apostles themselves. Yet it stands as an ancient summary of the Christian faith, rooted in the teachings of the apostles of our Lord. Martin Luther said of the Apostles’ Creed: “Christian truth could not possibly be put into a shorter and clearer statement.”

            The text as we confess it today dates from the eighth century. It is a revision of what is called the Old Roman Creed which dates back to the second century A.D. In these early centuries, the Apostles’ Creed was used as a baptismal confession. It was also used to refute the false teachings of Marcion, [who, among other things, believed that the God of the Old Testament, who created the world, was evil and wasn’t the same God who graciously sent Jesus to save us.] This creed also refuted heretical groups such as the Gnostics, [who, among other things, believed that the flesh is evil and only that which is spirit is good. With this they denied the humanity of Christ, His death, and the hope of a future physical resurrection.] The Creed’s purpose, then, is in no way to take the place of Scripture but rather to summarize the teachings of the Word of God and to protect the church from error.

            What do we confess in this creed? First, we express our personal faith in the Triune God of the Bible. We confess, [against Marcion and anyone like him], that [the Triune God] is the Creator who has provided the only way of salvation for sinners. We are reminded of all that Jesus suffered on our behalf. (Gnostics would have denied that Jesus was born of a virgin or that He could have died a real death.) The Creed further expresses our need for the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. Luther declared, “If one item of this creed is lacking, all items must fall. . . . To be weak in the faith does not do the damage, but to be wrong—that is eternal death.” These biblical truths, then, stand as the sure foundation for our faith. 

                       We remember, from last month’s article, that what we believe, most certainly, matters. For to believe what is false is to remain lost in our sin, but to believe with our minds and in our hearts what is true is to have the promise and assurance of eternity. In John 11:25-26 Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”                    

Pastor Gideon

 

       Announcements/upcoming events:

 

Our midweek Lenten Services will begin on March 6th with our Ash Wednesday service. This year we will be going through a series of sermons put out by Northwestern Publishing House (WELS) titled Three Words of Truth by Keith C. Wessel.

The schedule and sermons will be as follows:

 

  • Ash Wednesday/Midweek 1

Is It I?

Matthew 26:20-25

  • Midweek 2 

Love One Another

John 13:31-35

  • Midweek 3

Watch and Pray

Matthew 26:35-41

  • Midweek 4

I Am He

John 18:3-9

  • Midweek 5

What Is Truth?

John 18:33-40

  • Midweek 6

Take Him Away!

John 19:14-18

  • Palm Sunday

Save Us Now!

Matthew 21:1-11

  • Maundy Thursday

Take and Eat; Take and Drink

Matthew 26:26-28

  • Good Friday

It Is Finished!

John 19:28-30

  • Easter Sunday

Remember Jesus Christ: He Has Risen!

 

 

Watch past Sunday morning Services here - (click this link)

 

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