Uncompromising Orthodoxy (Part One): The Apostles’ Creed
By Cameron Silsbee
Begin with prayer
Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting. Take a moment to sit in silence in the presence of Jesus and each other, and then have somebody pray to ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together.
Read this overview
What we believe about God matters. Not so we can huddle up with others that believe all the same things we do, and not to declare our sophisticated opinions and superior beliefs about God to the world. What we believe about God shapes the way we live and interact with him. Right belief (orthodoxy) inevitably impacts right practice (orthopraxy).
This is nothing new, though. For two thousand years, the church has worked through what is true about God, and about life with him. Rather than having singular individuals deciding what’s true based on their myopic perspective, the church has wrestled through orthodoxy as a community. While there has been deep, ugly disagreement at times, there is a profound unity of beliefs amongst Christians, whether Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, or non-denominational.
The Apostles’ Creed is one of the foundational expressions of orthodoxy that developed in the early church. Nearly 2,000 years old, this creed has been spoken and recited in countless churches around the globe, and provides a solid starting point for discussions and reflection on what we believe about God and how that shapes us.
Talk through the following discussion questions:
Have one person read aloud the Apostles’ Creed. Then discuss the questions that follow.
I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived from the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary,
who suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried,
descended into hell, rose again from the dead on the third day,
ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty,
who will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Church, the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
- Is the Apostles’ Creed or any other church creed something that you’re familiar with?
- Is there anything in the Apostles’ Creed that stands out to you as striking, meaningful, or odd?
- When it comes to church doctrine, do you find that you gravitate towards well-defined objective beliefs, or do you tend to feel more comfortable in beliefs that are seemingly more subjective and ambiguous?
Talk about this week’s Practice as a Community:
For this week’s Practice take time to read the Apostles’ Creed at least three times. As you read the creed, notice things that you enjoy about what’s written, any Scripture that it brings to mind, and your own growth and journey in understanding who God is. If you’re feeling particularly inspired, begin to put the creed to memory this week.