13-Week Series on The Apostles’ Creed


I’m working on a new 13-week sermon series on The Apostles’ Creed, starting this Sunday.  Here’s the schedule:

Why Christians Need The Apostles’ Creed —

Aug 23, 2009:      1.  I Believe: An Introduction to The Apostles’ Creed

Aug 30, 2009:      2.  In God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
Sep 6, 2009:        3.  I Believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Sep 13, 2009:      4.  Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary,
Sep 20, 2009:      5.  Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell;
Sep 27, 2009:      6.  On the third day he rose again from the dead;
Oct 4, 2009:        7.  He ascended into heaven, And sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
Oct 11, 2009:      8.  From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
Oct 18, 2009:      9.  I believe in the Holy Spirit;
Oct 25, 2009:    10. The holy catholic church; The communion of saints;
Nov 1, 2009:     11. The forgiveness of sins;
Nov 8, 2009:     12. The resurrection of the body,
Nov 15, 2009:   13. The life everlasting.
Has anybody ever done this before?  I’ve got some good books on The Apostles’ Creed and all the creeds in general, but what have you found helpful about the Creed, if anything?  Does your church use it?  Do you say it weekly? Have you used the Creed (or the Nicene Creed) as a basis for a doctrinal study?
Interestingly, Beeson Divinity School is hosting “The Will To Believe and the Need for Creed: Evangelicals and The Nicene Creed.” Seems like Baptists are waking up all at once to this creed-thing.  Who knew?

11 thoughts on “13-Week Series on The Apostles’ Creed”

  1. I’m baptist and a sailor, and I have to admit that the only place I’ve really seen the creed used is while on deployment, when my Presbyterian chaplain urged us to join him in the creed.

    Despite my spiritual tradition, I do find the creed to be valuable. However, I confess that it’s hard to commit it to memory. I need to work on that.

    Looking forward to the series!

  2. I’m hope to do an apostles’ creed series sometime this year too, or in 2010 – but I’m Presbyterian. We have a long tradition of preaching on the Creed, the 10 Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer. We recite the Apostles’ or Nicene Creed at least once a month as a way of proclaiming our faith together, what we hold in common. At times it feels forced, but most of the time, it is a moment in worship where people can say “yes, WE believe”. Their faith is not just about “me and Jesus”, but about the whole Church speaking and listening to one another. It reminds us that there are central doctrines that we hold to, that are important and life giving for the community, even when we may disagree on some peripheral issues. It’s important for us to say the Apostles’ creed because it reminds us that we aren’t just one with each other, but with other Christians, everywhere.

  3. I’m looking at preaching a series on the Apostles’ Creed next summer at the church where I serve. Some of my best sources are Luther’s Small and Large Catechisms. It’s a chief part of our doctrinal study for new believers. There’s also a sermon book by Arthur E. Graf available on churchpress.com on the Apostles’ creed, and Martin Marty’s book “The Hidden Discipline” is also a classic.

    We pretty much always use a creed in church. I grew up alternating reciting the Apostle’s Creed on non-communion Sundays and the Nicene Creed on communion Sundays. Now that we have ocmmunion at my church every week, we use the Nicene Creed during the festival half of the year (Advent through Pentecost), bust out the Athanasian Creed for Trinity Sunday, and then use the Apostles’ Creed for the non-festival half of the church year.

  4. Ray Pritchard’s book “Credo : believing in something to die for” is a good overview of the creed — I’ve thought about using it for a Bible study at church before.

  5. I grew up Baptist. I remember the first time I heard the Creed in a Methodist Church and it felt like a light coming on. Maybe living my life without it gave me a deeper appreciation of it when I first heard it. I remember thing, “That’s it. That’s what I believe.” It’s so simple and clear. The best things of this kind are: “We hold these truths to be self evident … .” With the Apostle’s Creed, I have it all in one place when I want to think about it. As a writer, I truly appreciate the directness of it. It’s so clear, so precise and so unambiguous. “Forgiveness of sins”–how beautiful. “Crucified, dead and buried; he arose from the dead.” If you can say, mean it, live it, believe it–you’re there.

  6. Coming from a Creedal tradition I’ve had a varied response to them, and note and agree with the earlier comments. For some years now I’ve had a slightly different additional use of a creed. Additional that is to community building, and any “personal” worship.

    The history of the creeds tends to be a “we” trying to define themselves by what they believe, partially also as a not what “they” believe.

    I find the creed(s) a useful checklist while talking “faith”. The Mormon or JW at the door, “what is it that we don’t share as belief?”. The creed is a useful short cut to move to the point of contention.

    Talking with a friend who doesn’t share a belief in JC, what are the shared elements I can build from?

    I’m sure its a use lots of others put creeds to but it was a pleasant “find” for someone as a youth who could recite the prayer book responses with his eyes closed, but took years to find a more helpful use of that heritage.

  7. Chuck
    When I was in Divinity School at Duke, our theology prof used this pattern for the intro to Christian theology class as a grounding for solid theological reflection. We spent 16 weeks, 3 times a week working thru the creed. We did a whole day on the word “in.”

    Good luck, can’t wait to see how it turns out!
    Dr. Marty Cauley

  8. Chuck, in our small Presbyterian church, the Apostles’ Creed is at the very end of our liturgy just before the charge and benediction. That’s where it was when I began my work here, and I didn’t try to get the elders to move it to a more conventional location in the service. Reciting and affirming it together just before we go out into the world adds other dimensions to our understanding. Often I frame it in this way: “I invite us all to put our trust in Jesus Christ, the One who is utterly worthy of our trust. And let’s say together what we believe…” Sometimes I’ll say, “Let’s join our voices with those of the church across the ages.” For us the creed is a way of “girding up” before we move back into things.

    My favorite line in the creed is “He descended into hell.” I find so much comfort in it! Jesus Christ was willing to go and did go into deepest hell for us. He knows what hell is like. He knows what we experience when we experience seasons in hell. He descended into hell to get us out of hell, out of every kind of hell. He rose again, and ascended, and he is taking us up with him!

    I hope the peace of Christ is resting on you and your dear ones in a special way. Blessings as you move on into the future, and blessings on your creed sermons! Mary Todd

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