The Apostles Creed: What and Why

By Pr Herna Kong

One element of our worship service is the recitation of the Apostles Creed but what is the Apostles Creed, and why do we recite it?

What is the Apostles Creed?

It is a Doxological Confession.We have become so familiar with the Apostles Creed that we might have taken its unique qualities for granted. It is not just simply a list of doctrines but it is a confession of what we believe. Our sincere recitation of it needs our faith in God, who has accomplished great things. It also needs our belief that they were accomplished. Therefore, the Apostles Creed is not simply about theology; it is doxology. That is the reason its recitation forms part of our worship service. When we recite it as one body in Christ, it is an act of worship. Believers confess they must believe what are mentioned in the Apostles Creed to be saved.

It is a Proclamation of the Gospel. The Apostles Creed unfolds the grand story of God’s redemptive plan in five major points: (1) The story begins with the true God; the Father is the creator of all things. (2) Next, it details His incarnation in flesh; Jesus Christ’s birth, life and death. (3) The story continues with Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. (4) The sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost follows the ascension of Jesus. The Holy Spirit empowers the church, unites believers, and saves the lost. (5) The Apostles Creed concludes with believers being raised with Christ and His second coming bringing eternal joy in His renewing of all things, which corresponds to what ‘the life everlasting’.

Why Do We Recite the Apostles Creed?

The Apostles Creed is attributed to the early Christians who summarised what it means to be a Christian, based on the teachings of the apostles. The creed helps Christians counter false teachings that came their way (Jude 3-4). The biblical authority of the Apostles Creed “safeguards thoughtful worshipers from being led astray by every wind of doctrine. Reciting creeds together in worship helps focus on the essentials that unify Christians instead of the non-essentials that divide the church” (Albert Aymer). We reinforce the biblical authority of the Apostles Creed by reciting it in worship as one body in Christ. The Apostles Creed helps us Christians explain what we believe and the significance of it.